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Five new additions to our BC Liberal newsreel

This weekend's Tyee cover story, "BC Liberals: The Newsreel," is a timeline that looks back at some of the accomplishments, blunders and conflicts of the Liberals' 12 long years in office. By no means scientific or comprehensive, we asked readers and our wider Tyee community to add their suggestions for new stops on the Liberal government's timeline, and promised to add the top five.

Without further ado, here are the five we chose:

B.C. Labour Overhaul "Unconstitutional" -- June 2007
Suggested by Tom Sandborn, Tyee labour reporter

The Supreme Court of Canada overturns several restrictions on bargaining rights enacted in the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29). The law had legitimated privatization, contracting out, layoffs and led to plummeting health care across the province. The Court rules that several sections violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protections of freedom of assembly "either by disregarding past processes of collective bargaining, by pre-emptively undermining future processes of collective bargaining, or both."

Clearing the Way for "Significant Projects" -- December 2003
Suggested by commenter lynn

The government secures Royal Assent to Bill 75, the Significant Projects Streamlining Act. The new Act empowers cabinet to designate any development proposal as "significant" and thereby override any "constraint… that… may impede or otherwise interfere with the completion or operations of the project." The Act applies to every provincial or municipal government or public agency; constraints that may be swept aside include local bylaws, zoning or development plans. The Act trumps all other provincial legislation except the Environmental Assessment Act and Agricultural Land Commission Act. Local governments, including those of Richmond and Burnaby, object that the Act's "autocratic powers… would… undermine… cohesive Regional/Municipal land use planning and… public safety protection."

BC Wins the Games -- July 2003
Suggested by Bob Mackin, Tyee freelance reporter who covered the 2010 Olympics extensively

The International Olympic Committee accepts Vancouver-Whistler's bid -- strongly backed by the Liberal provincial government -- to host the 2010 Winter Games. The Games become a priority focus for the Campbell government, drawing resources from scores of provincial agencies struggling to adjust to cutbacks in other mandated areas of responsibility. The province would eventually spend an estimated $925 million on the Games for venue construction, infrastructure improvements, security, advertising and cultural events.

Hydro Ordered to Buy Private Power -- November 2002
Suggested by commenter Hugh

The government announces a BC Energy Plan that includes a requirement that BC Hydro acquire future supplies of renewable electricity from private Independent Power Producers. Over the next decade, the provincial Crown utility will commit tens of millions of dollars to IPP power purchases at prices significantly higher than its own costs of production from large hydroelectric projects constructed in the 1960s and '70s without modern environmental and social impact assessments or mitigation costs. For more on this story, see Colleen Kimmett's recent story summarizing the rise of IPPs in B.C.

"The biggest roll back of worker rights in Canadian history" -- January 2002
Suggested by Tom Sandborn, Tyee labour reporter

Bill 29, hustled through the legislature in three days and passed as the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act on Jan. 27, dramatically alters the public sector collective bargaining landscape. The Act unilaterally throws out parts of already negotiated contracts, rewrites other parts (including in areas such as job security and contracting-out), and forbids future negotiations from revisiting the changes. Sauder School of Business professor emeritus Mark Thompson calls the legislative broadside, aimed mainly at health workers but applying to other government sectors as well, "the biggest roll back of worker rights in Canadian history."

Tyee contributing editor Chris Wood is a widely published journalist. Find his previous articles published on The Tyee here.

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