Lt. Governor Judith Guichon arrives to present the throne speech to begin the latest session of the B.C. legislature Feb. 14. The legislature adjourned last week to prepare for the May 9 election.

BC VIEWS: A graveyard of political visions

BC Liberals as cynical as ever, Greens and NDP target industry with endangered species legislation

The death and dissolving of a “parliament,” as each term of a B.C. government is technically called, leaves a scattering of tombstones.

These are the proposed laws that die on the order paper when the increasingly bitter debate spills out into the street for the election campaign.

Some of these proposals will spring to life again if the sponsoring party wins a majority. Some will remain cold and forgotten. For now they act as sketch maps of the visions competing for your support on May 9.

The BC Liberal government’s budget is the big one, presented but barely debated. That’s where Premier Christy Clark suddenly promised to end the Medical Services Plan tax, cut small business income tax and fiddle with a variety of other revenue streams to Victoria.

Tobacco tax would go up again, to almost $50 a carton, but that’s not even news any more. The budget also promises to extend mining exploration tax credits to cover costs of environmental studies and community consultation.

An NDP government would no doubt have a closer look at the idea of more tax breaks for the mining industry, but the flurry of bills presented by their MLAs since February speaks to different priorities.

NDP leader John Horgan and his team poured on the campaign reform, starting with their sixth annual “ban big money” proposal to eliminate corporate and union donations to political parties. They’d move elections to the fall, require a fall sitting of the legislature, register voters starting at age 16 to prepare them for voting at 18, and take political promotion out of government ads.

Their latest bills say lots about process, but little about what the NDP would actually do in government. So far they’ve promised massively subsidized $10-a-day child care, a $15 minimum wage, and a clean energy plan that consists mainly of doing what the government and BC Hydro are already doing, except of course building another dam.

The NDP and Green Party both proposed endangered species legislation. The NDP version looks more like the standard fare of professional environmentalists, not surprising since it was sponsored by former Sierra Club B.C. president and current NDP MLA George Heyman. It would provide a legal means to stop almost any industrial project, which is emerging as a focus of today’s NDP.

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver’s version doesn’t seem quite as drastic, but it seeks to enshrine the “precautionary principle” to declare any risk, proven or not, to be enough to prevent development.

Weaver frames the issue in apocalyptic fashion with a long-winded preamble that warns: “The entire world is in the midst of an extinction crisis and humans are the driving force.”

The legislation the BC Liberals actually passed speaks to their cynicism after four terms in power.

A bill to repeal century-old racist contract terms changes nothing in the modern world, but the burst of positive Chinese-language media attention it received surely qualifies as a “quick win,” as ethnic appeals were once infamously described in the premier’s office.

Legislation aimed at registering dog and cat breeders may never be implemented, even if the BC Liberals win again. How a new bureaucracy to register and monitor the commercial sale of pets fits with the governing party’s endless war on “red tape” has yet to be explained.

The pet breeding industry wants “hobby breeders” exempted, which may lead to the undoing of the whole thing. But the legislation created a great photo-op, and cute dogs have been particular favourite of Clark in recent years.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Just Posted

Development on grounds of former Victoria Truth Centre sent to public hearing

Controversial project moves forward with revisions to previous plans

Police wait on autopsy findings on human foot

Sooke RCMP are waiting for autopsy findings before determing if a human… Continue reading

Victoria rental prices declining, according to national listing website

The median price of a one-bedroom suite dropped almost five per cent in December

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Lost Victoria: Story of the Crystal Palace

Historian Stuart Stark launches book about iconic Oak Bay structure that was lost to flames

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Island entering the peak of flu season

Island Health says flu shots the best prevention against the virus

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Most Read