Elbows up as legislature winds down

Speaker Bill Barisoff and Premier Christy Clark raise the Vancouver Canucks flag outside the B.C. legislature Tuesday.

VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government has rejected an NDP request to extend the spring legislative session past this week, and pushed through its plan to offer a reduced rate for the harmonized sales tax.

B.C. Liberal house leader Rich Coleman said the provincial budget and remaining legislation will be completed and passed by Thursday afternoon. That includes endorsement of the Yale First Nation treaty, limits to ferry fare increases, creation of a new police investigation unit and dozens of minor amendments to legislation.

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson said Tuesday he plans to vote against the Yale treaty, partly because the government is pushing the disputed settlement of Fraser Canyon fishing territory through with only a few hours of debate.

And the NDP says the B.C. Liberal government is using its majority to ram through the HST changes with inadequate debate.

NDP leader Adrian Dix said the government closed off debate on the HST plan in less than a day, and switched debate on Premier Christy Clark’s office budget to coincide with game one of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday, to distract the public from criticism.

Coleman continued the hockey theme, accusing the NDP of “ragging the puck” after agreeing to debate all current legislative measures by the scheduled adjournment on Thursday.

NDP house leader John Horgan said the government’s reduction of legislature time is an affront to the citizens who elected MLAs to represent them.

“We sat for four days the previous 10 months,” Horgan said. “We have a four-week session to deal with a $40 billion budget and a handful of bills at the start that turned into 15 bills, one of which is a treaty.”

Under the NDP government in 2000, the Nisga’a treaty debate took 147 days, and the same year hundreds of hours were spent debating ministry budgets, Horgan said.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs erase three goal deficit in overtime win

Down 3-0 to the Cowichan Capitals, the Chiefs came back to win 4-3 in the BCHL Showcase match.

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income owners in Lower Mainland

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

Most Read