VIDEO: B.C. Liberals elect speaker to begin historic session

Speaker to resign if government defeated by NDP and B.C. Greens

B.C. Liberal MLA Steve Thomson of Kelowna-Mission was elected Speaker of the B.C. legislature Thursday to begin a historic session that will determine whether the NDP and B.C. Green Party take over as government or whether voters head back to the polls.

Thomson resigned as forests minister Wednesday evening to take on the new role. Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad has added responsibility for forests, lands and natural resource operations to his cabinet duties.

Premier Christy Clark has said the B.C. Liberals will put forward one of their 43 MLAs to stand as speaker, but if the 44 opposition MLA join forces to vote non-confidence in Thursday’s throne speech, it will be up to the new government to name its own speaker.

Elections to the speaker position, the referee of the legislature, are a secret ballot vote by all MLAs. In practice there is rarely more than one candidate put forward.

The throne speech sets out the government’s goals for a new session, and Clark has disclosed most of its highlights in advance, adopting main elements of the B.C. NDP platform. Wednesday she announced that the B.C. Liberals’ pre-election budget will be amended to include a $1 billion boost to child care, and the intention to create an anti-poverty plan, after a decade of she and former premier Gordon Campbell maintaining that the best anti-poverty plan is job creation.

On Monday Clark announced she wants to meet another key NDP demand, to ban corporate and union donations to political parties.

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell then announced a $100-a-month increase in temporary income assistance payments, another measure taken from the NDP platform in the May 9 election.

Whether the B.C. Liberal government survives long enough to implement any of these measures remains to be seen. Rules of the house require four days of debate before a confidence vote can begin, and the B.C. Liberals may extend that period by introducing legislation for debate.

Just Posted

Verdict to be delivered December 15 for three on trial in Anahim murders

The fates of Christian Craciun, Andrew Jongbloets, and Serena Rhem (Mack) will be decided on December 15 at 10am.

‘I fell asleep’ admits second mate in Nathan E. Stewart fuel spill

The tug spilled more than 100,000 litres of diesel off B.C.’s northern coast

Northwest’s new MRI hits milestone

Stakeholders celebrate 500th scan of diagnostic imaging device

VIDEO: Best photos of the Supermoon 2017

At its closest, the Frost Moon was about 363,300 km away from the Earth

Emergency response ‘well executed’ in B.C. carbon monoxide poisoning

Emergency Health Services talks about how first responders dealt with this ‘mass casualty event’

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria

Declaring a victory in Syria, Putin on Monday visited a Russian military air base in the country and announced a partial pullout of Russian forces from the Mideast nation.

Pipe bomb explodes in NYC subway

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4

Toronto FC to hold victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Toronto FC to hold downtown victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Canada’s only commercial spaceport hopes to launch 12 rockets per year

Nova Scotia’s rocket launch site hopes to eventually host 12 launches per year

‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

The nominees were announced from Beverly Hills after still-burning fires ravaged Southern California for the past week.

Most Read