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Inside the NDP-Green governing agreement

NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver have agreed to a series of conditions for their cooperation if the B.C. Liberal government is defeated. - Black Press
NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver have agreed to a series of conditions for their cooperation if the B.C. Liberal government is defeated.
— image credit: Black Press

The cooperation agreement between the B.C. NDP and the B.C. Green Party calls for increasing the carbon tax starting next year, “immediately” beginning measures to stop the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, and establish a “fair wages commission” to move to a minimum wage of “at least” $15 an hour.

NDP and Green MLAs met at the B.C. legislature Tuesday to sign the agreement, to be forwarded with a letter to Lt. Governor Judith Guichon this week asking for consideration of their status to govern. Opposition MLAs signed the agreement minutes after Premier Christy Clark announced she will call a new session to present a speech from the throne. That would be the united opposition’s first opportunity to defeat the government and propose an NDP government supported by the Greens.

With an NDP government supported by three B.C. Green MLAs, the carbon tax would rise by $5 to $35 a tonne in April 2018, continuing to rise by $5 a year until it reaches $50 a tonne by 2021, as dictated by the federal government.

The parties have agreed to proceed with a 50-per-cent reduction of Medical Services Plan in January 2018, as promised in the NDP platform. The NDP intends to stick to its plan to eliminate MSP entirely within four years, with some of the burden shifting to the income tax system.

The agreement does not include specifics on liquefied natural gas, but meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets would make it difficult for large projects to proceed.

The NDP-Green government would attempt to join court challenges against the Trans Mountain project, and may hold up permits required for river crossings or other requirements that are in provincial jurisdiction,

Other highlights of the agreement:

• Neither party has the right to unilaterally dissolve parliament, which would sit for four and a half years to move the scheduled election date to the fall of 2021

• The Greens are recognized as a third party, which provides additional money for support staff and pay for the leader, house leader and caucus whip

• Both parties recognize the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation agreement

• Fall sessions of the B.C. legislature would be made mandatory

• Put BC Hydro’s Site C dam project to immediate review by the B.C. Utilities Commissions, but construction would continue, with major contracts already let and work in the river underway.

 

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