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

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Victoria’s deaf community advocates for different sign languages to be recognized on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Volunteers gather in Metchosin for B.C.’s 1st ever search and rescue joint training

Around 200 volunteers came out for the three-day training program

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

United Way asks Victoria to share local love

2018 campaign aims to raise another $5M

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read