Parliament opens without specifics

Lt.-Gov. Steven Point opened the new session of B.C.’s parliament yesterday with a throne speech heavily painted in shades of health care and the environment.

"We live in a time as transformative as the Industrial Revolution," Point said. "New challenges, like climate change, call everyone to action with new speed and urgency, and a new emphasis on sustainability."


While largely short on specifics, the speech emphasized personal responsibility encouraged by government incentives when dealing with its two major themes.

On the health-care file, the government committed itself to banning the use of transfats by food service providers by 2010.

The government also confirmed that its much-anticipated climate-action plan would not be unveiled until "shortly" after the Feb. 19 budget, but Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation saw hope in the wording.

"What I did find promising was the mention of market forces," he said. "What we need is a carbon tax that will encourage development and jobs in a new clean energy sector. We will see in the coming weeks if B.C. is serious about being a leader in this regard."

In a conference call, opposition leader Carole James blasted the speech for being hollow and out of touch.

"I give it a five out of 10 for slogans and coming up with fancy new words, but a zero for action," she said.

saving for health

  • It was mentioned in the throne speech that the government is mulling the idea of personal savings accounts that could be spent on future health-care costs.

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