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.

Just Posted

Man cycles across B.C. Interior for sobriety

Vancouver Island Resident Matt Fee is approaching the final phase of his cross-Canada bike journey to raise awareness about addiction recovery.

Popular Bird Migration Day open house happening this weekend

Event focuses on bird adaptation to migration, bird conservation issues and threats and bird banding

Okanagan inmate who allegedly assaulted prisoners and officer gets trial extension

Afshin Maleki Ighani appeared in Penticton Supreme Court on Monday

Penticton gas prices among the lowest at B.C. pumps

Nine of the 10 lowest-priced gas locations are in Penticton

FortisBC to offer free energy efficiency assessments for small businesses

Fortis BC wants to helo 900 storefronts in Kelowna, Penticton and Rossland

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Facebook group forms committee against Thompson Nicola R.V. crackdown

Group discusses issues with regional R.V. bylaw at recent meeting

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Most Read