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

COLUMN: Technology gives me hope my father will walk again

Lokomat taught Michael Coss to walk again after brain injury – and you could help bring it to Surrey

Decision to opt out of Operation Red Nose made last spring, says Langley Gymnastics

ORN drivers in neighbouring communities will fill Langley/Surrey gaps as best they can

Curling competition cutting close ahead of BC Junior Curling Championships

Qualifiers for December’s championships come down to the decimal point

Theatre stuff from stolen trailer found strewn on Surrey roadside

‘It’s going to take a little while to go through it all and find out what’s ruined and what’s OK’

Golden time for Langley pair on the water

Langley women team up to win gold at rowing national championships in Burnaby

VIDEO: Two years in review with Cloverdale-Langley City MP

John Aldag sits down to talk about heritage, economics

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Delta-Richmond Operation Red Nose kicks off with call for volunteers

ORN uses volunteers to provide motorists who have been drinking a free ride home — in their own cars

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Overnight lane closures at Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue

Left turn lanes off of the highway onto 72nd eastbound will be closed to install drainage culverts

Most Read