VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark sat in the visitor seats of the B.C. legislature Wednesday as her government's throne speech renewed the B.C. Liberal commitments from the May election.
Lt. Governor Judith Guichon read a brief speech to open a rare summer session of the legislature, reiterating government commitments for four consecutive balanced budgets and a freeze on carbon tax and most personal income tax rates. Clark attended before returning to duties as premier and a campaign for a seat in Westside-Kelowna in a byelection set for July 10.
"Waiting to take a seat makes it a little bit harder to get down to business as quickly as I'd like, but I'm not letting that get in the way," Clark told reporters on a visit to a care facility under construction in Saanich. "We called the legislature back before I had a seat because we want to get this balanced budget passed."
NDP house leader John Horgan called it a "bogus" budget that aims to hold health care spending below one per cent growth, a target not seen since the Social Credit restraint program of the early 1980s.
The legislature is to sit until July 25, debating the budget and the spending estimates for all government ministries as required by law.
The first order of business Wednesday was the unanimous election of veteran Richmond East B.C. Liberal MLA Linda Reid as speaker of the legislature.
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain B.C. Liberal MLA Doug Horne was elected deputy speaker and Burnaby-Edmonds NDP MLA Raj Chouhan is assistant deputy speaker.