NDP warns of summer subterfuge with B.C. legislature resuming

Horgan says "bogus" budget being pushed through "while people are at the beach".

NDP house leader John Horgan

VICTORIA – The B.C. legislature resumes with a brief throne speech on Wednesday and an updated budget Thursday that will be the focus of opposition critics in a month-long summer session.

NDP house leader John Horgan said the government’s plan is to push a “bogus” budget through “while people are at the beach,” and then continue the B.C. Liberal tradition of skipping scheduled fall sessions in October and November.

Horgan said the government’s target to limit health care spending growth to less than one per cent hasn’t been achieved since former premier Bill Bennett’s restraint program in the early 1980s.

“At some point the reality has to hit the road, and this is why, I believe, they have jammed us in here in July, rather than having a more thoughtful session starting in September, when their [spending authority] runs out,” Horgan said.

Finance Minister and B.C. Liberal house leader Mike de Jong hasn’t ruled out a fall sitting of the legislature. He promised “no surprises” during the rare summer sitting, which the government intends to wrap up by July 25.

De Jong said he will update resource revenues that have changed since the current budget was introduced in February, and independent economic forecasts that have downgraded projections for B.C. economic growth since then. A smaller surplus will be forecast as a result.

After a series of deficits since 2009, the February budget projected a surplus of $197 million for the fiscal year ending in March 2014.

That is to be reached with an increase in the corporate income tax rate from 10 to 11 per cent, a temporary 2.1 per cent increase in personal income tax above $150,000 a year, and a $2 per carton increase in tobacco taxes effective in October.

The government plans no new legislation in the summer session, or reintroduction of provisions for an election for B.C. senators and other bills that were left unpassed when the legislature adjourned for the May election.

Just Posted

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

VIDEO: Olympic medalist teaches swimming in Hope

Brent Hayden fondly remembers local swim meet from his youth

Metro gas prices hit 155.7 cents a litre and higher

Lower Mainland could see 1.60 cents by April

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

LinkedIn: Top 25 places to work in Canada

LinkedIn has compiled a list of the top companies to work for in 2018

Province warning rabbit owners after confirmed cases of deadly virus

Testing confirmed feral rabbits in Nanaimo and Delta had died from rabbit hemorrhagic disease

Second suspect wanted in attack on autistic man was alleged target in 2015 shooting

Parmvir Chahil lived next door in Abbotsford to victim Ping Shun Ao, killed by stray bullet

Painting of B.C. lake by Winston Churchill sells for $87,000

Churchill had painted the work in 1929 during visit to an area near Field

New lead in one of six B.C. searches that remain unresolved

New details in case of couple who’d been flying from Cranbook to Kamloops when plane disappeared

UPDATE: Surrey man wanted in ‘vicious’ attack on autistic man has criminal history

Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, is wanted for one count of aggravated assault

Most Read