British Columbia·Live

B.C.'s NDP government to deliver throne speech at 2 p.m. PT today

The B.C. Legislature returns today for the first time since the confidence vote and the NDP government will deliver its first throne speech.

Speech will be followed by government's budget update Monday

Following an election that didn't produce a clear winner and months of uncertainty, British Columbia's New Democrat government — the first in 16 years — tables a throne speech today outlining its political vision.

Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Carole James says the minority NDP will walk into the legislature promising to make life better for B.C. residents after 16 years of Liberal rule.

"You'll see a throne speech that will reflect our commitment to the people of this province which will put them first," she said.

James says the days since the May election have been a whirlwind but the government intends to make good on its promises, including banning corporate and union donations to political parties and cutting — and eventually eliminating — medical services premiums.

Liberals will be 'professional'

The Liberals had fallen one seat short of a majority in the 87 seat legislature, prompting the NDP and Greens to reach an agreement that ousted the Liberals in a non-confidence vote, paving the way for a minority NDP government under Premier John Horgan.

Former Premier Christy Clark heightened the political drama with a failed attempt to force a new election before resigning as Liberal leader and the MLA for Kelowna West.

Today, the 42 MLA opposition caucus will be led by interim leader Rich Coleman who says "you can expect we will be professional."

The party is set to pick a permanent replacement in February, but no candidates have come forward yet.

Greens make their own stamp

Green Leader Andrew Weaver says he expects the NDP-Green voting agreement to hold indefinitely despite differences that are bound to arise.

But his party will also be putting forward legislation of their own this session — including new rules on ride-hailing.

"We know there is public support for ride sharing," he said. "We will just make sure when we bring it in, it will bring in public support and make it something the NDP could support"

In addition to the throne speech Friday afternoon, the legislature will vote for a speaker Friday morning. The government will back up the throne speech with an updated budget Monday.

With files from Richard Zussman and the Canadian Press