VIDEO: B.C. Liberals elect speaker to begin historic session

Speaker to resign if government defeated by NDP and B.C. Greens

B.C. Liberal MLA Steve Thomson of Kelowna-Mission was elected Speaker of the B.C. legislature Thursday to begin a historic session that will determine whether the NDP and B.C. Green Party take over as government or whether voters head back to the polls.

Thomson resigned as forests minister Wednesday evening to take on the new role. Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad has added responsibility for forests, lands and natural resource operations to his cabinet duties.

Premier Christy Clark has said the B.C. Liberals will put forward one of their 43 MLAs to stand as speaker, but if the 44 opposition MLA join forces to vote non-confidence in Thursday’s throne speech, it will be up to the new government to name its own speaker.

Elections to the speaker position, the referee of the legislature, are a secret ballot vote by all MLAs. In practice there is rarely more than one candidate put forward.

The throne speech sets out the government’s goals for a new session, and Clark has disclosed most of its highlights in advance, adopting main elements of the B.C. NDP platform. Wednesday she announced that the B.C. Liberals’ pre-election budget will be amended to include a $1 billion boost to child care, and the intention to create an anti-poverty plan, after a decade of she and former premier Gordon Campbell maintaining that the best anti-poverty plan is job creation.

On Monday Clark announced she wants to meet another key NDP demand, to ban corporate and union donations to political parties.

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell then announced a $100-a-month increase in temporary income assistance payments, another measure taken from the NDP platform in the May 9 election.

Whether the B.C. Liberal government survives long enough to implement any of these measures remains to be seen. Rules of the house require four days of debate before a confidence vote can begin, and the B.C. Liberals may extend that period by introducing legislation for debate.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Surrey crews battle house fire in Cloverdale

Drivers urged to avoid area after fire in 17200-block of 58th Avenue

UPDATED: Three people hurt after vehicle flips over in Surrey

Police say injuries were minor in Tuesday morning crash at 64th Avenue and 138th Street

Delta Police seek witnesses after pedestrian struck in Tsawwassen hit-and-run

Police say a Ford Ranger pickup, possibly dark green, stopped before allegedly fleeing the scene

UPDATE: Star Delta baseball player, 14, dies in hospital after suffering head injury

Tsawwassen resident Kyle Losse played for Delta Tigers AAA team

Unexpected noise, pollution and machinery frustrate White Rock business owners

Russell Avenue merchants say they received no advance notice

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

Homeless evicted from First Nation reserve land say they have nowhere to go

‘Why not just let us stay until spring?’ one camper at Chilliwack site pleads

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

UPDATED: 10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Five charged in bid to shut pop-up pot market in Vancouver’s Robson Square

Marijuana flower, edibles, money and some weapons were seized as part of weekend raid

Most Read