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

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)
BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery Education Society, with the “first of its kind” Adult Residential Substance Use and Supportive Recovery Facility Homelessness Count. It was done around the time of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (March 3 to 4, 2020) to complement the count. (Photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey homeless, recovery counts show need for long-term solutions

This was the first time recovery, substance use facilities were included in the count

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read