British Columbia

By Plant, Byron | Canadian Parliamentary Review, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

British Columbia


Plant, Byron, Canadian Parliamentary Review


Although the Legislative Assembly adjourned its spring sitting on June 3, 2010, several notable events have taken place.

HST Initiative Petition

This summer, the first citizen's initiative petition was completed under the Recall and Initiative Act. The initiative, led by former Premier William (Bill) Vander Zalm, proposed new legislation to extinguish the 12 percent harmonized sales tax, which came into effect on July 1, 2010. Following ratification by the Acting Chief Electoral Officer, the initiative petition and draft bill were referred on August 20 to the all-party Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives. The legislation provided the Committee with a mandate to recommend one of two options: a) table a report recommending that the draft bill be introduced into the House at the earliest practicable opportunity, or b) refer the initiative petition and draft bill to the Chief Electoral Officer for a province-wide initiative vote.

The Legislative Initiatives Committee met twice in September before referring the petition and draft bill to the Chief Electoral Officer for a province-wide initiative vote. Under the Recall and Initiative Act, a threshold of at least 50 percent of voters in two- thirds of all electoral districts is required for an initiative vote to pass. However, Premier Gordon Campbell subsequently announced that the government would move to repeal the HST by a simple majority vote. The initiative vote is scheduled to occur on a date set by the statute, September 24, 2011.

Committee Activities

The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services has been active in recent months. Under its mandate, the Finance Committee held public consultations in September and October as part of the annual budget consultation process. These included public hearings in 14 communities and three videoconferencing hearings covering an additional nine communities. Written and online survey submissions were also accepted, with public input totalling 1,300 responses. The Committee's report was released on November 12, 2010.

On November 3, the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth issued a report on its activities during the current Parliament. …

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