Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall

Mungall blasts throne speech

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall denounced Tuesday’s throne speech in the BC legislature as “one of the most partisan I’ve ever heard.”

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall is denouncing Tuesday’s throne speech in the BC legislature as “one of the most partisan I’ve ever heard.”

Mungall said the speech, in which the Liberal government laid out its agenda for the coming session, included a “direct swipe” at the NDP on mining.

“We have been clear that we believe environmental standards must be met and we need to ensure our mining operations are viable and sustainable. To suggest we don’t support mining was just pure rhetoric. We saw that kind of approach woven through the entire speech.”

Mungall also said the speech contained “grand claims” about a prosperity fund from liquefied natural gas, but no money yet set aside. Despite missed targets for creating an LNG industry in BC, the government still has “a lot of eggs in that basket.”

“Whether you support the industry developing or not, this government has completely mismanaged the file to the point where nothing is happening on it. But Christy Clark reassures us that by moving India and China away from coal burning facilities to LNG facilities is the cleanest, greenest answer. I can’t believe how ridiculous that is. It’s still a fossil fuel.”

The speech restated the government’s intention to implement recommendations from former deputy minister Bob Plecas to hire more child protection social workers and modernize the Ministry of Children and Family Development. But Mungall said that renewed commitment was “unfortunate” given the criticism Plecas’ report has received from First Nations leaders and children’s advocates.

Nor was there anything meaningful in the speech around poverty or affordable housing, she said.

“We didn’t even hear about people with disabilities being addressed. They weren’t mentioned. The fact the premier doesn’t think that is worth mentioning goes to show you where her priorities are.”

Mungall said despite a lot of discussion in recent months about income assistance rates being increased, it wasn’t addressed in the throne speech. She was also disappointed that the speech didn’t talk about reducing MSP rates for single parents, although she held out hope that both might be part of the provincial budget.

She said the government has a “hardline Harper-esque approach to spending” despite the results of the last federal election.

On the positive side, Mungall said a new tax credit for farmers who donate to food banks is “long overdue.” In her former role as co-ordinator of the Nelson Food Cupboard, she worked with many farmers who regularly contributed their produce.

— With files from Tom Fletcher, Black Press

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