VICTORIA – The third session of
the 38th parliament was launched today with a speech from the throne
that calls for bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create better
choices for students and patients, and a plan to reduce homelessness.
“Over the last five years, British
Columbia has established itself as a centre for social innovation and economic
development, and as a province where we accomplish what we set our minds to,” said
Premier Gordon Campbell. “However, we have a responsibility to do better – to
reach higher in education, to reduce the impact we have on the environment, to
provide more choices for students and patients, and to help those who cannot
Premier Campbell said the Province
will build on its reputation for environmental stewardship by establishing
targets, actions and processes aimed at reducing B.C.’s greenhouse gases by at
least 33 per cent below current levels by 2020.
“Climate change is real, and
British Columbians are telling us we must do more as a government and as
individuals,” said Campbell. “We will act to stem the growth of global warming
and minimize the impacts already unleashed by establishing targets and actions
and by working with our national and international neighbours.”
The throne speech includes key
initiatives that outline the five elements of the Province’s Pacific Leadership
Agenda, an agenda that’s crucial to achieving the Five Great Goals for the
Golden Decade. The Pacific Leadership Agenda elements include:
- To lead
Canada in partnership with First Nations.
- To tackle the
challenges of global warming and unplanned urban sprawl.
- To increase
affordable housing, reduce homelessness, and help those who cannot help
- To improve
quality, choice, and accountability in our two most important public
services – education and health care.
- To open up
Canada’s Pacific Gateway and strengthen our economic competitiveness.
will further strengthen First Nations relations include:
- If the three
Final Agreements under the B.C. Treaty Commission are ratified within the
next few months, legislation will be brought to the legislature for full
- New curricula
will be developed with First Nations historians, oral histories will be
gathered from First Nations Elders, and more will be done to preserve
First Nations languages.
- The Province
will work with the Legislative Assembly and First
Nations to act on the recommendation of the 2001 review dealing with the
artwork in the lower rotunda.
tackle the challenge of global warming include:
- The Province
will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below
current levels by 2020. That target will place emissions 10 per cent under
targets will be set for 2012 and 2016 through a Climate Action Team that
will determine the most credible, aggressive and economically viable
- A longer-term
emissions reduction target will be set for 2050.
- The Climate Action Team will also be
asked to identify practicable options and actions for making the
government of B.C. carbon neutral by 2010.
electricity produced in B.C. will be required to have net zero greenhouse
gas emissions by 2016.
gas emissions from the oil and gas industry will be reduced to 2000 levels
by 2016, including a zero-flaring requirement at producing wells and
- A new
$25-million Innovative Clean Energy Fund will be established to encourage
the commercialization of alternative energy solutions such as bioenergy,
geothermal energy, tidal, run-of-the river, solar, and wind power.
emission standards for all new vehicles sold in B.C. will be phased in
between 2009 and 2016, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from autos by 30
- A low-carbon
fuel standard will be established that will reduce carbon intensity of all
passenger vehicles by at least 10 per cent by 2020.
- The energy
plan will require that 90 per cent of B.C.’s electricity come from clean,
immediately, B.C. will become the first jurisdiction in North America, if
not the world, to require 100 per cent carbon sequestration for any
coal-fired electricity project.
- The $2,000
sales tax exemption on new hybrid vehicles will be extended.
this month, all new cars leased or purchased by the Province will be
- A new unified
B.C. Green Building Code will be developed with industry and communities.
will be developed to phase in requirements for methane capture at
landfills, the source of about nine per cent of B.C.’s greenhouse gas
incentives to retrofit existing homes and buildings to make them energy
- New measures
will help homeowners undertake “energy audits” to identify possible energy
in-home smart metering will help homeowners measure and reduce energy
measures will demand new personal commitment, new investments and new
funding. The cost of climate change is directly related to our
consumption. Over the next year, the Province will consider the range of
possibilities aimed at encouraging personal choices that are
environmentally responsible. The Province will explore ways to encourage
shifts in behaviour that reduce carbon consumption through tax savings.
Buildings seismic upgrades will include new standards of energy
strategies will be launched to promote Pacific Green universities,
colleges, hospitals, schools, prisons, ferries, and airports.
- The Province
will substantially increase its tree-planting efforts.
- The Province
will ensure school curricula inform students how they can reduce
individual impacts on the environment at home and at work.
burners will be eliminated.
infested by the mountain pine beetle will be used to create new, clean
federal-provincial partnership will invest $89 million for hydrogen
fuelling stations and the world’s first fleet of 20 fuel cell buses. The
new fuelling stations are part of the initial phase of the hydrogen
highway from Whistler to Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria.
Province will work with Pacific states to encourage a hydrogen highway
from Whistler to San Diego by 2010.* It would be the longest hydrogen
highway in the world.
spring, the Province will invite all Pacific Coast governors and key
ministers to B.C. to forge a new Pacific Coast Collaborative extending
from Alaska to California.
will work with its neighbours to create electrified truck stops to reduce
Premier will meet with governors to assess and address the impact of
climate change on our oceans and establish common standards for Pacific
Province will seek federal co-operation to electrify ports and reduce
container ship carbon emissions in all Canadian ports.
Province will work with the federal government and Pacific partners to
develop a sensible, efficient system to register, trade, and purchase
carbon offsets and credits.
- A new
Citizen’s Conservation Council will be established and funded.
Plans to build on the Province’s
environmental protection and conservation records:
- Several new
Class A parks and conservancies will be established and existing ones
- Changes will
be introduced to strengthen forest stewardship and reduce forest fire risk.
- Actions will
be taken to improve forest health, encourage better utilization of
beetle-killed timber and salvage fibre, and strengthen actions against
those who damage B.C.’s forest or range resources.
will be taken to address housing and urban sprawl include:
local governments to exempt small-unit supportive housing projects from
development cost charges and levies.
- A new
assessment class and new tax exemptions for small-unit supportive housing
will be developed over the next year for the legislature’s consideration.
- Changes to
existing funding and transfer payments to ensure integrated regional
transportation and housing planning.
- Working with
the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the private sector to develop new
incentives to encourage smaller lot sizes and smaller, more energy
efficient homes that use less land, less energy and less water, and are
less expensive to own.
New steps to boost
student achievement by improving quality, choice and accountability in British
Columbia’s education system include:
will be introduced to the School Act to broaden the Education Minister’s
capacity to create provincial schools and offer more choice in learning.
Province will act to give teachers new recognition and financial
incentives to reward improvements in student achievement and promote
professional development, as laid out in the 2005 election platform.
leadership certification, new resources, professional development, and
online supports will be offered to teachers.
Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence will be established.
will be made to broaden the mandate of school boards, reflected in a new
title: Boards of Education.
will be able to offer “special academies” with approval of school planning
councils and consultation with parents.
will be authorized to charge fees approved by school planning councils to
defray non-instructional costs or additional costs incurred in offering
special academies, trades programs, and band instruments.
role of district superintendents will expand to be responsible to boards
for improving student achievement.
of Education will be required to develop district literacy plans.
to 80 StrongStart Centres will open in underutilized school spaces over
the next year to help B.C.’s youngest students enter school ready to
provincial Superintendents of Achievement will be appointed by the
Province to report and make recommendations on improving student
achievement in school districts.
“sunshine legislation” will shed new light on school district companies’
best practices, and new public reporting and auditing requirements, as
well as new obligations for their directors to be arm’s length from parent
boards, will be established.
Province will ensure new residents can obtain support in ESL training and
streamlined professional and skilled labour certification to help them use
the skills they bring to B.C.
pledge to use underutilized school spaces as public spaces to deliver on public
will also work with boards to better manage capital planning across all
new process to ensure schools or school lands are used for their highest
and best use for maximum public benefit.
Further initiatives will reflect
the government’s 2005 election commitments to:
a teacher employment registry, administered by the College of Teachers, to
publicly report the names of teachers disciplined for misconduct involving
emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
annual public reports for all public schools on the statistics relating to
teacher hirings, terminations, disciplinary actions and professional
all Boards of Education to establish codes of conducts for students that
meet provincially set standards and that institute “zero tolerance” of
bullying in B.C.’s schools.
government the ability to directly communicate with all teachers.
health-care initiatives that will build on the Conversation on Health and
fundamental health reforms that will increase choice and maximize health
- A new
electronic Surgical Patient Registry will give patients more control over
surgical options, improve public reporting of wait times, and enable
better surgical treatment planning.
- A new
Electronic Medical Records system will be launched to give physicians
better access to patient records.
- The BC
HealthGuide will be available in Punjabi and Chinese.
New initiatives to
support B.C.’s growing economy include:
- Several amendments will be introduced
this session to enhance mineral exploration and to afford private property
owners new rights of notice before anyone can enter their land for mineral
- New legislation will be tabled to
facilitate resort development and establish new resort municipalities that
open up B.C.’s potential for tourism.
B.C.’s new tourism strategy will target new markets for
growth in the Asia-Pacific and new potential for growth in eco-tourism,
agri-tourism, Aboriginal tourism, and cultural tourism.
This year, a new Children’s Education Credit will be
established and a new Pacific Leaders Fellowship will be created to provide
university students new financial incentives to pursue careers in the
provincial public service.
Campus 2020 will help shape the vision of B.C.’s
post-secondary system for years to come.
The Provincial Nominee Program will
be substantially expanded and new efforts will be made to expedite entry
for temporary workers in skills-shortage areas.
The government will invest in B.C.’s ports, airports,
railways, roads and bridges to capitalize on British Columbia’s core
competitive advantage – our location as Canada’s only Pacific province.
Legislation will be
introduced to end mandatory retirement.
The full text of today’s speech from the throne
is available on the Legislative Assembly website at www.leg.bc.ca/38th3rd/4-8-38-3.htm.
*Note: The online version of this news release has been
amended to correct this date.