VICTORIA -- Premier John Horgan says his government will immediately fight the spread of COVID-19 while also striving to meet its long-term goals on the province's economic recovery, climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

In a throne speech read in the legislature today by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin, the government is promising to focus on the economic recovery as quickly as possible.

The speech says the government will strive to ensure that people work together on COVID-19 and mount a strong economic recovery.

A short two-week session of the legislature before Christmas is intended to make good on an NDP election promise to provide $1,000 to eligible families and $500 to individuals to help cope with the pandemic.

Earlier today, Raj Chouhan became the first person of South Asian heritage to serve as Speaker of the B.C. legislature.

The Speaker's office says the former farm workers union leader and longtime member of the legislature is the first person of South Asian heritage to serve as a Speaker in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2020.