The B.C. government's throne speech Tuesday proved a good opportunity for political rivals in Langley to butt heads.
The throne speech was read by Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon, but is an expression of the direction of the government of Liberal Premier Christy Clark.
The biggest announcement in the throne speech was the planned liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals for Kitimat, along with a Prosperity Fund to be financed by royalties paid to the government.
The speech said it will create 39,000 new full time jobs over nine years of construction, and up to 75,000 new jobs once everything is up and running around 2020.
The proposed Prosperity Fund could pay for new education spending or eliminate the provincial sales tax, according to the speech.
Other items mentioned in the throne speech include:
. Investment in skills and trades training
. Plans to boost agriculture
. Increased trade with Asia, especially China and India
. Saving money in health care through bulk drug purchasing
What wasn't mentioned is on the mind of Andrew Mercier, NDP candidate for the Langley riding.
"There's nothing there for the film industry," Mercier said.
The film industry has been in
crisis in recent months as productions move to other provinces or countries with cheaper costs.
There are few concrete plans in the budget, Mercier said.
"The Liberals, they're hinting at stuff," said Mercier.
The emphasis on LNG production and revenues was criticized by both Mercier and Fort Langley-Aldergrove candidate Shane Dyson.
"I think to bet the entire farm on something that hasn't happened yet is absurd," said Mercier.
He noted that the Prosperity Fund isn't even planned to start until 2017 - two provincial elections from now.
"If it were a book, it would be filed beside Brave New World in the library," said Dyson. "It's a look into the distant future."
Assumptions about revenues seven years in the future are just guesses, Dyson said.
He did have kind words about plans for a seniors advocate and work to combat bullying, however.
While the NDP is openly skeptical about the amount of money that could be generated by the LNG projects in northern B.C., the party does not oppose the idea in general.
Langley MLA Mary Polak said the government has to look towards the future to achieve its goals.
She compared the current plans for LNG to plans for increased trade with Asia that go back to 2001, saying the NDP was skeptical of that plan as well.
Those trade missions and infrastructure projects have now changed B.C.'s trading patterns from one in which more than 70 per cent of goods went to the U.S., to one in which about 43 per cent of goods each go to the U.S. and Asia.
About agriculture, Polak noted that trade with Asia will be a big part of boosting that industry.
"It's another big opportunity for us as we use these corridors we've built," she said.
Locally, the speech talked about projects that will change local highways, including the plan to rebuild the George Massey Tunnel.
The BC Conservatives were also scathing about the government's LNG plan.
"The premier got a bit ahead of herself when it comes to those revenues," said John Cummins, the party leader who is running in the Langley riding.
He is also concerned about the fact that B.C. has been losing people to intra-provincial migration, rather than gaining, something that wasn't mentioned in the speech.
The next provincial election will be held on May 14.
A provincial budget will be tabled next week in the provincial legislature.
@ Copyright 2013