Premier John Horgan speaks to Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler, Sept. 14, 2018. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Premier calls for ideas for protecting against B.C. floods, wildfires

John Horgan promotes voting reform to B.C. municipal leaders

Premier John Horgan used his speech to B.C. municipal leaders Friday to pitch a ‘yes’ vote in the coming referendum on electoral reform, while steering clear of his government’s controversial tax policies.

Horgan was warmly received by Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates in Whistler, promising to be “a partner, not a senior partner” as B.C. works on ways to protect communities from wildfires. The second straight summer of flooding and widespread fires means a new approach is needed, and he pleaded with local politicians to share their ideas as the government prepares its next budget.

Horgan described flying up and down the lower Fraser River during the flood threat this spring, with local opposition MLAs. He pledged to tackle the hugely expensive work needed to strengthen flood control and helping communities reduce their interface forest fire risk.

“This is not another review, we need your ideas,” Horgan said. “We need a call to action.”

RELATED: B.C. communities call for wildfire prevention help

RELATED: Infrastructure fund improved for B.C. communities

Horgan described his evolution on proportional representation, which he opposed in 2005 and now promotes as mail-in ballots are prepared for a November vote.

After four years in opposition to “a government that was dismissive of everything I brought forward,” he supported proportional representation in 2009 and is now promoting it in cooperation with the B.C. Green Party.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson described the premier’s speech as a rehash of well-known policies of the minority NDP government, and took issue with Horgan’s theme of a new, more co-operative approach to governing.

The referendum has been dealt with in a “high-handed” manner, with no maps and little time for people to consider the options, Wilkinson said.

An improved federal-provincial infrastructure fund for B.C. communities doesn’t make up for a huge tax increase faced by municipalities and businesses next year due to the NDP government’s payroll tax for health care, he said.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver reiterated his opposition to a $400-a-year rebate for renters, in spite of a potential 4.5 per cent rent increase allowed under provincial legislation. Handing out money to renters only allows landlords to raise rents when they might not otherwise, Weaver said.

a>
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Victoria People’s Party candidate says campaign signs stolen around city

PPC candidate Alyson Culbert says she finds theft ‘disturbing’

Sidney could take additional action around speculation tax

Council to consider steps later this fall after staff review of provincial statistics

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Andrew Berry trial nears end, Victoria joins tree-planting pledge and more

Three second-half goals lead Cavalry over Victoria’s Pacific FC

Cavalry FC downed Pacific FC 4-1 on Sunday in Canadian Premiere League action

Island music trivia tournament a hit on World Alzheimer’s Day

More than $13,000 raised by people naming that tune

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Most Read