B.C.’s MLAs are going back to work Tuesday for the legislature’s final sitting before the May election.
Global BC Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey says in Tuesday’s throne speech he expects the governing B.C. Liberals to hammer one message home:
“On the fact that B.C.’s economy out-performs the rest of Canada and we have the best job creation record. Those are basically the B.C. Liberal government’s main talking points right these days. It will also warn about the threats to our economy which exit externally. Notably south of the border in the U.S.”
Baldrey says there are also hints the Liberals’ may be looking for ways to give back some of the $2.2-billion dollar surplus it’s currently sitting on.
He says the real fireworks should start Wednesday, when the NDP will go on the attack over hacking allegations and the devastating report into teen Alex Gervais’ death in government care.
And while the throne speech is usually a fluffy affair packed with pomp and circumstance, politics watchers say it will be doubly so this time around.
UVic Political Science Professor Michael Prince says with the election writ just weeks away from dropping, both parties will be in full-on campaign mode.
“We’ve only got about 12 weeks until the election, this one will be not just about pomp and circumstance, it will be a lot about politics and calculations. This is one that I think will have a more partisan flavour to it, and edge. It will be one way for the Liberals to start to try to set the tone and the narrative for the campaign and how they want to run it.”
Prince says the Liberals have already been in campaigning mode for months, announcing cash for schools and housing.
But he says with just weeks until the next election campaign, those elements will be cranked up far more than usual.
“The warm words and almost the slogans or the themes that the government will want to try out on the public ahead of time. Almost a market pre-testing on what the messages could be coming up in the weeks and months.”
Prince says the governing Liberals, who have been on a pre-election spending spree in recent months, will be looking to set a positive tone.
He says he expects to see the NDP toughen its attacks in the following days, while trying to present themselves as an alternative.