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

Vicki Proulx, executive director of the Vernon Winter Carnival Society, stands beneath a lights display the society lit up in Spirit Square Nov. 27, by way of announcing it will be taking over the 2021 downtown light-up event. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival Society lights up downtown square

The society announced it will be taking over next year’s downtown light-up event

Parents are urged to be on alert after a potential child abduction attempt took place near Armstrong Elementary School Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (amsas/neden photo)
Possible child abduction attempt at Armstrong Elementary School prompts warning

A letter from the school’s principal urges parents to be on high alert

Sorrento residents Rebecca and Thomas Goode are creating the Shuswap Holiday Twinkle Trail, a map to festively decorated homes and businesses in the region. (File photo)
Shuswap couple mapping Holiday Twinkle Trail to view Christmas lights

Map project intended to help connect communities, residents over the holidays

Addie Pafiolis with her son, Theo, who died just five days after his birth due to a heart condition in 2017. For the past four years, Addie and her husband Chris have been supporting local families around the holiday season in Theo's memory. (Contributed)
Lake Country couple supporting local families in son’s memory this Christmas

Theo Pafiolis was five days old when he passed away due to a heart condition; now, his parents are supporting others in his name

The Canoe Forest Products plywood plant in Salmon Arm is holding its own. (File photo)
Canoe Forest Products in Salmon Arm holding its own during pandemic

General manager says pandemic has not forced layoffs, still 180 people working

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

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

(Pixabay)
‘We need to be empathetic’; Kelowna support worker speaks out after disabled individual denied haircut

Individual with severe autism denied service at a Kelowna hair salon for not wearing mask

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COLUMN: Anti-maskers’ message misses the mark

Following COVID-19 restrictions now could determine just how happy our holidays are

The Interior Wildfire Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10-15 acres to house a rehab centre for injured and orphaned wildlife like deer and moose calves. (Black Press file photo)
Okanagan group look for property to house wildlife rehab centre

The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10 acres for injured/orphaned animals

Dentice di Frasso, a member of Italian nobility, once owned land in Summerland. (Contributed)
Italian nobility family once lived in Summerland

Dentice di Frasso and his family owned land in the Prairie Valley area

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

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

Most Read