Debate in the Legislature has continued on the few pieces of legislation the BC Liberals have brought forward this spring. As I have mentioned in previous reports there is nothing of great significance although there is a cynical and manipulative approach to it.
Glaring in its omission is any legislation which will deal with campaign finance reform. After revelations in the Globe and Mail that lobbyists are channeling money to the governing party through individuals – apparently in contravention to Elections BC regulations – the need seems even more stark.
We did ask questions on this in the House but this tired and corrupt government would admit no wrong and the Speaker claimed our questions were out of order. BC is described as the “wild west” of campaign finance because of a lack of rules and no limit on donations to political parties from vested interests. So we were not surprised when Christy Clark again refused to debate the bills we have tabled in the Legislature which would fix this.
And remember the “triple delete” scandal when the BC Liberals were purposefully destroying records on meetings and decision making? Well two months ahead of election day they brought in a bill which would demand civil servants document how decisions are reached. For most jurisdictions this would be common practice but in BC the government has to be forced to act and even that act falls short of what was asked for by the Information and Privacy commissioner.
I raised with the Minister of Environment the diesel spill from the fish farm off Echo Bay *. I was concerned about the clean up and the fact that First Nations in the area – who are already upset about the industry in their traditional territories — had not been involved. The Minister gave no assurances that this would not happen again, not that they would be any better prepared to deal with the leak, or that First Nations would be involved in the future.
I have been talking with the First Nations and they are not happy with the government’s attitude or response.
We’ve also been questioning again the problems of hospital overcrowding. The Minister of Health blames flu season, but we have been giving example after example of people stuck in hospital hallways because of lack of space.
It was with sadness that I asked the House to have a moment of silence for the four people from Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, killed in a car crash on Highway 28. I immediately followed up with the Minister of Transportation about the condition of that highway through this winter. I have had many people contact me about the sub- standard condition of our roads this winter – from pot holes to poor or non existent snow clearance – and have been in regular touch with the Ministry about the maintenance contract which comes up for renewal this year.
Campbell River firefighters were in Victoria this week to lobby for a change the Workers Compensation Act to better protect their members who contract various cancers as a result of their work. We also discussed the impact of stress on our firefighters an it was with pleasure that I introduced the president of the union local in Campbell River to the House.
I came back to Campbell River mid-week to celebrate International Women’s Day with NDP leader John Horgan at the event at Thunderbird Hall. It was a joyful way to acknowledge women in all our communities. Ahead of it, we announced a number of measures which we hope will keep women and children safer; these include putting resources towards community based victim services and to shorten wait lists for stopping the violence counselling.
It has been an extremely long winter for all of us, and with the two tiered hydro rates and the massive increase in rates that the BC Liberals have introduced I know many people are struggling with their bills. Please get in touch with my office if you feel that they are excessive.
You can reach me by phone at 250 287 5100 in Campbell River or in Port Hardy at 250 949 9473, by email at Claire.email@example.com. I’m also on Facebook and occasionally on Twitter @clairetrevena.
*If you are having problems with this link go to: https://www.leg.bc.ca/documents-data/debate-transcripts/40th-parliament/6th-session/20170306pm-Hansard-v42n11#14088