The B.C. legislature will resume June 22 to examine the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provincial budget and debate how to deal with it, Premier John Horgan says.
Horgan made the announcement after his weekly cabinet meeting, where the province extended its state of emergency for a fifth time, with the expectation that it won’t be the last.
“In fact it was 10 weeks ago that we announced the first public state of emergency, and adding two additional weeks makes this the longest period in B.C.’s history where emergency orders have been in place,” Horgan told reporters May 27. “You will remember back to 2017, the horrific fire season that year led to 10 weeks of emergency status in the province and we are now exceeding that with, I have to say, no likely end in sight.”
A day after the House of Commons shuts down for four months with the federal NDP supporting Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to force the vote through, Horgan announced that the B.C. legislature is being recalled with some MLAs on video conference. Finance Minister Carole James’ $5 billion relief package and other COVID-19 impacts will dominate a rare summer session that is expected to last through July.
“The three parties have been working with the clerk, and we have found an agreement where safe resumption of the legislature can take place effective June 22, MLAs will be returning to Victoria so we can conduct the business of the province,” Horgan said. “Some will be here in person, some will be beaming in with technology, but at the end of the day, debate will take place, votes will be cast and democracy will be well served.”