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Nothing new in throne speech says Nelson/Creston MLA

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
February 13th, 2013

Nelson/Creston MLA Michelle Mungall listened carefully to B.C.’s new Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon read the speech from the throne Tuesday in Victoria.

However, what the Opposition Critic for Advanced Education, Youth and Labour Market Development heard was very close to Bupkiss.

“Listening to (the throne speech) there were major issues that we acknowledged . . . potential agriculture, relationships with new markets in Asia . . .all of that is important but nothing is being done about it,” Mungall told The Nelson Daily Tuesday from her office in Victoria.

“For example forestry . . . this is a major industry in the province, this is a major industry for Nelson/Creston and there was only one sentence.

“One sentence (in the throne speech) and nothing to address the ongoing crisis in the forest industry.”

Tuesday was the first sitting of the B.C. Legislature in nine months after government of Premier Christy Clark cancelled the fall session.

Most of the speech focused on how to use the trillion dollars expected from the development of liquefied natural gas.

Clark wants to establish a B.C. Prosperity Fund to pay down the provincial debt.

But that’s all future revenues. What does the government do now with a provincial debt that is currently pegged at $56 billion is what Mungall wants to know?

“Either way what’s important to know there’s not a dime right now in the B.C. Prosperity Fund,’’ Mungall explained.

“There’s isn’t going to be a dime tomorrow or a dime before the election and there isn’t going to be a dime in the fund for another 30 years.”

“So how is that going to solve the economic problems that BC has today,” Mungall questioned. “How is that going to solve the skills shortages or the crisis in forestry?”

Clark said in the throne speech LNG should generate somewhere between $130 billion and $260 billion from revenues along with a new gas tax over the next 30 years.

The project would also generate 39,000 jobs over the nine-year construction period and 75,000 new full-time jobs if the five facilities reach full production.

Other throne speech highlights included a new organization to promote Vancouver to Asian investment; support for families, including improving access to quality early childhood services, access and affordability of child care and measures to help families save for children’s post-secondary education; and establishment of a a seniors’ advocate and a plan to address elder abuse.

“What was there in the throne speech,” Mungall asked.

“Nothing new they announced budget numbers from last year,” she answered.

The current sitting is expected to deal with the re-introduction of the PST as well as a few other items before all the political parties his the campaign trail in April prior to the provincial election May 14.

“If this is a precursor to the election, if this is their platform for the election then it’s really clear (Liberal government) is out of ideas,” Mungall said.

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