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«The Honourable Iona Campagnolo Lieutenant-Governor — at the — Opening of the Third Session, Thirty-Eighth Parliament — of the — Province of ...»

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SPEECH FROM THE THRONE

The Honourable Iona Campagnolo

Lieutenant-Governor

— at the —

Opening of the Third Session,

Thirty-Eighth Parliament

— of the —

Province of British Columbia

February 13, 2007

I wish to recognize those in attendance

including former Lieutenant-Governor, the

Honourable Garde Gardom.

Once again I have the great privilege of addressing

you as we begin a new session of the Parliament of

British Columbia.

It is important we remember and honour British Columbians who have passed away since this Assembly last convened.

All British Columbians join the Nisga’a people in sadness at the loss of their Chief of Chiefs, Dr. Frank Calder.

We mourn the passing of former members of this Assembly, Val Anderson, Ray Williston, and Peter Hyndman.

Our communities were strengthened and built by former mayors we lost this year: 17-term Prince Rupert Mayor Peter Lester, Marilyn Baker of the District of North Vancouver, Doug Drummond of Burnaby, Ken Hill of Esquimalt, and Jack Loucks of North Vancouver City.

We mourn the loss of Hereditary Chief Jerry Jack of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation, Grand Chief Peter C. James of the Katzie First Nation, and Chief Roy Mussell of the Skwah Band of the Sto-lo Nation.

—3— Our arts community lost friends with the passing of coastal painter E.J. Hughes, filmmaker Daryl Duke, actor and playwright Mavor Moore, poet Max Plater, entertainer Fran Dowie, and volunteers Ernie Fladell and Reva Lander.

The world of journalism lost the bylines of Elizabeth Aird and Denny Boyd.

We lost British Columbians who showed us that individuals can make a difference: Ken Willoughby, who raised awareness about prostate cancer; John Turvey, who helped the residents in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside; and Yung Quon Yu, president of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver.

We are saddened by the loss of former Supreme Court Justice John Caldwell Cowan, former deputy minister Stanley Paul Dubas, and Thomas Kunito Shoyama, one of Canada’s most respected civil servants.

We remember our dedicated members of the public service who passed away in the last year: Wilma E.

Blanchard, Roberta Campbell, Alice Chu, Allan Clayton, Brenda C. Code, Jeanne L. Cressey, Lyndon Cross, Jane Fernandez, Rita Foreman, Craig William Gibson, Karen Hoyseth, Mary C. Hudson, Debbie Hunt, Andrea LaCasse, Theresa Lewis, Douglas W. McKay, Theresa M. Marsolais, Richard Martin, Roger Motut, Parminder Nagra, Rosetta Neal, Nurani Rahemtulla, Joy E. Rushton, Susan H. Schneider, John W. Schildroth, John Schindel, Donna Sheardown, Barbara Sheldan, Lynne Webb, and Larry Wells.

—4— We were also reminded of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan in mourning the loss of Corporal Andrew James Eykelenboom of Comox and Bombardier Myles Mansell of Victoria.

Tragedy touched us and took from us too soon Gerald Foisy and ShirleyRosette of 108 Mile House in the sinking of the Queen of the North, and Bob Newcombe, Doug Erickson, and paramedics Shawn Currier and Kim Weitzel in the Sullivan Mine tragedy. All are remembered with respect.

Over the last five years British Columbians have marshalled their effort and energy to turn the province into an economic powerhouse and a centre for social innovation and improvement.

Self confidence and optimism have created a legacy of leadership rooted in the power of individual aspiration and the potency of common purpose.

Today we live in a world redefined by enormous shifts in our demographic, economic, and environmental makeup.

At the heart of the government’s agenda lies this simple question: What can we do today to secure the future for our children and grandchildren?

This is a time for partnership not partisanship, for boldness not trepidation, for action not procrastination.

—5— British Columbians accomplish what we set our minds to do. We worked together to rebuild our financial foundation. Today, the economy is on track and, for the first time since 1983, we have regained a triple-A credit rating.

Over the last five years British Columbia has led the nation in job growth. The Conference Board of Canada ranks our health system as the best in Canada. Our students are outperforming their counterparts in international assessments.

We have worked together to preserve vast areas of wilderness, to create the Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy, and to pioneer ecosystem-based management.

The Conservation Investment and Incentives Initiative creates a $120-million partnership to build economic development and conservation programs with First Nations in valuable coastal rainforests.

Last year’s unprecedented labour agreements are widely recognized as a singular feat of leadership.

Public sector workers worked with government to find solutions that were constructive, flexible, and innovative. There have been fewer strikes and lockouts due to labour disputes in B.C. over the past four years than at any time on record.

The precedent-setting Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement with Alberta will create jobs and opportunity in every region of the province.

—6— Rural British Columbia has record levels of employment and economic growth. That is a credit to our citizens and their hard work.





When we act with resolve and with common purpose, we succeed. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the New Relationship we are forging with First Nations.

First Nations’ leaders are leading Canada to close the gaps in health, education, housing, and economic opportunity. Their legacy is a testament to positive leadership and a lasting contribution to Canada.

The powerful currents sweeping across our lives today call for long-term vision not short-term expedience, for selfless rather than selfish actions, for focused rather than fractured responses, and for decision not delay. They demand we look to ourselves for change before asking it of others.

Today’s youth are wondering what the future holds for them.

Will we have the courage to tackle difficult problems that have no easy solutions?

Can we find the resolve to ask more of ourselves than we demand of others?

Will we have the foresight to reach higher in education and literacy, to reduce the weight of our footprint on the environment, or to sustain our public health care system?

To these questions your government answers — yes.

—7— We are obliged to act — individually and collectively — before the tipping point becomes the breaking point.

Your government will act:

• To lead Canada in partnership with First Nations.

• To tackle the challenges of global warming and unplanned urban sprawl.

• To increase affordable housing, reduce homelessness, and help those who cannot help themselves.

• To improve quality, choice, and accountability in our two most important public services — education and health care.

• To open up Canada’s Pacific Gateway and strengthen our economic competitiveness.

These are the elements of the Pacific Leadership Agenda. They are all crucial to achieving the Five Great Goals for the Golden Decade that lies ahead.

YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS BEGUN THE

LONG JOURNEY TO RECONCILIATION WITH

FIRST NATIONS

The First Nations Leadership Council deserves our thanks for their open and positive leadership.

Today, three Final Agreements under the B.C. Treaty Commission are being considered for ratification by First Nations.

—8— Those treaties are harbingers of hope and reconciliation of Aboriginal rights with the responsibilities of the Crown.

If they are ratified within the next few months, legislation will be brought to this House for full consideration.

The Province appreciates the federal government’s partnership in reaching this historic stage in the treaty processes for the Maa-nulth, Lheidli T’enneh, and Tsawwassen people.

Last year’s historic agreements with the Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsay Keh Dene, and Kwadacha people also attest to a New Relationship between First Nations and government.

The Transformative Change Accord, the new health, education and housing frameworks, and hundreds of working agreements between the Province and First Nations will enable First Nations to better control their own destinies.

Recognition of First Nations’ contributions to our history and our culture are critical components of reconciliation.

New Osoyoos, Haida Gwaii, and Squamish-Lil’wat cultural centres will reconcile the past with a positive future.

New curricula will be developed with First Nations historians. Oral histories will be gathered through conversations with First Nations Elders.

More will be done to enhance and preserve First Nations languages.

—9— With that spirit of respect and reconciliation in mind, your government will work with this Assembly and First Nations to act on the recommendation of the 2001 review dealing with the artwork in the lower rotunda of the Parliament Buildings.

British Columbia is leading the way towards a positive, contemporary vision for Canada that recognizes all of its founding partners.

It stands proudly for the inclusion of Canada’s Aboriginal people as full founding partners in Confederation.

It stands firmly for the recognition and respect of Aboriginal rights, title, and self-determination within the Canadian Constitution.

As we have worked to establish a New Relationship with First Nations, so too must we redefine our relationship with our natural surroundings.

BRITISH COLUMBIA HAS ESTABLISHED A

REPUTATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP

Over the last five years the government has built on that legacy.

Wildlife habitat protection has expanded from 10,000 hectares to over four million hectares.

For the first time ever, a program is in place to clean up old contaminated sites on Crown land.

Today, 14 per cent of British Columbia land is protected — more than any other province.

— 10 — This government has created 43 new Class A parks and expanded 38 existing parks.

Your government will act this year to establish several new Class A parks and conservancies and to expand many other existing ones.

Changes will be introduced to strengthen forest stewardship and reduce the risk of forest fires.

Other amendments will improve forest health, encourage better utilization of beetle-killed timber and salvage fiber, and strengthen actions against those who damage our forest or range resources.

After decades of inaction, both groundwater protection and a drinking water action plan are in place.

A $21-million Living Rivers Trust has been established to enhance watershed management and restore fish habitat.

The new $150-million Canada-British Columbia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund will support green projects that improve water quality, wastewater, sewage treatment, and public transit.

After years of denial, the evidence is clear.

Victoria’s raw sewage is contaminating the ocean floor and polluting the Pacific.

That is not acceptable. And it will be remedied.

Your government will fund up to one-third of the costs of a new sewage treatment facility for Greater Victoria.

— 11 — As important as all of these priorities are, none is more important than the critical problem of global warming and climate change.

The challenge of reversing global warming is more difficult today than it was in 1992 at the Rio Summit and more dire than it was in 1997 in Kyoto.

The Kyoto Treaty, which is now in place, just came into force two years ago this Friday.

Little has been done to seriously address this problem which is literally threatening life on Earth as we know it.

Since 1997, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to grow here in British Columbia and across Canada.

Voluntary regimes have not worked.

In 2007, British Columbia will take concerted provincial action to halt and reverse the growth in greenhouse gases.

We will forge new partnerships across both provincial and national boundaries.

The government will act now and will act deliberately.

British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emissions are now estimated to be 35 per cent higher than in 1990. The rate of atmospheric warming over the last 50 years is faster than at any time in the past 1,000 years.

The science is clear. It leaves no room for procrastination. Global warming is real.

— 12 — We will act to stem its growth and minimize the impacts already unleashed. The more timid our response is, the harsher the consequences will be.

If we fail to act aggressively and shoulder our responsibility, we know what our children can expect — shrinking glaciers and snow packs, drying lakes and streams, and changes in the ocean’s chemistry.

Our wildlife, plant life, and ocean life will all be hurt in ways we cannot know and dare not imagine.

We do know this — what each of us does matters.

What everyone does matters.

Things we take for granted and that have taken millennia to evolve could be at risk and lost in the lifetimes of our children.

Action on climate change was promised in your government’s election platform. It is central to the Great Goal of leading the world in sustainable environmental management and it has been an important performance objective in the Province’s last two strategic plans. The energy plan government adopted in 2002 is the cleanest, greenest energy plan in North America.

More air shed management plans have been developed over the past five years than in the entire previous decade. A 40-point action plan on climate change was adopted in 2004 and an energy efficient buildings plan in 2005.

— 13 — Between 2000 and 2004, government’s own emissions were reduced by 24 per cent. British Columbia now has the second lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

However, our emissions are increasing at a rate far faster than most of our neighbours’.

We must act to arrest and reverse that trend.

This government will firmly establish British Columbia standards for action on climate change.



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