Little substance, direction in throne speech, opposition MLAs say

Opposition says throne speech offers little substance of direction for province.

Premier Christy Clark’s throne speech lacked substance and didn’t provide a clear government plan, Nanaimo-area NDP MLAs say.

“It was a thin gruel at best. It was dreadfully lacking in substance,” said Leonard Krog, NDP MLA for Nanaimo. “I’m concerned. It’s becoming clear that the government really doesn’t have any agenda.”

Krog said there should have been a significant job plan and more information about land claim issues. In addition, he would have liked to see funding restored to the Ministry of Environment of Forests to drive the economic recovery of the forest industry and protect the environment.

The initiative proposed to reduce the backlog in B.C. Courts by relaxing restrictions on part-time work performed by retired judges will do little to address the issue. said Krog, the opposition critic for the attorney general. To make a difference, more full-time judges are needed, he said.

Doug Routley, NDP MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, agreed that Clark’s speech offered little new information, adding it’s also unusual to have a throne speech in the fall.

He said the “truly astonishing” thing about the speech was the lack of a job plan that addresses the forest industry, adding more needs to be done to address issues such as rising tuition costs, removing the HST faster and expanding and protecting the jobs in the province.

He said the middle class has been under continual pressure from increasing costs which include increases in MSP premiums, hydro increases and the HST.

“A thriving, successful middle class is not an outcome of a good economy but the creator of a good economy,” said Routley. “There are families that need the help of the government.”

Ron Cantelon, Liberal MLA for Parksville-Qualicum, saidhis government addressed several issues of importance to British Columbians.

“The premier put forward a very bold and strong optimistic vision,” said Cantelon.

He said the Liberals are looking for opportunities to expand B.C. markets, and is investing in communities to improve recreational infrastructure and are awaiting a report on the operations of B.C. Ferries. He said the Liberals will also review the provincial tax system to make sure if supports creating jobs.

“The job agenda is very important and we’re taking the lead in marketing our products,” he said.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com.