British Columbia Premier Christy Clark addresses a gathering in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday. The B.C. Legislature will return on Thursday and the government will give their Speech from the Throne. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

B.C.’s minority Liberals prepare throne speech as opposition plans their defeat

VICTORIA — The clock that counts down to the expected defeat of Premier Christy Clark’s minority government in British Columbia starts ticking Thursday with the introduction of a throne speech.

After that, the province watches for a confidence vote that is expected to lead to an NDP government propped up by the Green party.

But the prospect of defeat hasn’t deterred the Liberals from releasing details of the throne speech in advance, including major policy shifts on issues that weren’t featured by the party in last month’s election campaign, such as increasing monthly welfare rates by $100, spending $1 billion on early childhood education, and banning corporate and union donations to political parties.

Clark said Wednesday the Liberals heard from voters that social issues and political fundraising reforms are major concerns and the government is now prepared to act on them.

“We’ll present the legislature with a plan that reflects all of the best ideas from all of the parties that we heard in this last election, and I’m taking those lessons to heart,” she said. “I am going to do my level best to make sure that our government looks, feels and is different from the government that British Columbians have had for the last six years.”

NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said the election showed voters want the Liberals out after 16 years in office.

“All of a sudden they’ve had an in-the-coffin conversion,” he said.

“After having 16 years to deal with these issues they say, ‘Oh, we actually want to deal with them.’ People are just going to reject that as outright cynicism by this government.”

Farnworth said the NDP will table a motion Monday to amend the throne speech, which sets the stage for a confidence vote on June 29.

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