British Columbia

Throne speech for B.C.'s new NDP government set for Sept. 8

Thursday brought two announcements on B.C.'s political scene that put this fall's legislative session into sharper focus.

B.C. Liberals name their critics for the legislative session

An exterior view of the British Columbia Legislature is shown in Victoria, B.C., on August 26, 2011. (The Canadian Press / Darryl Dyck)

Two announcements Thursday on B.C.'s political scene put this fall's legislative session into sharper focus.

The legislature will reconvene Sept. 8, seven weeks after John Horgan and the NDP were sworn into office.

The current legislative session will officially discontinue at that time, and a new session, beginning with a speech from the throne, will take place at 2 p.m. PT. 

It will cap off a historic series of constitutional procedures, which began on May 9 — when B.C.'s election ended with the governing Liberals one seat short of a majority — and climaxed 52 days later when the Liberals lost a non-confidence vote and then-premier Christy Clark offered her resignation. 

The speech from the throne by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon is expected to be her last, as her five-year term is set to expire in October.

A new legislative session will also bring the election of a new Speaker. However, the intrigue over who will take the position has declined with the decision last week by Clark to resign as both Liberal leader and MLA for Kelowna West.

That gives the NDP and Green Party a two-vote margin in B.C.'s Legislature, enough to avoid ties on party-line votes. 

A date for a new budget has not been announced, but traditionally provincial budgets are presented the Tuesday following a throne speech. 

Liberals name shadow cabinet

The Liberals also presented their shadow cabinet on Thursday, the first time they have done so in more than 16 years.

"We have an incredibly strong and experienced team in place to hold the NDP to account," said interim leader Rich Coleman in a statement. 

The critic positions, some of them shared between two people, ensure that all members of the Liberal caucus will have a a position. 

High-profile roles include Andrew Wilkinson as attorney general critic, Shirley Bond and Tracy Redies as finance critics, and Mike Bernier and Joan Isaacs as health critics. 

Mike de Jong will keep his role as house leader, Jackie Tegart will be caucus chair and Eric Foster will serve as whip.