Today in the Legislature we continued debate on the Speech from the Throne and voted on the amendment put forward by Selina Robinson, NDP MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville, as well as the sub-amendment that I put forward.
In an earlier post I noted that the role of government is to offer British Columbians a vision. The role of opposition, if they do not like the vision government is offering, is to offer a counter-vision. I tried to offer such a counter-vision in my response to the Speech from the Throne.
Unfortunately, I felt that amendment (reproduced below) put forward by the BC NDP wasn’t constructive.
I agree that the government did promise to give every British Columbian a general practitioner by 2015. I agree that seniors do not have flexible options for home care. I agree that young people in the province face uncertain job prospects, in particular in light of the fact that we’re re-engineering our education system for a hypothetical industry that I’ve been saying for more than two years now is not supported by the economic reality that the world is oversupplied with natural gas. However, it is our responsibility as opposition, when we don’t agree with government’s vision, to offer a vision that we can hang our hats on. And that is why I offered my sub-amendment (reproduced below).
Below you will see that both the sub-amendment and amendment were defeated. I am grateful to the BC NDP and Vicki Huntington, the Independent MLA from Delta South for supporting my sub-amendment. I could not support the BC NDP amendment without the sub-amendment first being passed as in my view it’s not enough to offer blind criticism, without offering up alternate solutions and ways forward. Had the sub-amendment passed, I would have voted in support of the amendment.
To sub-amend the amendment by striking out the “period” after 2015 and inserting the words “and recognizes that leadership in government requires a commitment to seek out and incorporate ideas from others, while leadership in opposition requires a commitment to offering solutions, and hence calls on this House to collaborate on the development of a new vision for British Columbia that builds on the good ideas of all members, regardless of their party affiliation.”]
[Be it resolved that the motion “We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, in session assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious Speech which Your Honour has addressed to us at the opening of the present session,” be amended by adding the following:
“and that the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia regrets that the families in the province have seen their wages fall as they pay more for their basic services, while the government gives a break to the highest two per cent of income earners; regrets that the government has failed to meet its commitment that all British Columbians will have access to a general practitioner by 2015; regrets that seniors still do not have flexible options for home care or assisted living; regrets that young people in the province face uncertain job prospects as the government has bet on one sector rather than working with businesses and workers across B.C. to reach their potential; and regrets that the government will not fulfill its commitment for at least one LNG pipeline and terminal online in B.C. by 2015.”]