Premier John Horgan and a handful of MLAs attend in person for the first COVID-19 sitting of the B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (Hansard TV)

Premier John Horgan and a handful of MLAs attend in person for the first COVID-19 sitting of the B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. legislature resumes Dec. 7 to vote on COVID-19 payments

MLAs, cabinet to be sworn in next week, John Horgan says

The B.C. government will be officially back up and running next week with the swearing-in of new MLAs and the appointment of new cabinet ministers for the NDP majority government.

Premier John Horgan said the schedule allows a legislature session to begin Dec. 7, the main business being to get spending authorization for his promised round of pandemic relief payments. MLAs are to be sworn in Tuesday, Nov. 24 and cabinet ministers Nov. 26, in virtual ceremonies with Lt. Gov. Janet Austin.

The session will start with “a brief throne speech, talking about of course the fundamental issues of how do we as a community, how do we as a province, address the challenges of COVID-19.”

A small number of MLAs will be available in person to vote on borrowing another $1.4 billion to pay most households $1,000 and individuals $500, a promise made by Horgan in the recent election campaign to counter the B.C. Liberal offer of suspending provincial sales tax for a year.

RELATED: B.C. deficit $12.8 billion three months into pandemic

RELATED: B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic Nov. 18

Horgan stopped short of promising payments in time for Christmas, saying only that it is possible if the measure passes the legislature quickly. The plan is to use the records of B.C.’s COVID-19 relief payments sent out this spring, and the province’s income tax records to see who is eligible for full or partial payment, without an application process.

“And then we will distribute those dollars by direct deposit, is the intention,” Horgan said.

The payments would be added to B.C.’s ballooning deficit, last forecast to be headed towards $12.8 billion for the fiscal year that ends in March 2021.

In her final quarterly budget report in September, former finance minister Carole James cautioned that B.C.’s economic performance depends on many factors outside its control, including a second wave of coronavirus that is now evident across Canada and around the world.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)
Surrey mayor taking it on the chin during budget public hearing

So far, he’s cut five callers off during Monday’s virtual meeting

A criminal trial for Robert Boule (inset), the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, is to begin in August 2021, following a failed application to strike down immigration-act provisions that he is charged under. (Photo courtesy of The Northern Light newspaper)
Blaine inn owner’s challenge of immigration act fails

Robert Boule’s trial on human-smuggling charges set to begin August 2021

Surrey Little Theatre is located on 184th Street at Fraser Highway. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey Little Theatre, Langley Players look to merge as single company at 200th Street theatre

A ‘really exciting’ development for the volunteer-run theatre companies

The entrance at Fleetwood Villa in Surrey. (Photo: dignified.ca)
Fleetwood Villa resident tests positive for COVID-19, leading to ‘outbreak’ at facility

Fraser Health says it’s ‘critically important’ for people in the region to use COVID-19 assessment tool

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

The first of two earthquakes near Alaska on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, is shown in blue. (USGS)
No tsunami risk after two earthquakes near Alaska

Both earthquakes hit near the U.S. state on Dec. 1

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Most Read