Jun 26, 2013

Short BC throne speech neglects climate crisis, poverty


Everyone expected today’s throne speech to be a brief recap of Christy Clark’s election platform. And on this front, it certainly delivered: only 8 pages, compared to the usual 20+, pinning our province’s hopes on LNG exports, and using much of the same language, word for word, that we’ve heard repeatedly throughout the election campaign.

A recycled throne speech warrants recycled analysis, so here’s an excerpt from what I wrote on this blog in February:

the throne speech disappoints with its failure to honestly communicate the true challenges our province faces, let alone offer credible solutions. Too many children live in poverty in our rich province, our hospitals are overcrowded, our schools cannot afford to provide kids with learning disabilities and special needs with the support they need to learn well, there’s a crisis in seniors care, and climate change and income inequality threaten not just our sensibilities, but our economy, quality of life and survival. But while natural gas is mentioned 15 times in the throne speech, and mining and forestry also feature prominently, there is no mention of climate change, green jobs or income inequality.

Natural gas is only mentioned 5 times this time around instead of 15 (proportional to the shorter length of the speech), but the climate crisis is still MIA.

This omission sticks out as a sore thumb coming just a day after President Obama’s inspiring climate action speech, in which he unveiled a comprehensive climate action plan for the US.

Moreover, the throne speech’s neglect of social and environmental issues facing BC is in direct contradiction with a promise Clark made in her victory speech just over a month ago. Then, a beaming Christy Clark told us she heard two concerns from British Columbians during the campaign, and committed (rather emphatically) to heeding these as she leads the next BC government:

  1. “people want to know that we will be sharing the economic benefits of this province with everyone” and
  2. “they wanted us to balance economic and environmental issues.”

There’s nothing in today’s throne speech to suggest that her new government intends to follow through on this commitment.


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