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Affordability-focused Throne Speech overshadowed by pipeline protests

Last Updated Feb 11, 2020 at 10:29 pm PDT

Summary

The provincial government focused on affordability accomplishments as protesters chanted outside the Legislature

Still, the province says it all costs too much and there's still plenty of work to be done

This includes cutting costs at ICBC and for the drivers the corporation insures

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — As protesters chanted outside the legislature and blocked entrances, the provincial government chose to focus on its own affordability accomplishments in the Throne Speech, Tuesday.

The government touted its accomplishments over its time at the helm, with a focus on affordability, including increased supportive housing and child care spaces, rental rates and child care costs held down and the end of MSP premiums.

Still, the province says it all costs too much and there’s still plenty of work to be done.

This includes cutting costs at ICBC and for the drivers the corporation insures.

The bombshell surprise of moving to a no-fault model by 2021 came last week.

RELATED: Legislature entrances blocked by demonstrators, Throne Speech will go on

Details on the costing of the switch, and what it will do to get ICBC in the black, were not included in the Throne Speech but will be in next week’s budget.

Reconciliation and implementing the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples stood out in today’s speech, in contrast to loud protests going on outside the building.

The hundreds of people supporting the Wet’suet’en Hereditary Chiefs’ opposition to the Coastal Gas Link project in northern BC made entering the building challenging – impossible without security escort.

The arrival of Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin was delayed and her entrance altered as supporters sat at the traditional entrance, the front stairs.

New rules for event ticket sales, more transparent gas pricing, and improving cell phone prices and options were also on the government’s list of things to look forward to. These programs have faced criticism they are little more than lip service and won’t result in any quantifiable improvement for consumers.

While cheerleading investment in education, the speech doesn’t touch on the ongoing and increasingly tense negotiations between teachers and their employers.

Work on stemming the devastation of the opioid crisis was also discussed in the Throne Speech, saying harm reduction has prevented 4,700  deaths in B.C.