Premier John Horgan takes questions in the B.C. legislature library at the end of the fall session, Nov. 27, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

LNG, ride hailing highlights of fall for B.C. Premier John Horgan

Legislature session ends with bitter dispute over suspended staff

Securing a record investment in Canada’s first liquefied natural gas export facility and getting the ball rolling on ride sharing are among B.C. Premier John Horgan’s highlights of the fall legislature session that wound up in acrimony Tuesday.

The government is functioning well despite the recent turmoil over the sudden suspension of its top administrators, Horgan told reporters in session-ending news conference in the marble-lined library. He listed accomplishments including a new hospital for Fort St. James, something the community has waited more than 40 years for.

“The hospital there is a collection of Atco trailers held together by particle board, and that has been there since 1972 on the promise of a 10-year life cycle,” Horgan said.

The fall session was dominated by bitter disputes over the ongoing referendum on proportional representation, the government’s speculation tax on empty homes and its payroll tax that employers will pay in addition to half of the Medical Services Plan premiums some pay on behalf of employees.

The final question period Tuesday was devoted to pressing the government on what it knew about Speaker Darryl Plecas’ actions in suspending Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz. B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson led the questioning, after a brief clash with Plecas that caused him to vacate the speaker’s chair.

RELATED: Suspended legislature officers say they are innocent

They got no answers to questions about who authorized Plecas to hire his own investigator and lawyer. Horgan emphasized later that the legislature continues to function with able deputies taking over “seamlessly.”

Wilkinson also condemned the NDP government’s ride hailing legislation, which has many details yet to be defined with the help of an all-party committee in 2019.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver’s highlights included negotiating changes to the housing speculation and vacancy tax, including having the rate equalized for all Canadian property owners.


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