Saturday, May 30, 2020, will mark the third anniversary of the signing of the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) that formed the basis of British Columbia’s minority government.
Although the agreement did not anticipate a pandemic, it has provided British Columbians with a strong, stable government at a critical time and has positioned the province to face the challenges ahead.
“Over the past few months, British Columbians have seen their elected representatives work together and focus on getting things done for people,” said Premier John Horgan. “I’m proud to lead a government that has taken an evidence-based approach to containing the pandemic, and now to carefully restarting the economy.
“CASA is the foundation of a strong working relationship between the government, the BC Green Party caucus and independent MLA Andrew Weaver, that has provided British Columbians with a strong, stable government at a critical time.”
Commitments in CASA led to historic investments in public health care, child care and housing – critical services that are serving British Columbians through the crisis.
CASA has also provided a foundation on which to build back better. A key commitment CASA fulfilled in the last year was to enshrine in law United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This landmark legislation was passed unanimously in fall 2019, ensuring that reconciliation with Indigenous peoples will be central to an economic recovery plan that leaves no one behind.
CleanBC, B.C.’s comprehensive plan to address climate change, is another key CASA commitment and will guide B.C.’s approach to clean economic development across the province, taking full advantage of the province’s abundant clean electricity.
CASA also included commitments to appoint an innovation commissioner and create an Emerging Economy Task Force. For the past two years, both the commissioner and the task force conducted in-depth studies of B.C.’s economy and recently submitted recommendations on how to position B.C. for success over the long term. These reports provide government with productive policy options to rebuild an economy that will create the next generation of shared, sustainable prosperity for people in B.C.
An expert panel to study universal basic income was created, fulfilling another CASA commitment. The panel’s final report is expected this summer and will provide the Province with a comprehensive evaluation at a time when many are considering how government can best provide help to the many people who have seen their incomes negatively impacted by COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has brought us to a critical juncture,” said Adam Olsen, third-party interim Leader. “The pandemic has brought great stress and economic upheaval, and we now face significant choices as we begin to rebuild. CASA has provided us with a strong foundation, if we look to CleanBC, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the reports of the innovation commissioner and the Emerging Economy Task Force. We are well positioned to rebuild towards a more innovative, more equitable and more sustainable future.”
Weaver said, “Bringing more voices to the political landscape has offered a balancing of perspectives that benefits all British Columbians. CASA has provided new frameworks and ideas for how to solve the challenges of today through an economic vision that is founded in the sustainable, innovative and collaborative potential of all this great province has to offer.”
Premier Horgan said, “In the past three years, we’ve shown how much can be accomplished when we have a government that puts people first. COVID-19 has challenged all of us in ways we could not have imagined when we formed government, but our principles remain the same. We’re going to keep working together to make life better for people.”