Fall Legislature closure undermines MLAs

Legislature closure hampers the ability of MLAs to serve the public.

Imagine a stunningly beautiful place with abundant natural resources that are exported offshore at an unsustainable rate. Imagine a place where one out of every four children is not ready to enter school. Imagine a place where once kids do get to school many of them are going there hungry because there’s no food at home (if they have a home). Imagine a place where the head of government decides to shut down the parliament and govern by decree.

Most of us in the liberal west would decry this as a dictatorship, a banana republic, a place of extremes where democracy has been stifled.

But look in the mirror, BC. This is what is happening here. Once again our Legislature will not be sitting this autumn. That means your democratically elected representatives, won’t be in Victoria from May 2012 through to February 2013. We have been in the legislature only 48 days this year.

Democracy 101: a democracy works because one political party has been given an elected mandate to govern and other political parties hold it to account. Democracy is not perfect but it is a system of balances, of give and take, of criticism and compromise. It is not about saying, as this Premier and her predecessor did, that debate is pointless or it’s busy work or it is, to quote Ms Clark, “sick”.

To do so undermines the trust that every single person has put into process when they have gone to vote. And that in turn puts in jeopardy the cohesion of our communities and our society.

The North Island is a resource rich constituency. Our forests are magnificent and a value to us for logging, for tourism, for hunting and for foraging. I, along with my opposition colleagues, have questioned the level of raw log exports. The Minister of Forests is advised, by an independent committee, about whether the logs a company wants to export are surplus to what is required by mills here in BC. If they are surplus, they can be exported. The Minister overruled that committee more than 80 times in just a few months, allowing logs to be shipped offshore that could and should have been used here. As the Opposition we were able to hold the minister to account when the legislature was, briefly, in session. But because the Premier has decided the Legislature will not have a fall session, the Forest Minister can do what he wants: without questions, without scrutiny.

As the Opposition Critic for Children and Family Development I have a responsibility to the province’s most vulnerable kids and to taxpayers to ask questions of the new minister. At the top of my list is how can this ministry, which is so overstretched, be spending $192 million on a computer system which is creating huge problems and could cost millions more to fix. That’s a lot of money to spend without scrutiny, without questions or debate. But that’s what she will be able to do.

As the MLA for the North Island I am extremely proud to represent my constituents and constituency in the Legislature. I try to ensure that the wide range of voices that makes up this wonderful place are heard – the voices of parents, of workers, of communities, the voices of First Nations, the voices of new Canadians. I talk about our access to health care, the cost of post secondary education, our economic future and the damage done to the ferry system, our marine highway.

Your voices, which I take with me to Victoria, are silenced because the Premier has decided to keep your Legislature closed and govern by decree.

Our democracy is fragile. It will continue to be abused when people do not defend it. I realize that life is busy and people are overworked; many are weary or, sadly, cynical about whether it’s worth doing anything.

But I hope that more and more people will say publicly that the Premier has no right to act as an autocrat, to close the doors of your parliament, that no single person should have the ability to shut down our democratic system and silence your voices.

So this fall I will be spending time in the constituency – working with you to find solutions to our communities’ problems – and also will be on the road both as your representative and as critic for Ministry of Children and Family Development.  I would like to hear from you about your issues of concern and your views on this attack on our democratic system.

You can always reach me by phone on 250 287 5100 in Campbell River, 1 866 387 5100 toll free, by email at Claire.trevena.mla@leg.bc.ca or friend me on Facebook or follow me @clairetrevena on Twitter. I hope to re-open the Port Hardy office by the end of October.

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy RCMP issues warning about recent overdose

“Our primary concern is public safety. We are urging the public to be aware of what is circulating.”

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Tri-Port Midget Wild finish season with gold medal performance

The other teams were no match for the Tri-Port girls.

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read