VICTORIA, B.C. - The B.C. Liberal caucus today voted against moving ride-hailing forward in British Columbia. Last week, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announced that he had reached an agreement with the B.C. NDP to move the subject of ride-hailing, raised earlier in October in a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Weaver, to an all-party committee of the Legislature. The Committee is slated to deliver a report on ride-hailing to inform eventual legislation no later than February 15, 2018.
“I must admit I am disappointed that the BC Liberals have chosen to oppose moving ridesharing forward,” said Andrew Weaver. “Since electing a minority government British Columbians have been clear that they want their politicians to work together like grownups. This could have been an opportunity for all parties to stand together and show people we are capable of that.”
Last week, the B.C. Greens sent a letter to B.C. Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong requesting advance notice of amendments in order to consider the policy implications. However, the Liberals yet again introduced an amendment to the motion at the last minute. The amendment further came as a surprise as the B.C. Liberals had indicated in public statements that they were supportive of moving forward on this issue.
“If our goal is to craft good public policy Members of the legislature need to grow up and stop using amendments as tools for political gamesmanship. As legislators, we must consider, for example, whether amendments create redundancy and waste taxpayer money, as the one proposed by the Liberals today appears to. It is regrettable that the Liberals continue to refuse to engage on the issues in favour of treating this House like a game.”
The B.C. Liberal amendment would have amended the terms of reference for the committee to include taxi licensees. But a review of the taxi-licensing system is already underway by the government, making that prospective work by the committee ineffectual given it would be considering a licensing program that is slated for reform next year.
“While BC is just starting to debate ride hailing other jurisdictions have already turned to autonomous vehicles,” said Adam Olsen. “I know the B.C. Liberals have a leadership race underway, but we cannot keep putting political calculation ahead of moving forward on the issues that matter to the people that elected us.”