B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)

B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

The B.C. Liberal Party is going to “take some time to look back” at the setbacks of the October election before launching into a leadership contest, interim leader Shirley Bond says.

Meanwhile, the 19-year veteran MLA for Prince George-Valemount is urging Premier John Horgan to continue working with opposition parties on the response to COVID-19 when the B.C. legislature convenes Dec. 7 for a session expected to last no more than two weeks.

The main business of the brief post-election sitting will be voting on spending authority for about $1.4 billion to send out COVID-19 aid payments to individuals and households with income up to $125,000 a year. Speaking reporters in a video conference Nov. 24, a day after being elected interim leader by the 28-member caucus, Bond declined so say if the B.C. Liberals will support payments of up to $1,000 for households and $500 for individuals, whether they have lost income due to the pandemic or not.

MLAs are being sworn in this week for jobs that currently pay $111,000 a year, which would make some of them eligible for the payments that were a key election promise from Horgan. With the province’s deficit already expected to be nearly $13 billion, B.C. Liberals must decide if they will vote against the measure, a formality as they face a 57-seat NDP majority.

They also will consider if they will take the money themselves, a subject Bond expects will generate “vigorous debate” in private.

“We are going to ask for specific details as the issue is presented, and I don’t think it’s something we should expect will simply be marched into the house and marched out the door,” Bond said. “When you’re talking about spending at that magnitude, let me be clear. We want to support British Columbians as well, we want to make sure that resources are provided to families and businesses that needs them, but there needs to be transparency, accountability, and that’s the kind of discussion we’ll have in the caucus room.”

RELATED: B.C. legislature resuming to vote on COVID-19 payments

RELATED: Latest COVID-19 restrictions ‘starting to show results’

On the pandemic response, Bond said the latest business restrictions announced by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s are an example of what the opposition needs to get to work on.

“We have restaurants concerned, we have churches that are concerned, we have live theatre companies that are concerned, and much of that relates to confusion,” Bond said. “This isn’t about criticism of Dr. Henry. We admire the work that she’s done, and certainly [health minister] Adrian Dix has done a capable job. Having said that, we have a role to play. I hope we can do that in a respectful but probing way, and I think you’ll see that emerge in the days ahead.”

Horgan’s cabinet is to be sworn in Nov. 26, as MLAs take their oaths of office, mostly by remote video conference. B.C. Green MLAs Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen were sworn in in person Monday, with strict limits on the number of people in attendance.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
Kamloops RCMP covered the animal with a blanket and dragged it out of the home on a carpet. (Kamloops This Week)
Oh ‘deer’: Bambi breaks into Kamloops home

A deer got trapped into a Kamloops home and had to be escorted out by RCMP

Most Read