Friday, March 12, 2010

Update: A Week in the House!

Dear Saanich South,

Hello everyone! As you know, the BC Legislature resumed sitting just over a week ago and I've been going full-out on your behalf. It is a privilege, thank you!

A few brief updates...

Cycling
More than 5000 cyclists are now supporting my efforts to "make the BC government bike-friendly again". We had a fantastic rally. In the process, we've exposed an inconvenient truth: the BC government is undermining its own green initiatives with decisions such as the recent one to raise taxes on bikes, bike gear, and bike repairs by 7%. Visit my website www.squeakywheels.ca or watch this three minute /A\ Channel news report about it.

Our government is currently giving tax breaks to the most polluting forms of transportation and raising taxes on the most environmentally friendly forms of transportation! They've got it backwards.

Safe Roads in Saanich
There was another serious accident at Sayward and the Pat Bay Highway on Tuesday. Ironically, the day before it happened I spoke up in the Legislature and demanded the government prioritize improvements for this intersection. It is one of the most dangerous on the Vancouver Island and a government-commissioned report has highly recommended low-cost improvements be made immediately. Here is a short Hansard clip of what I said in the House. (All of the following clips are from Hansard and many not work on all browsers.)

Autism
In the last week I also rose in the Legislature to speak about the very problematic decision to cut funding for intensive therapy for children with autism. Early Intensive Behaviour Therapy (EIBI) is proven to produce significant results, allowing children to experience a tremendous improvement in the quality of their life. It also saves us millions in long-term care costs and leads to millions of dollars in economic value as autistic children are better able to contribute meaningfully to society. I join with many in working to persuade Minister Polak to reconsider this decision. In the Legislature, I spoke about one constituent in a particular, Hollie Davis, and her wonderful son Cooper. A short video clip is here.

Agriculture
As a farmer, this subject is incredibly important to me. I was very frustrated that in the Budget presented this week the government decided to again slash funding from agricultural supports. Our BC Orchards are facing extinction, unable to compete with products dumped in from nearby states or driven in from thousands of kilometres away. Our cattleman are asked to work in near impossible business conditions and under a deeply flawed regulatory regime. And the current government is walking away.

Buy BC! For example, now is the time for great local apples and squash. In a few months, the fresh local strawberries and so much more will be here. (Just hold on, the wait will make you enjoy them even more!)


Sustainability
As you know, it is my guiding political principle. I was proud of the speech made this week by my colleague, Bob Simpson, MLA for Cariboo North, and the Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. In a short paragraph he concluded his Response to the Budget with a clear expression of what sustainability means and why it is so important. Click here to watch that video clip.

Hope you are well. Please keep in touch.

Lana Popham

PS. Now I'm off to Vancouver to work all weekend!