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BC to move ahead with LNG, other priorities: throne speech

A thin British Columbia throne speech delivered today focused on controlling government spending and building the province's economy.

Delivered by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, the 11-page speech laid out Premier Christy Clark's government's agenda for the coming year. With a focus on fiscal responsibility and economic growth, it picked up themes familiar from last year's election campaign and Clark's time as BC Liberal Party leader.

The province will continue to pursue liquified natural gas opportunities in hopes of creating 100,000 new jobs, establishing a prosperity fund and eliminating the provincial debt, the speech said. The government will present a framework for LNG this year that includes taxation, environmental actions and First Nations benefits, it said.

It also argued, as Clark recently has, that exporting LNG to China will help reduce global carbon emissions. "This is chiefly because they rely on coal to generate power," it said. "By switching even a small percentage of that to the world's cleanest-burning non-renewable resource, China could reduce emissions by over 90 megatons per year. That is more than our total provincial emissions in a year and a half."

The government will also proceed with a formal apology to the Chinese community, creating a 10-year skills training plan and making a 10-year transportation plan. It will move ahead with changes to liquor laws, creating a strategy to reduce violence against women and passing a Water Sustainability Act after four years of consultations.

The speech quoted John F. Kennedy's "We choose to go to the moon" speech and the BC Liberal Party's campaign slogan, "A strong economy. A secure tomorrow."

Guests sitting in the legislature included former Liberal MLAs Pat Bell, Ben Stewart and Blair Lekstrom, BC Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker, BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair and former NDP MLA and party president Moe Sihota.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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