Throne Speeches, by their very nature, are short on detail. They are used by the government of the day to give a glimpse ahead and put a positive spin on the coming year.
All things change in an election year, and the Throne Speech is not immune to those pressures.
The B.C. Liberals used the Throne Speech last week to focus mostly on one issue, the development of liquified natural gas and the revenues it could bring to help the province meet its financial commitments well into the future.
The opposition cried foul, saying the government failed to address so many other issues facing British Columbians. Fair enough, but the NDP knows, or should know, the inherent lack of depth in Throne Speeches and the government’s tendency to paint broad strokes in what’s purposely a vague document.
However, as stated, this is an election year, so you can toss decorum and basic understanding of Throne Speeches out the window.
The real meat of what a government intends to do in the coming year is in the budget, which was delivered today (The NEWS has two reporters in the Legislature today and we invite you to read our full coverage in Thursday’s paper).
As for the Throne Speech, we applaud the B.C. Liberals for being cautious about making grandiose and expensive promises in an economic climate that is fragile, at best.
Our basic understanding of government finances — any finances, really — is that there are two sides to figures out: revenue and expenses. Despite what must have been big-time pressure to make bold promises with an election only three months away, the B.C. Liberals were careful not to make large spending commitments. That’s the expenses side.
They also brought forward a new revenue idea for B.C. that could help our children and their children after that — a liquefied natural gas fund. Clearly, the B.C. Liberals looked to Alberta for inspiration, and why not?
These resources belong to the people of B.C. It’s the government’s job to see they are managed responsibly, which includes where the revenue goes, and the Throne Speech did just that in regards to natural gas.
— Editorial by John Harding