British Columbia·Analysis

30 throne speech pledges by the B.C. Liberals that weren't in their election platform

Less than a third of the initiatives highlighted in the throne speech were campaigned on by the B.C. Liberals in the last election.

Government release highlighted 48 different initiatives but the party campaigned on less than a third of them

Christy Clark said her party's throne speech would incorporate the best elements of the NDP and Green party platforms, as well as its own. (The Canadian Press)

For the last week, premier Christy Clark said her party's throne speech would not be just things the B.C. Liberals campaigned on in last month's provincial election, but a document that included "the best ideas from all parties."

"I'm hopeful that in the interest of stability we can find a way for everybody to vote for it," she said on Wednesday

An analysis of the government's news release on the throne speech, which you can read here, bears that out. 

We looked at all 48 initiatives it highlighted and checked the B.C. Liberals election platform.

In total, 30 of the 48 throne speech initiatives outlined in the government news release were nowhere to be found in the Liberal election platform.

The 30 new promises

1. A ban on corporate and union political donations

2. A maximum donation limit for individuals. 

(As opposed to the platform: "Commission an independent [panel] to review proposals on political fundraising reform ... and make recommendations to improve the system.")

3. A referendum on electoral reform.

4. Strengthen lobbyist legislation and regulations.

5. $1 billion over the next four years to create 60,000 new childcare spaces.

6. Cover an additional 150,000 children with full or partial child-care subsidies.

(As opposed to the platform: "Create 5,000 new child care spaces in 2017, with a goal of up to 13,000 spaces by 2020 [and] invest $120 million each year for [subsidies] that helps 20,000 B.C. families ... each month.")

7. Increase the number of early childhood educators.

8. Explore partnerships with school districts for new child-care spaces at elementary schools.

9. A new provincewide poverty reduction strategy.

10. $100 per month increase to social assistance rates.

11. Index annual disability assistance increases to the Consumer Price Index.

(As opposed to the platform: "Provide an additional $199 million to increase the assistance rates for about 100,000 people with disabilities by $50/month.")

12. Basic income support for youth aged 18 to 24 transitioning out of care.

13. Increase legal aid funding by 25 per cent.

14. Increase the number of RCMP officers dedicated to drug enforcement by 30 per cent.

15. Create a new minister of state for mental health, addiction and recovery.

16. Build a new centre for mental health and addictions in Surrey.

(As opposed to the platform: "Confirm $165 million for youth mental health needs and substance abuse issues.")

17. Ensure clear daily care-hour standards. 

18. Establish a Royal Commission on Education. 

19. End the referendum requirement for new transit revenue sources.

20. Conduct feasibility studies to connect the Lower Mainland and North Shore by transit and light rail.

The government says it will now move to scrap the tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges, instead of their original election promise to cap the amount people pay annually at $500.

21. "Eliminate tolls on the Port Mann Bridge, work with TransLink to eliminate tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge and expedite the replacement of the Patullo Bridge."

(As opposed to the platform: "Capping bridge tolls at $500 annually for commuters.")

22. Fully fund adult basic education and ESL programs. 

23. Double B.C. Arts Council funding.

24. Build 50,000 new units over 10 years as part of a new rent-to-own program. 

25.  Limiting renovictions and prohibit landlords from skirting rent-control protections.

26. Host a housing summit, with a focus on real estate speculation. 

27. Double the Rural Economic Dividend. 

28. Raise the carbon tax by $5 per tonne per year to $50 a tonne by 2022.

29. For all future carbon tax increases, the PST would be reduced by a corresponding amount.

(As opposed to the platform: "Maintain the carbon tax freeze until 2021, while other Canadian provinces catch up to our $30/tonne carbon tax.")

30. $50 million expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure

The B.C. Liberals are committing $50 million to build 4,321 new charging stations over the next five years. (David Donnelly/CBC)

14 promises that were in their platform

Not everything in the throne speech was new. Here were the things explicitly promised by the B.C. Liberals in their platform that were highlighted in the throne speech:

1. Expand and build on the Single Parent Employment Initiative.

2. Fully implement Grand Chief Ed John's recommendations in the Report on Indigenous Child Welfare.

3. Training 112 more family doctors, bringing the total to 400.

4. 500 more residential care beds to support seniors.

5. Accelerate immediate access to MRIs, hip and knee operations.

6. Double the Home Renovation Tax Credit and create a new respite tax credit

7. "Work to fully eliminate MSP for B.C. families."

8. Increase accessibility requirements on new construction. 

9. Increase the minimum number of accessible suites in multi-unit residential buildings. 

10. Work to build light rail on southern Vancouver Island and a passenger ferry connection between Vancouver and Nanaimo.

11. Work with local governments and the private sector to increase housing supply, particularly along transit lines and corridors.

12. Work to open eight new mines by 2022 and invest $18 million to improve regulation.

13. Bring an additional 91,000 hectares of agricultural land into production by 2020.

14. Move forward with the Site C dam.

The Site C dam is estimated to cost approximately $9 billion if built. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Four in the middle

Finally, there were four initiatives highlighted in the throne speech that were also in the Liberal platform — but with stronger language in the throne speech.

1. "Immediate action to expand public transit in Metro Vancouver, including the Broadway corridor and Surrey LRT."

(As opposed to the platform: "Match the federal government's $2.2 billion investment in Metro Vancouver transit projects over 11 years. Negotiate with all three levels of government on project specifics, with the Surrey LRT Project and the Broadway Line our two top priorities. Continue to work constructively with the Mayor's Council to move forward on their 10-year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transportation.")

The new Evergreen Line SkyTrain makes its way over North Road and Cottonwood Avenue. (David Horemans/CBC)

2. "Work with our neighbours in Washington State on high-speed rail between Vancouver and Seattle."

(As opposed to the platform: "Supporting Washington's State Governor as he explores improved transportation links between the tech hubs of Seattle and Vancouver.")

3. "Convene an all-party committee for extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders on ride sharing."

(As opposed to the platform: "Introduce legislation to enable ride-sharing companies to operate by December 2017.")

4. "$50 million more for B.C. Parks and double the number of conservation officers."

(As opposed to the platform: "Add $26 million over three years in base funding ... adding new park rangers throughout the province.")