Legislative Reports: British Columbia

By MacAlpine, Wynne | Canadian Parliamentary Review, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

Legislative Reports: British Columbia


MacAlpine, Wynne, Canadian Parliamentary Review


The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia met for a special sitting on December 7, 2000, in order to bring forward the second Supplementary Estimates in British Columbia's history. The BC Legislature introduced, debated and passed its first Supplementary Estimates at a special sitting on September 17, 2000. The purpose of the first special sitting was to introduce Bill 33, the Supply Act, 2000-2001 (Supplementary), which authorized additional provincial funding for hospitals expenditures and the recruitment and retaining of doctors in rural and small urban communities, and allocated $70 million in restored Canadian Health and Social Transfer funding to the Ministry of Health. The most recent sitting was called to introduce Bill 34, Supply Act, 2000-2001 (Supplementary No. 2), which authorized additional provincial funding of $212 million for the Ministry of Health.

These special sittings were called in order to reduce the use of Special Warrants, a goal established in the government's reformed budget planning and estimate debate process and reflected in the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act, which came into force on July 6, 2000.

New Deputy Speaker

During the special sitting on December 7, Dennis Streifel, MLA, the NDP member for Mission-Kent, was elected Deputy Speaker. He replaces the Tim Stevenson, MLA, who became Minister of Employment and Investment in November.

Legislative Committees

The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, which, in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act, was struck in July 2000 to analyse and make recommendations with respect to the pre-budget consultation paper prepared by the Minister of Finance, deposited its final report with the Clerk of the House on December 27, 2000.

The Committee fulfilled its mandate to consult widely with British Columbians on budgetary and fiscal policy options and priorities for the upcoming provincial budget by publishing a call for submissions and holding 14 public hearings at locations throughout BC during the month of November. Its report surveys the views of 477 participating individuals and organizations on the matters of fiscal policy; provincial deficit and debt; taxation; streamlining and privatization; funding for various sectors, including health, education and training, and the social, environmental and justice sectors; labour relations and employment; and matters relating to the public service, agriculture and food, transportation and highways, arts, heritage and culture, sport and recreation, the resource and business sectors, and local government. In brief, the Committee discerned two broad streams of opinion: one that emphasized the need to enhance BC's competitive position and strengthen the provincial economy through tax cuts, regulatory streamlining and other measures, and one that emphasized the need for sustained public spending to achieve the Province's social and economic objectives. …

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