Stand-pat throne speech ensures continued uncertainty for public service workers and taxpayers

February 14, 2011

The B.C. Government’s throne speech, tabled today amid the unusual circumstances of political leadership contests in both the governing and opposition parties, promises only continued uncertainty for the public service, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union said today.

“A throne speech is always light on details, but given that the B.C. Liberal government has promised a placeholder throne speech and budget due to their leadership race, the speech was even lighter on details than is usual," said BCGEU president Darryl Walker.

More uncertainty for public services seems to be guaranteed, given the throne speech promise that, "tomorrow's budget will meet statutory requirements while providing maximum flexibility for future decisions by the new executive council and this legislature."

The speech promised that the government will seek approval for an interim supply bill that will allow for the ongoing operation of government business. B.C. Liberal party members will vote on February 26 to choose a new Premier-designate.

The speech also noted that, "it is our health professionals and social service professionals who have pushed back the frontiers of illness and injury as they move to their destination of creating a healthier society."

"These comments are very ironic given that nearly 10,000 community social service workers have been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement for more than a year," said Walker.

The speech also noted the important role of public service workers in our province. However, close to 800 frontline workers have been cut from the public service in the past year.

“The throne speech acknowledged that B.C. businesses will soon pay the lowest corporate taxes in the G7,” said Walker. “Meanwhile, single mothers can’t access legal aid to obtain custody orders, and we don’t have enough public service workers to protect our courts or monitor how much timber is being cut by industry.”