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

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ near Quatsino

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Striking Western Forest Products workers willing to ‘modify position’ if talks progress

Brian Butler, USW 1-1937 president, says union and WFP to meet Thursday, Dec. 12

Midgets tie Alberni Valley Bulldogs, lose to Kerry Park Islanders

It was a bit of a rough road trip for the North Island Midget Eagles.

Help ‘Stuff the Goose’ at the Port Hardy Airport

The fundraiser ends on Dec. 18 so that the food bank can process all the donations before Christmas.

North Island Bantam Eagles are the top team in VIAHA’s Tier 2 division

“If we continue to play like that we are going to be a tough team to contend with come playoffs”

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read