A BC where we all belong: Read the Speech from the Throne

Today, our BC NDP majority government gathered to open its fourth legislative session — and its first under the leadership of new Premier David Eby.

As always, it began with the Lieutenant Governor delivering the Speech from the Throne.

The Speech from the Throne is a tradition in all parliamentary-style systems of government. It lays out the government's priorities for the session and begins to detail some of the legislation it intends to table.

Since becoming Premier in November, David Eby and his team have taken bold action on issues that matter to British Columbians, including:

  • Implementing new ways to help out British Columbians with the rising cost of living,like a $100 credit on energy bills; freezing ICBC basic rates until 2025 and introducing a new affordability credit that landed in bank accounts early this month – giving as much as $410 per family back to 85% of British Columbians
  • Reducing childcare costs again, by as much as $550 a month per child
  • Introducing new community safety measures to keep violent offenders off the streets and tackle root causes of poverty and crime
  • Bringing in new legislation to increase housing supply across BC and put an end to rental restrictions leaving thousands of units empty
  • Reducing barriers for out-of-province doctors and nurses to work in BC helping families here get the healthcare they need, and announcing a new medical school at SFU
  • Introducing a new fund for BC’s manufacturing workers to connect them to new opportunities, especially important for workers in our forestry sector.

And there’s a lot more to come.

Read the full text of the Speech from the Throne

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members. Welcome back.

I would like to start by acknowledging the Lekwungen peoples, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, upon whose territories we are gathered today – and to thank them for sharing these lands in peace and friendship.

As Lieutenant Governor, I am pleased to deliver The Speech from the Throne.

Outlining your government’s plans to tackle big challenges and build a stronger, more secure future for everyone who calls this beautiful province home.

In Memoriam

As has become tradition, we begin by remembering those we have lost in the past year.

Last September, British Columbians were deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She visited our province seven times, six as reigning monarch. Her service and dedication to duty will long be remembered.

We mourn Indigenous leaders: Kat Norris, Tla’kwagila Arthur Dick Sr., Hitlamas Tom Henderson, Chief Allan Tom, Chief Roger Adolph, Dini ze’ Madeek Jeff Brown, and Chief Ken Baird.

We mourn those who once served in this legislature: Anne Edwards, Gary Lauk, Patrick McGeer, Clifford Michael, Bob Skelly, Clive Tanner, and Jack Weisgerber. As we also mourn George MacMinn, the former clerk of the Legislature.

We mourn the philanthropist Joseph Segal; community activists Ronald Lou- Poy and Tommy Wong; advocates Chrissy Brett, Greg Gowe, Sid Chow Tan, Robin Krause, and Mary-Wynne Ashford; local leaders Helen Fathers, Helen Hughes and George Puil; and, from the world of journalism, political columnist Jim Hume, and music critic Tom Harrison.

From the arts world, we mourn dancer Bebe Eversfield, conductor Bramwell Tovey, composer Joseph Koo, actor Pat John, singer Susan Jacks, artist Rodney Graham, gallery owner Thor Froslev, guitarists Ziggy Sigmund and Jerry Doucette, as well as Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky.

From the world of sports, we mourn Tom Masich, Ernie Dougherty, Gino Odjick, and Olympic gold-medallist rower Kevin Neufeld.

We also mourn with the First Nations communities who continue their searches of residential school sites, and we reflect on the many losses in recent years from COVID-19 and the poisoned drug supply.

To everyone who lost a loved one last year, we acknowledge your grief and share in it.

Having your back in uncertain times

We open this session of the legislature at a time when people are facing real challenges.

Global inflation is squeezing household budgets. Food prices are going up.

It’s hard to find a doctor.

We continue to see mental health and addiction challenges brought on by the pandemic and toxic drug crisis.

Housing costs continue to rise as our population grows and interest rates increase. People in BC are working harder than ever.

But many feel like they’re just getting by, not getting ahead.

People who work hard and play by the rules need someone on their side. Your government will be there for you.

From climate change and global conflicts to threats to democracy, this can feel like an uncertain time—not just in BC, but around the world.

While we can’t control global forces, we can take steps to protect people and build the more secure future for our province that we all want.

When threats are at the door, government must in your corner, standing with you and your family while helping to build a stronger future.

Over the next year, your government will keep working hard with people across our province, country, and the world.

To make sure you have a more secure home, more secure health care, a good paying job, and more confidence when the bills come at the end of the month.

Building a stronger future

Before the pandemic hit, we were starting to see the results of your government’s work on the things that matter most to people.

There’s no doubt COVID-19 set us back.

Government had to respond and shift our focus to keeping people safe and businesses afloat.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we face big choices to ensure security for you and your family in the face of likely economic storms.

Putting people at the centre of your government’s choices has resulted in economic growth that allows us to deliver even more.

Investing in child care meant that BC led Canada in women being able to return to work.

Careful management of the pandemic meant we closed as little of our economy as possible.

While the highest supports in Canada meant businesses were ready to get back at it when we re-opened.

Responsible management of our natural resources meant revenue set new records.

Restructuring our public insurer put ICBC back on solid financial footing and provided people with some of the lowest rates in Canada, instead of losing billions of dollars.

Unemployment rates have been near record lows, with more people working than before the pandemic and more job opportunities.

All of this has led to a multi-billion dollar surplus this year. Still, economists are predicting a global slow down.

Because we are a province that thrives on export and international relationships, this year’s surplus won’t be there next year.

Your government has a proactive plan to deal with these global trends.

It will put this year’s surplus to work for people – to support them now and for the long term.

By reducing costs for families and helping businesses attract the talent they need.

By growing our health-care workforce to cut wait times and give more people access to a family doctor.

By building more homes that people who live and work in our communities can afford.

By giving record support to cities and regions, rural and urban, that have grown quickly.

By fighting climate change and growing a cleaner economy through innovation, partnerships, and stronger export relationships.

These choices will pay off immediately and over the long term.

Some say we should respond to a downturn by pulling back, reducing services, or by making people pay out of pocket for health care.

But that would make many of our most serious challenges worse and pass down costs at a time when people can least afford it.

There’s too much at stake right now to pull back on supports for people who are only now finding their footing after the pandemic.

We couldn’t afford short-term thinking before. And we certainly can’t afford it now. In a chaotic world, BC is doing things differently.

Stable. Secure. Stronger. And more sustainable.

Investing today to build a stronger tomorrow

Your government will continue to make choices that put people first with the introduction of a new budget at the end of this month.

Budget 2023will make smart investments today to build a stronger tomorrow.

It will make record new investments to improve public health care and deliver more housing for middle-class families.

It will ensure we build the hospitals, schools, childcare centres, roads, and public transit that make us stronger.

It will introduce new measures to address the cost of living, especially for those most vulnerable.

And it will help people train for the jobs of the future, while helping businesses find the talent they need to grow.

Helping people with costs

By far the biggest source of anxiety for people right now is the rising cost of living.

BC is an incredibly desirable place to live, but that can also make it an expensive one.

Global inflation and the long-lasting impacts of the pandemic are only making it harder—at the grocery store, at the gas pump, and when looking for housing.In just the last few months, your government has taken significant action to help put money back in your pockets.

The new BC Affordability Credit landed in bank accounts at the start of the new year to help 85% of British Columbians with increased costs.

As much as $410 for a family of four went to British Columbians last month.

Basic car insurance rates have been frozen for another two years, and a $100 credit reduced everyone’s hydro bill.

In December 2022, child care costs were reduced again, this time by as much as

$550 more a month for each child, or over $6,000 a year in additional savings. This has been life-changing for many parents.

As stocking the cupboards with nutritious food or even a night out at a restaurant becomes more feasible.

These cost-saving measures build on the work your government has done over the last five years.

To reduce ICBC rates by an average of $490 a year. To end bridge tolls in the Lower Mainland.

And to eliminate medical premiums—representing the largest middle-class tax cut in a generation.

But even with all of this, people and families are still feeling squeezed.

That’s why your government will keep working to help people with new measures targeted to those who need it most, including people with lower incomes and families with children.

And this fall, the significant child care savings your government delivered for children who are kindergarten age and younger will be extended to parents with school-age kids.

Putting people who play by the rules first

To truly feel secure, working people must also be paid and treated fairly on the job.

Over the last five years, BC’s minimum wage has gone from one of the lowest in Canada to the highest among provinces.

Workers’ right to join a union and negotiate for better wages and working conditions has been protected.

And BC became the first province in Canada with five days paid sick leave, so workers don’t need to choose between going to work sick and putting food on the table.

In this spring session, your government will continue to put honest people who play by the rules first.

It will introduce new pay transparency legislation.

A critical tool to shine a light on the gender pay gap and move closer to equal pay for equal work.

And it will go after organized criminals, rich tax evaders, and corrupt officials from around the world who mistakenly think they can hide in BC at the expense of hard-working people.

Your government is going to send a strong message by seizing their homes and profits.

Using the proceeds to support British Columbians who want strong, safe, and secure communities.

A decent home you can afford

For most British Columbians, their biggest expense by far is housing costs— whether renting or paying a mortgage.

The stability and security provided by an affordable home is also key to building a good life here in British Columbia.

Yet, finding a decent place to call home is challenging right now.

For too long, the housing market has worked very well for speculators.

And it has worked very well for investors who have used the housing crisis to make excessive profits by purchasing homes and flipping them for a higher price.

All of this has driven up the cost of housing and put it out of reach for many people.

In its first five and a half years, your government took important action to deliver the homes people need.

It cracked down on speculation with the Speculation and Vacancy Tax.

Which helped turn 20,000 empty condos into rental homes for people in Metro Vancouver alone.

Helping to keep housing prices and rents lower than they would have been.

And your government started making urgently needed investments in affordable housing of every kind after decades of neglect.

We’re starting to see the results of these efforts.

For example, construction of rental housing for people was up 10% last year. The highest ever on record and seven times what it was a decade ago.

Despite that improvement, we are facing new housing pressures coming out of the pandemic – from interest rates to record population growth.

The loss of existing buildings and an overall lack of supply can’t meet the needs of our growing population.

That’s why your government has recently removed unfair strata restrictions so empty condos become rental units for people.

It is investing $500 million in a new Rental Protection Fund.

A fund that will safeguard renters against evictions or rent hikes by the big investment companies that want to buy affordable rental buildings and make money through exploitation and eviction.

It is working with municipalities to set ambitious targets to deliver more housing where it is needed most.

And it is breaking down permitting barriers that are preventing new homes from getting built quickly.

In the months ahead, your government will make major new investments to increase housing and services near public transit hubs around the province.

It will also launch a refreshed housing strategy.

In the Fall session—after working with local governments, homebuilders and communities—new laws will be introduced to turn that strategy into new affordable homes.

More homes for middle-class families—instead of profit for speculators. More homes for seniors.

More homes and support for people with the greatest need.

Strengthening public health care

Another top concern for British Columbians is making sure health care is there when they need it.

The pandemic strained patients, their families, and health-care workers to their very core.

At the same time, we are also facing a record respiratory and flu season, the toxic drug crisis, an aging population and rapid growth.

This combination of factors means that too many people can’t find a family doctor, or they’re waiting too long in emergency rooms.

Our health-care workers need more support from us than ever. These challenges are not unique to British Columbia.

There are debates right now about the future of universal medicare around the country.

Some jurisdictions are pushing for more privatization, allowing the wealthiest to buy their way to the front of the line.

Make no mistake, that doesn’t fix the line.

It would only lead to more costs and longer lines for the rest of us.

And it is a dangerous step towards a two-tiered system we know British Columbians do not want.

We need doctors, nurses, and health sciences professionals.

Pulling them out of hospitals into private surgery clinics will not solve problems for patients.

It would just mean we’re paying more to pad the profits of the clinic operator instead of supporting our patients.

You can count on your government to strengthen public health care and increase our ability to do surgeries, offer family doctors, and make sure people have care they can count on.

Once again, our province is doing things differently by putting patients first.

Private surgical centres and thousands of privatized health-care workers are being brought back into the public system.

Instead of privatizing, your government is working every day to achieve its vision of connecting people to strong public health care that doesn’t cost them more.

Investing in new hospitals, a new medical school at SFU, and expanded medical school at UBC, and a new deal that will help more people find a family doctor.

And action is being taken to get more internationally trained doctors, nurses, and health workers into our hospitals and clinics to provide care to British Columbians.

2,000 internationally educated nurses are being fast tracked in health care right now.

In the last year, another 5,500 nurses have said they want to work in BC and we’re ready to welcome them here.

We’re moving toward a historic agreement on health care funding with the federal government.

This is good news, but after the pandemic there is a lot more to do to get back on track.

There is also a need to connect more people with substance use care, where and when they need it.

That’s why your government will build on historic investments in saving lives with further expansion of treatment and recovery services, so more people can access care.

As our population increases and ages, there is a growing demand for all health services, and in particular cancer care.

Close to 90 people every day are diagnosed with cancer in BC – that number will only increase.

After a cancer diagnosis, nobody should be stuck waiting for treatment they urgently need.

That’s why your government will continue its work to build our health workforce and fight cancer with new investments to enhance access to screening and early detection, diagnostic imaging, and treatments.

Safer communities

People in BC want to know that our province is a safe place to build a life and raise a family.

But communities in BC – and across North America – are seeing our streets change for the worse.

This did not happen overnight.

It’s the product of more than a decade of cuts to supports and services in BC and chronic underinvestment in housing.

It’s a consequence of changes to federal laws and subsequent Supreme Court decisions.

It’s the product of a toxic drug supply that hurts even more people than it kills, leaving them with serious brain injuries and struggling in our streets.

At the same time, and for related reasons, we’ve seen a rise in violent and repeat offending across the country.

What’s happening now isn’t working for anyone. And your government is determined to change that.

There is no one solution – it will take collaboration between police, prosecutors, mental health experts and community service providers.

Getting repeat violent offenders off our streets

What we do know is this: Being compassionate for those on the street and taking action on mental health does not mean we accept repeated criminal behaviour or violence.

Your government will not rest until every British Columbian feels safe.

In this legislative session, you will see new measures to keep people and communities safe.

Legislation will be introduced to crack down on gangs and money laundering.

As part of its Safer Communities Action Plan, your government is implementing new response teams to track, arrest and jail repeat violent offenders.

These teams are made up of police, dedicated prosecutors, and probation officers.

It is investing to ensure the RCMP can operate to its full capacity to keep people safe, particularly in rural British Columbia.

Because when people facing violence call 911, they need to know help is on the way. The BC Prosecution Service has been directed to strengthen their bail policy.

The public needs to have confidence that bail rules for violent offenders make sense and keep everyone safe.

And your government is joining with all provinces and territories to press for urgent reforms to Criminal Codebail rules.

Taking action on mental health and homelessness

Your government’s plan also focuses on getting supports to people living on our streets.

It is expanding mental-health crisis response teams into more communities, so people in crisis get help from mental-health experts, and so police are freed up to focus on crime.

When a person’s violent or disruptive behaviour results from mental health and substance use, they need treatment to get better.

That’s why your government is working on a new model of addictions care.

One that moves people seamlessly from detox to treatment and fills the gaps between services where people might relapse and fall through the cracks.

It’s why your government has worked overtime to make sure those struggling with addiction turn to doctors and nurses, not predatory drug dealers.

To get people who are sick access to treatment and the opportunity to get better.

Urgent action is being taken in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver to move people from dangerous encampments to more secure housing.

And a long-term plan is being developed with every level of government and the community to address the ongoing crisis in that neighbourhood.

With similar strategies to move from decampments to decent homes in communities around the province grappling with this issue.

Because a plan for safer communities must include the safety of those living on our streets.

Supporting strong and inclusive communities

Our population is growing quickly.

People are choosing to move to British Columbia in record numbers from across the country and around the world, for the stability and opportunity we offer in this province.

We set a record last year. We have already set a record this year. This growth is our strength.

These new arrivals will make our province stronger, and all of them bring skills and contributions we need – including nurses, doctors, and health-care professionals.

Cities big and small are on the front lines of this growth.

British Columbians want sustainable, fun, and welcoming communities.

They want governments working together to build roads, parks, and community centres that people need to enjoy and move around their communities.

That’s why BC will make record investments to support local governments in responding to the growth they are seeing in a way that makes our communities stronger and more liveable for families.

It will also continue funding enrolment growth in classrooms, recruitment of new teachers, and building new schools in fast-growing parts of the province.

Progress will continue on the Broadway Subway project in Vancouver and the Surrey-to-Langley Skytrain, the first rapid transit project south of the Fraser River in 30 years.

A rural community strategy will respond to the unique needs of a growing rural British Columbia.

Roads, bridges and childcare centres will be built and maintained in every part of the province – to support parents and families that commute to work and want to spend more time at home.

Your government will also continue to take action to combat hatred and racism to ensure our communities are safer and more inclusive.

This year, a new anti-racism action plan has been launched for K-12 students to ensure schools are welcoming places for everyone.

Working in partnership with Indigenous, Black and other people of colour, BC will release data to help identify and address systemic discrimination and barriers in government programs and services as part of the Anti-Racism Data Act.

And legislation will be introduced in this session to address the malicious and exploitative non-consensual sharing of intimate images.

Reconciliation and partnership with Indigenous Peoples

Foundational to all of your government’s work is partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

The people who have always been here, on this land, since time immemorial.

Starting in 2017, we have worked in collaboration to bring transformational changes to BC’s laws, structures, and policies.

From the unanimous passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Actin this legislature, to the first consent-based, decision-making agreement under the act with the Tahltan, we’ve come a long way together.

Your government’s vision for BC moving forward is one that recognizes inherent rights as our greatest act of reconciliation, and respect.

By working together, historic progress is being made.

BC is now the first province to recognize – in law – the inherent rights of Indigenous communities to provide their own child and family services.

Investments are being made in both on- and off-reserve housing, making BC the first province to do so.

Like in N’quatqua, where families are moving into new affordable rental homes in the community’s first new housing development in more than a decade.

We are working together with Indigenous Peoples to close the unjust gap in access to primary health-care services.

Just a few months ago, patients started receiving care at the new First Nations Wellness Centre in Williams Lake.

Through work on the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, we’re starting to address the over-representation of Indigenous people in the justice system.

By breaking the cycle of jail and release and addressing the poverty, trauma and health issues that brought the person to the justice system in the first place.

In Prince Rupert, Prince George and Merritt, people are getting meaningful supports to break that cycle closer to home in new Indigenous Justice Centres, and 10 more are on the way.

A few weeks ago, Blueberry River First Nations and other Treaty 8 Nations reached significant agreements with the provincial government that commit to respecting Treaty 8 rights by finding a new balance of environmental restoration and resource development.

Such agreements are based on our shared experience that full partnership and respect is the only constructive way forward.

Not endless court battles.

Not short-term transactional relationships.

The future lies in a rights-based partnership approach to decisions respecting land, water and resource stewardship.

We will ensure this future through the ongoing implementation of the United Nations Declaration onthe Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

One that will provide stability and predictability for industry, while ensuring First Nations can meaningfully exercise their rights.

One that recognizes First Nations working to pursue sustainable economic development and long-term partnerships with industry, benefit not just First Nations—but everyone around them, now and into the future.

A cleaner economy that works for everyone

Investing in the people of our province has helped us build the strongest economic recovery in Canada.

But with a global economic slowdown on the horizon, more must be done to support BC businesses.

They have the customers to grow, but labour shortages and supply chain disruptions hold them back.

This spring, your government will introduce Future Ready.

A skills-training action plan to make education and training more accessible, affordable, and relevant to help prepare British Columbians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

It’s a plan that will give more opportunity to every British Columbian.

One that will help people expand the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in high-demand, good paying jobs.

Your government will also continue work to develop a Goods Movement Strategythat will ensure goods are moving as efficiently as possible so businesses can scale up.

It will expand our low-cost, clean energy potential through electrical generation and the promise of hydrogen.

To leverage our strengths and attract new economic opportunities across the province.

This means British Columbians will continue to be able to access safe, affordable electricity even as global fuel prices rise.

To make sure more people are able to work or start a business from home—even in rural and remote areas—your government is working to connect every underserved community to high-speed internet by 2027.

It is working with the forest sector to ensure a sustainable industry going forward to retool mills and manufacture value-added products, including those that replace plastics made from fossil fuels.

And it continues to work with farmers, ranchers and producers to ensure we have sustainable local food systems while creating opportunities that boost the economy and strengthen food security.

By promoting innovation, it will increase efficiency in food production through the use of new technologies and investments such as the BC Centre for Agritech Innovation in the Fraser Valley.

All are key pieces of the StrongerBC Economic Planthat will keep guiding us forward.

In an increasingly interconnected global economy, BC has many natural strengths.

We are a gateway to the Asia-Pacific and the United States, and we share many family and cultural ties to countries that are growing rapidly.

To expand our trading relationships and create new opportunities for people and

BC businesses, your government will make trade missions to emerging markets a priority.

It will also work to remove unnecessary barriers to growth.

The changes being made to speed approvals for housing permits will also be applied to other projects, including those in natural resources and tourism.

Even as we work to fix bureaucratic delays, BC will continue to have high standards. Because that is equally important to our economic future.

International accounting firm KPMG surveyed the heads of the largest companies in the world and here’s what they told them:

Businesses embracing environmental, social, and governance priorities—known as ESG—are best able to secure talent, attract loyal customers and raise capital.These priorities have gone from a “nice-to-have” to integral to the long-term success of their businesses.

Our high standards are a competitive advantage.

One that your government will seek to build on with a new ESG Centre of Excellence.

Climate action

Our world is changing.

Sometimes in ways that can feel scary, but just as often for the better.

It’s only when we confront monumental challenges that we see new opportunities.

Failing to match global action on climate change doesn’t just mean more climate disasters.

It also means we’ll miss the economic opportunity of a lifetime as our major trading partners look for low-carbon technologies, energy, resources and solutions.

As countries set new targets to tackle climate change, BC is well positioned to thrive.

We are a clean-energy powerhouse.

Our ground-breaking CleanBC: Roadmap to 2030plan puts us on a path to reach net-zero, as well as to be leaders in clean and inclusive economic growth.

Last year, BC eliminated the largest subsidy for oil and gas companies to give British Columbians a fair return and allow us to reinvest in our priorities.

Over the next number of months, you will see your government act with increased urgency to make sure BC meets its ambitious climate targets.

In the spring session, legislation will be introduced to strengthen our ability to ensure polluters pay the cost of environmental cleanup on abandoned sites.

New legislation will also improve access to electric vehicle charging stations in condo buildings.

To fight climate change now and protect this beautiful place for future generations,

BC will work with Indigenous Peoples, the federal government, industry, workers and communities to protect 30% of our land and water by 2030.

You will see accelerated work on your government’s plan to protect more of BC’s old-growth forests in partnership with First Nations rights holders in the months to come.

And you will see work with First Nations, communities and stakeholders to help protect our watersheds—our clean water sources—now and for future generations.

Climate readiness

As we take action to protect the environment, we also must prepare for a stark reality: climate change is happening now.

We can see it all around us in BC – as we’ve been hit with one climate disaster after another.

It’s clear that we need to be better prepared.

That’s why your government is investing to make BC an international leader in future-proofing our infrastructure to make it more climate resilient.

It is why a new Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness has been created.

And it is why in this spring session, a New Emergency and Disaster Management Actwill be introduced to better improve BC’s ability to respond and recover from whatever might be in store.

A bright future for BC

Despite everything we’ve gone through together over the last few years, British Columbians remain relentlessly optimistic about their province.

And with good reason. BC is the place to be.

In a time of global economic uncertainty, BC’s strong economy continues to attract people from across Canada and around the world.

Vancouver’s tech sector is growing at the highest rate in North America.

Mining is booming in British Columbia with record-breaking exploration expenditures in 2022.

BC’s life sciences and agritech sectors are thriving.

In 2021, BC saw more growth in new businesses opening their doors than in any other big province.

Our province will play host to national and international sporting events for three years in a row – starting in 2024 with the Grey Cup, followed by the Invictus Games, and the FIFA Men’s World Cup.

And this summer will be the grand opening of the Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver Chinatown’s historic Wing Sang Building.

The future is bright here in BC.

And your government shares people’s sense of optimism about our endless potential.

It is an optimism rooted in the fact that our greatest strength will always be our people.

After all, it is the people of BC who got shots into arms, rebuilt highways after flooding, kept kids learning in schools, and businesses thriving in difficult circumstances.

It is the people of BC who responded to Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of a sovereign country a year ago by welcoming fleeing Ukrainians into their homes, places of worship, and communities.

And by helping support those who stayed to defend their country.

Like Tamara Moldon, a nurse in Coquitlam who fled Ukraine as a child, who joined many others to help ship medical supplies to those in need.

All in this together

If these challenging few years have taught us one thing, it’s that going it alone doesn’t work.

We’re all in this together.

There is nothing British Columbians can’t overcome if we keep pulling together and looking out for each other.

Your government believes BC should be a place where everyone can build a good life.

Where you can afford to buy or rent a decent home. Where you feel safe in your home – and your community.

Where health care and public services are there when you need them.

Where there are training opportunities for young people to pursue their dreams. Where our beautiful natural heritage is protected for future generations.

Where our economy is cleaner and fairer, rewarding those who work hard and play by the rules.

And where we always work in true partnership with Indigenous Peoples. This is the better, brighter future we all believe in.

We’ve accomplished so much together, but there’s much more to do.

As we begin this legislative session, let’s keep working together to build a stronger and more secure British Columbia.

One where we all belong, and no one gets left behind. Thank you.