The twelve-week spring session of the BC legislature concluded Thursday evening, May 29. This session was the longest continuous sitting of the legislature since 2012. The governing BC Liberals demonstrated poise and confidence, emboldened by the leadership transition of the opposition BC NDP.

Premier Christy Clark and her team advanced the main BC Liberal themes of job creation, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sector development and spending control. The opposition BC NDP closed the latest chapter in their history and now look towards the next one under new leader John Horgan.
In February, Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals passed their second consecutive balanced budget since returning to the black following the global financial crisis, forecasting modest budget surpluses through 2016-17. The key development regarding LNG was the announcement of a proposed tax structure which received lukewarm response from industry. In addition, the province unveiled the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint that will re-orient the advanced education and training sectors, pushing British Columbians towards training that will meet forecast labour demands in LNG and other areas such as health services.
Premier Christy Clark completed her fifth international trade mission in May. Premier Clark, Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman and industry delegates travelled to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia to strengthen relationships with companies and governments interested in B.C.’s LNG industry. There are 13 proposed LNG projects in B.C. and two LNG proponents recently signed Letters of Intent with government to further the growth of LNG in B.C. The first final investment decisions are expected later this year.

Legislation Overview
The Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act was the most controversial bill passed this session. It creates two zones for the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) that will allow some types of non-farm development in parts of the province where there is less arable land. The changes to the ALR resulted in outrage from the BC NDP, who view the ALR as a legacy accomplishment of past BC NDP governments.
A complete list of all bills passed is available in the appendix. Notable legislative changes made by the BC Liberals include the:
+        Liquor Control and Licensing Amendment Act to allow sales in grocery stores
+        Park Amendment Act to allow for limited industrial activity within provincial parks
+        Water Sustainability Act to provide additional protection for groundwater
+        Local Election Statutes Amendment Act to extend the terms of municipal governments to four years
+        Pension Benefits Standards Amendment Act to create pooled registered pension plans for those British Columbians who don’t have an employer plan
+        Electoral Boundaries Commission Amendment Act to ensure northern and rural representation
Opposition in Transition
Following their devastating election loss last May, former Leader Adrian Dix announced he would step down as party leader, opening the possibility of a leadership contest. Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth emerged as the only candidate early in the race. When nobody else stepped forward to challenge him, Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan reconsidered his earlier decision not to run. Farnworth ended up throwing his support behind Horgan, who was acclaimed Leader of the Opposition in May. New leader John Horgan is expected to shuffle his Opposition Critics soon.
Legislature to Return in October
Both sides of the House are scheduled to return to Victoria in October for a fall session of the legislature; however there is a possibility the BC Liberals may recall the House for a brief summer session to legislate the teachers back to work if labour negotiations continue to stall. Legislation enabling the LNG tax structure is expected to be introduced and debated in October.
Appendix – Legislation Passed during Spring 2014 Legislative Session

Bill Number




An Act to Ensure the Supremacy of Parliament

Hon. S. Anton


Electoral Boundaries Commission Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. S. Anton


Missing Persons Act

Hon. S. Anton


Park Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. M. Polak


Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Statutes Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. S. Thomson


Provincial Capital Commission Dissolution Act

Hon. C. Oakes


Laboratory Services Act

Hon. T. Lake


Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2014

Hon. M. de Jong


Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act

Hon. M. de Jong


Pension Benefits Standards Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. M. de Jong


Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. M. Polak


Natural Gas Development Statutes Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. R. Coleman


Off-Road Vehicle Act

Hon. S. Thomson


Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. S. Anton


Liquor Control and Licensing Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. S. Anton


Supply Act (No. 1), 2014

Hon. M. de Jong


Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. S. Anton


Water Sustainability Act

Hon. M. Polak


Animal Health Act

Hon. P. Pimm


Local Elections Campaign Financing Act

Hon. C. Oakes


Local Elections Statutes Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. C. Oakes


South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. T. Stone


South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Funding Referenda Act

Hon. T. Stone


Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. P. Pimm


The Cultus Lake Park Amendment Act, 2014

Hon. C. Oakes

Pr 401

Armstrong-Spallumcheen Student Assistance Association (Corporate Restoration) Act, 2014

Mr. Kyllo