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Throne speech lays out vision of a stronger B.C. that works better for people

Press Release

Feb. 20, 2024

VICTORIA – Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin opened the final session of the 42nd Parliament by delivering the speech from the throne, laying out the B.C. government’s vision for a stronger province that works better for people.

“While our government is proud of the progress we’ve made for people through tough times, we’re nowhere near satisfied,” said Premier Eby. “Our economy is strong, with low unemployment and the highest wages in the country. But too many are still struggling to get ahead – even those in the middle class who earn a decent paycheque. That’s why we’ll continue bringing people together to solve big challenges and help everyone build a good life here.”

Her Honour and members of the legislature were greeted by the Lekwungen singers and dancers of the Songhees Nation – a powerful symbol of B.C.’s commitment to reconciliation and moving forward in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

The speech outlined actions government will take over the next few months to deliver more middle-class homes faster, help working families and small businesses with costs, strengthen public health care and services, and build a cleaner economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top. It also committed to expanding actions to protect children from harms at schools, in their communities and online.

“In this time of global uncertainty and turmoil, we face some important questions,” Premier Eby said. “Will we be a province where people are driven apart and left to face tough challenges alone? Or will we continue to be a place where people take care of each other and build a better future together? If we reject division and bring people together to solve problems, our brightest days are ahead of us.”

Even in the face of a slower global economy and high interest rates, the speech pointed to positive signals that the B.C. government’s actions are working: 74,000 mostly private-sector jobs created last year; a 30% year-over-year increase in new rental homes registered; 700 additional doctors now practising in family medicine in B.C.; a 75% decrease in stranger attacks in Vancouver; and hundreds of thousands receiving help from cost-of-living measures, like free prescription contraception.

The throne speech also shared stories of people who are being helped by measures taken over the last year to increase the supply of affordable homes, improve health care with more family doctors and better cancer screening, add new addiction treatment beds, and cut the cost of child care for families.

This session, the government expects to pass at least 20 pieces of legislation and introduce a new budget that focuses on helping working and middle-class families with steady investments in the services they rely on, not cuts.

Some highlights from the speech from the throne include:

  • Delivering more homes for people by launching BC Builds, while taking new action to protect renters from bad-faith evictions and help first-time homebuyers.
  • Helping people and small businesses with costs through new measures coming in Budget 2024, while tackling the root causes that make life more expensive.
  • Strengthening public health care by continuing to attract more family doctors while investing new resources into cancer care and long-term care for seniors.
  • Building an economy that works better for people by leveraging B.C.’s strength in natural resources, and training people for the good clean jobs of today and tomorrow.
  • Protecting B.C. from climate emergencies with year-around wildfire-fighting resources and new actions to reduce pollution from big industrial emitters.
  • Keeping kids and communities safe by introducing new legislation to protect schools and kids from disruptive protests and to hold big social media companies accountable.

Contact:

Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Jimmy.Smith@gov.bc.ca

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