‘PLEASE — PLEASE SEE THIS THROUGH’
day 1 of the national inquiry
Both the NDP and the Green Parties championed a move to a proportional representation electoral system during their campaigns this year, but di ered on how it should be implemented. Ultimately, the NDP’s insistence on a public vote before making any changes to B.C. elections won out.
According to the accord, “a referendum on proportional representation will take place in the fall of 2018, concurrent with the next municipal election.”
The agreement also sets out a ban on union and corporate political donations, moving ixed election dates to the fall and tougher lobbying laws.
“We’re going to make sure we do as exhaustive a consultation as possible (on a potential system) between now and referendum day and the two of us, at a minimum, are gong to campaign in favour of that,” said NDP leader John Horgan, alongside Green leader Andrew Weaver. “That will be the exciting part, laying out putting in place an electoral system that will be rati ied by the public to demonstrate that we can vote with your conscience, you can vote for who you want and still get people to work together.”
Weaver added it was critical to formulate a “very clear” referendum question.
The future of the George Massey tunnel replacement bridge is now in doubt with the NDP ready to form government.
While its agreement with the Greens promises only to “act immediately to improve transit and transportation infrastructure in co-operation with the Mayors’ Council and federal government”, Horgan painted the proposed 10-lane bridge as an unwanted one.
“A 10-lane bridge is only supported by the incumbent government, not by the Mayors’ Council, not by the two of us standing here, it is unlikely the solution to (congestions),” he said. “We’ll look at all the options that the mayors want to put forward.”
Horgan said the NDP still plans to eliminate tolls on the Golden Ears and Port Mann bridges, which was an election promise, but doesn’t have Weaver’s support on that so it’s unknown how that will play out. The agreement says government will work with the region to develop a long-term funding formula for transit and Horgan said road pricing was discussed in negotiations with the Greens, but nothing speci ic has been promised.
The future of ride-sharing services, like Uber, in B.C. is also up in the air. Horgan said he’ll try to work across party lines to ind a way of allowing ride-sharing in B.C. while protecting the existing taxi industry.
The NDP Green agreement proposed a slate of policies designed to make life more a ordable for British Columbians and to tackle poverty.
Those proposals include the province’s irst ever poverty reduction plan (B.C. is the only province that doesn’t have one), a path toward a $15 minimum wage, the elimination of MSP premiums and increasing the supply of a ordable housing.
The agreement also talks about investing in child care, but doesn’t speci ic how. During the campaign, the NDP was proposing $10 a day childcare while the Green Party promised free child care for children under three and more money for early childcare education. The agreement also includes a commitment to try out a potential basic income pilot project.
The NDP will not stop construction of the Site C dam (yet) but will send it to immediate review by the B.C. Utilities Commission under its agreement with the Greens.
Weaver has been a vocal opponent of the megaproject, but said the review proposed by Horgan is a good irst step. “We came in there very strong on Site C, as you might imagine,” Weaver said of negotiations with the NDP. “We pressured (the NDP) on what they meant on sending it to the BCUC. To us, it wasn’t enough just to say that they would. We pressured on the question that would be asked and we got a response that, frankly, I think is the right response that we’re looking for.”
Horgan said the BCUC will be tasked to ind out why the project was approved under the Liberals, how much it will cost going forward, what impact it will have on Hydro rates and what other alternatives are available.
Weaver said he ultimately chose to partner with the NDP because “of the dismantling of our climate leadership here in the province of British Columbia,” under Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal government.
His agreement with the NDP includes the implementation of a “climate action strategy” to meet provincial emissions targets and an increase of the carbon tax by $5 per tonne per year, starting April 2018.
Both parties have also agreed to “employ every tool available” to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and a commitment to “revitalize the Environmental Assessment process in B.C.”
“Ultimately, a framework on climate leadership is what brought the B.C. Greens here today to work with the B.C. NDP,” Weaver said.