Winter weather caused the traditional 15-gun salute and military inspection to be cancelled before B.C. Lieut. Gov. Janet Austin read the NDP government’s speech from the throne, Feb. 12, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. government aims to stop concert ticket, payday loan gouging

Throne speech promises cellphone bill relief, action on money laundering

B.C. Premier John Horgan set the agenda for his government’s spring session Tuesday with a throne speech packed with promises to hold down ferry and electricity costs, while promising legislation to regulate event ticket sales and payday lenders.

Canada’s high cellphone bills are another priority for the province, according to the speech read in the B.C. legislature by Lt. Gov. Janet Austin. But don’t expect relief right away; changes this year include improving “billing transparency” and doing another of the NDP government’s familiar consultation rounds, while federal law controls much of the wireless industry.

“Your government will give consumers the tools they need to get the least expensive possible service and encourage the federal government to deliver more affordable cellphone options for people,” the speech says.

New rules are on the way for live event ticket sellers, including a ban on mass ticket-buying software. Payday lenders will see a new cap on the fees they can charge.

The latest review of money laundering and its effect on real estate is to be completed, with recommendations the speech says “will provide a basis for immediate action to close loopholes and defend against criminal activity.”

Other goals for 2019 include establishing new Class A provincial parks and creating a Chinese-Canadian museum, along with an upgrade of the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. Land purchased on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, the Okanagan and Kootenays is to be given the province’s highest park protection.

RELATED: Opposition pans Horgan’s throne speech pledges

RELATED: B.C. minister fears money laundering in the billions

A freeze on B.C. Ferries fare increases for major routes and discounts on minor and northern routes are to continue for a second year.

The speech promises to carry on with rental market changes recommended late last year by an MLA task force. This could include legislation to prevent strata councils from banning rentals. Action is also promised to speed up new rental housing projects and deliver “more efficient and effective project approvals.”

In industrial development, the speech promises legislative action to advance the LNG Canada project. Before that massive project can begin operation, a dispute with dissident hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northwest B.C. on the key natural gas pipeline route has to be resolved, and the province must remove the liquefied natural gas income tax put in place by the previous B.C. Liberal government.

Mining is also promised help, including “more support for innovation in mining and mineral exploration, and promoting Indigenous partnerships.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs Resort eases in to reopening

Reservations available Friday, May 29

Potential for gravel removal this summer in Chilliwack has riled river stewards

Group says no ‘discernible merit’ for gravel mining when balanced off with the environmental damage

Kent council votes 4-1 in favour of Teacup properties development

Coun. Kerstin Schwichtenberg was the only ‘no’ in difficult vote

MP Vis advocates for faster internet in rural communities

Less than 45 per cent of rural households in Canada have high-speed internet

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

Most Read