B.C. legislation to create Family Day holiday in February
The B.C. government has added legislation for a new holiday in February to a growing stack of bills already up for debate, but the opposition says it's still waiting for the government to table its bill to axe the HST.
The Family Day legislation would create a new holiday on either the second or third Monday in February but the government is seeking public input as to which Monday that should be.
"By having Family Day on the third Monday in February, British Columbians will share the same day with five other Canadian provinces, and with the United States' President's Day," said a statement issued by the Ministry of Labour, Citizen's services and Open Government.
"By having it on the second Monday, British Columbians will be able to enjoy not only ski hills, but also parks and other local attractions throughout the Province without other long-weekend traffic," said the statement.
The Family Day legislation is just one of series of new bills introduced by the Liberal government in recent days.
But one piece of the legislation the government has yet to introduce is the bill that will show how it plans to scrap the HST and return to the old GST/PST.
HST legislation taking time
Liberal house leader Rich Coleman says drafting the HST bill is a long and complex job that is keeping four legislative experts occupied, and slowing down everything else.
Six new bills on Monday
On Monday the government introduced six new bills, including:
Changes to Translink governance giving the transit authority the power to change fines and collect on tickets they hand out.
Changes to parks and protected areas in B.C., which includes taking land out of the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park to allow for the construction of a gondola.
Establishing a new provincial sports commissioner with oversight over boxing and mixed martial arts fights in B.C.
Changes to legislation around emergency medical treatment in B.C.
A new framework to take minor civil disputes such as strata fights out of the court system.
A new framework to take traffic ticket disputes out of the court system.
"That's a big one. It's taking up a lot of time, and so you only have so many drafters." said Coleman.
But NDP house leader John Horgan says eight months have passed since the results of the province's HST referendum were released, and wonders why it is taking the government so long to table legislation to get rid of the tax.
"Is it malicious or is it just incompetence?" asked Horgan on Tuesday.
Horgan says the government appears to be trying to wear the opposition down by introducing so much legislation at once, calling the strategy "legislation by exhaustion."
"We have 20 bills before the house with 11 days to go," said Horgan, who is calling on the government to postpone some of the new bills until the fall.
On Monday, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon assured legislation to get rid of the HST would be introduced in the legislature's spring session, which goes until the end of May.
Coleman says he knows it would be problematic to introduce such an important bill the last week of the sitting, but adds the government is prepared to consider all options to get the legislation passed, including longer hours of debate or extending the spring sitting.