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NEWS RELEASE · 3rd October 2011
Office of Premier
Today’s throne speech opening the fourth session of the 39th Parliament focuses on job creation, building stronger, safer communities and continuing to open up government for British Columbia families.

“In the coming months, we will chart a clear course for British Columbia as we navigate through these challenging economic times,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Our plan is grounded in respect for taxpayers and the need to ensure we don’t leave a legacy of debt for future generations. We have a plan to protect and create jobs across British Columbia, and delivering on Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan will be my central mission.”

Families are at the heart of government’s agenda, and the Province will be introducing changes to ensure British Columbia families feel supported and safe in their communities. The speech from the throne outlines the following important initiatives to benefit families:

· The introduction of a new provincial statutory holiday Family Day, on the third Monday of every February, commencing in 2013, in recognition of the time employers will need to adjust to this new holiday.

·New legislation to modernize our education system to ensure our teachers have the skills and support necessary to provide children with the right skills for a prosperous future.

·New legislation to modernize the BC College of Teachers.

·The government will also bring forward legislation in this session to create a streamlined process for traffic-fine violations that resolves disputes and frees up provincial court time.

·A request to permit television cameras and radio recording devices in trials of those accused of participating in the Vancouver riot.

·The government will introduce the new Family Law Act during this session, to promote early resolution of family law problems.

·To add capacity to the courts, government will introduce legislation to relax restrictions that limit the service time of senior part-time judges.

·A commitment to work with non-profit groups to find new and innovative ways to provide services for the most vulnerable in our society.

· Anti-bullying policies in our schools will be expanded to include a comprehensive training regime, on-line reporting tools and advanced threat assessment tools and protocols.

· Government will host a summit on social innovation in November with innovative non-profit organizations.

“As we face challenges together, it’s important to fully engage British Columbians in discussion. We’ve already made progress in talking directly to the public and will soon introduce a new website that allows for real two-way dialogue,” said Premier Clark.

A balanced budget remains government’s goal for 2013-14, and consultations are underway with British Columbians on how to ensure a competitive tax environment to allow the economy to grow.

The throne speech highlights a number of initiatives to defend and create jobs, keep British Columbia on a sound economic foundation, and continue to promote an open government agenda:

·A review of the operations of all Crown corporations to begin in January, 2012.

·A Major Investments Office will be created to work with investors to take projects on paper and make them a reality.

·A Jobs and Investment Board will be up and running in 50 days to hold government’s feet to the fire, clearing the way for job creation while continuing to monitor key economic and social indicators.

·The government is investing $24 million across our natural resource ministries over two years in order to eliminate the backlog in key authorizations that are preventing projects from proceeding.

·Government will introduce legislation to create an office of the Municipal Auditor General.

·Government will introduce changes to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

·Launch of new online tools and a dedicated website to enhance public engagement opportunities with citizens

“Our government is setting an ambitious course during challenging economic times. We look forward to working with British Columbians to ensure we are maximizing our opportunities to defend and create jobs and protect families in British Columbia,” concluded Premier Clark.