BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO                                Claire Trevena is the Minister of Transportation and the MLA for the North Island.

BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO Claire Trevena is the Minister of Transportation and the MLA for the North Island.

Claire Trevena’s MLA Report: I must apologize to you

“I’m unfortunately no longer able draft a weekly report in order to keep you so up to date.”

It has been an exciting few months as we started what we hope and anticipate will be four years in government. A great deal has happened since the session began in September and a great deal more is in the works for the coming months.

But first I must apologise to you. From having been a regular correspondent, usually with a weekly email report when the Legislature was in session, I’m unfortunately no longer able draft a weekly report in order to keep you so up to date with legislative developments. While it is truly an honour to be a Minister in this government, the increased workload means I have far less time to keep people informed on what is happening. But I assure you I will continue to write and send reports as often as the work demands permit.

Our first three months in the Legislature have been busy. It is hard to say what is the ‘most’ important piece of legislation that has been brought forth – and is now law – but I would suggest that our approach to campaign finance has been foundational. No longer can BC be labeled, as the New York Times headlined, the “wild west” of election financing. We have passed a bill that will end donations from corporations and from unions and will limit personal donations to $1,200 a year. For too long people have looked at BC election financing almost as governments up for sale. John Horgan’s government has cleaned that up.

And we have taken the first steps to electoral reform with legislation that clears the way for a referendum next year to decide whether BC should move ahead with proportional representation.

We have also started to tackle social justice and inequality. We have an ambitious plan for housing across the province with thousands of new homes to be built in all areas: whether it is in Campbell River or Surrey we know there is a shortage of affordable housing. The welfare and disability rates have been raised $100 a month and we’ve started on a poverty reduction strategy. And we have a fair wage commission looking at how we can achieve the $15 an hour minimum wage as quickly as possible.

As Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure I’ve been working on a number of areas including trying to “green” the sector. That means putting investment into transit and recognising that you cannot build your way out of congestion with more and more highways. I received a great deal of flak for the decision to halt the planned 10-lane bridge as a replacement for the Massey Tunnel. But it was the emphatic view of all but one of the communities in the affected region that their priorities were public transit and densification not a big bridge, wider highways and more traffic. The BC Liberals ignored these community priorities.

I’ve been travelling around the province seeing the needs of our highway system firsthand. And I am very aware of the issues impacting the North Island’s road system. I’ve been working with the Ministry on fixing the Junction at Highway 19 and Campbell Way in Port McNeill. The most senior executive of the Highways Division of my Ministry has toured all our roads and we’re working on priorities. We’ve been in serious negotiations about the road to Zeballos. And a top priority for me is the impact Western Forest Products closure of its log haul rail line will have on Highway 19 and the road to Beaver Cove.

Like most North Islanders I was disappointed by WFP’s decision to end hauling by rail and moving to trucks. The accident in Woss earlier this year was a tragedy for the community and the loss of jobs because of this change is a further blow. In addition the reduction in number of log sorts will inevitably hit our region. I will be meeting North Island mayors to discuss the impacts to communities in the coming weeks.

Of course, our marine highway continues to be central to the work that I am doing. As you may have heard, Premier Horgan has said, “everything is on the table” when it comes to BC Ferries. We are committed to cutting fares in the next budget and doing a thorough review of the system. BC Ferries in its current form is a law unto itself. Under the structure the BC Liberals put in place, it is virtually untouchable by the government even though it is the main shareholder. This is because the share is held at arm’s length. This means it is impossible to compel BC Ferries does anything: the corporation can unilaterally decide what it wants to do. I’m not prejudging the outcome of the review of its structure and operational mandate but my bottom line is that BC Ferries must work for our communities, not the corporation.

While most of my time has been taken in Victoria and around the province, I was pleased to be able to spend a week in the constituency around Remembrance Day. It was a busy week: the official opening of our Campbell River hospital was held and I was pleased the Citizens for Quality Healthcare got special notice for their hard work in getting this new hospital for our community. I also used the week to meet with individual constituents facing challenges with the system.

And now the Legislature has risen following a full fall session. We’ll be back in Victoria in February. But I will be active both around the constituency as your MLA and in Victoria and around the province as the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

If you are in Campbell River on December 18th, come by my Community Office at 908 Island Highway for our annual Christmas Open House. You can always get hold of me at Claire.trevena.mla@leg.bc.ca. You can of course call the Campbell River office at 1 250 287 5100 and Port Hardy at 1 250 949 9473. My very best wishes for this holiday season, Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and MLA for North Island

Just Posted

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Blueprints for the seniors housing project in Port Hardy. (North Island Seniors Housing Foundation photo)
BC Housing declines North Island Seniors Housing Foundation’s proposal to build units

BC Housing will be explaining why exactly the project was declined at a June 18 meeting

An aerial view of the marine oil-spill near Bligh Island in Nootka sound that the Canadian Coast Guard posted in a live social media feed in December. ( Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Oil from vessel that sank in 1968 off Vancouver Island to be removed

DFO hires Florida firm to carefully remove oil from MV Schiedyk in Nootka Sound starting in mid-June

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read