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

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

Vehicles involved crashes in Oak Bay from 2019. (ICBC Screenshot)
A crash on Foul Bay Road near Carnarvon Street in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Foul Bay Road a corridor of crashes in 2019

Last year, 63 crashes in Oak Bay involved vehicles

A seabin is able to intercept and collect floating debris in calm bodies of water. This is one of two installed in the North Saanich Marina by a group of local businesses thanks to the proceeds from Blue Friday sales in 2019. (Provided by Maya Bellay)
Blue Friday to support more trash skimmers in Greater Victoria waters

Seabins can collect up to one-and-a-half tons of floating debris per year

An economic recovery plan in progress since April offers various recommendations for the region to overcome the impacts of COVID-19. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Greater Victoria economic ‘reboot’ plan tackles impacts of COVID-19

Newly-formed task force looks at various sectors, industries

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Most Read