Premier John Horgan speaks about housing affordability last month in Nanaimo. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

Editorial: British Columbians depending on affordability promises

Following last month’s campaigning, throne speech introduces coming initiatives

B.C. isn’t on the brink of an election, but the provincial government still seemed to present a throne speech that aimed to try to please people.

Two weeks after a byelection in Nanaimo that served as a sort of vote of confidence for the NDP and forced to B.C. Liberals and Green Party to reflect, the provincial government started setting a course for the next legislature session. B.C.’s lieutenant-governor delivered the throne speech Tuesday in the B.C. legislature, on behalf of Premier John Horgan and the government.

After discussion on the Nanaimo campaign trail about affordability for British Columbians, we got to see more of what that might look like: some populist items, certainly, some big promises, and some projects that are probably a long way away.

The NDP throne speech laid out plans to focus on “different choices to make life better,” including a poverty-reduction strategy to help make life easier for people at low-income levels. There was talk of continued investment in affordable housing and affordable daycare. A freeze on B.C. Ferries fare increases for major routes and discounts on minor and northern routes are to continue. New regulations are on the way for live event ticket sellers and payday lenders, and even federally regulated cellphone providers were called out.

As always, a throne speech is hard to applaud or critique until the subsequent budget, with figures and timelines. Green leader Andrew Weaver suggested the throne speech was “a bit of a laundry list” of initiatives and Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson didn’t hear enough about job creation with “economic storm clouds on the horizon throughout the world.”

B.C.’s government probably isn’t on the brink, but a lot of B.C. residents are cutting things close these days and need some of these affordability measures to pan out.

-with files from Black Press

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