Monday, September 30, 2013

A day in the life!

Sept 30, 2013 with MLA Gary Holman, Saanich North.
Meetings done for the day in Cranbrook, about to fly to Trail
Dear Saanich South,

It is an honour to be on the BC Legislative Assembly’s “Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services”.

This Committee began its work on September 10 2013 and we will continue to hold public hearings until mid-October. Our primary role is to seek public input on next year’s provincial budget.

The MLA Members of this Committee are: Dan Ashton (Chair), Mike Farnworth (Deputy Chair), Mable Elmore, Eric Foster, Scott Hamilton, Gary Holman, Marvin Hunt, Jackie Tegart, John Yap and me.

The Committee is holding 22 public hearings all over the province.

(If you are interested in participating, please contact the Parliamentary Committees Office by phone, 1-877-428-8337, or by e-mail:FinanceCommittee@leg.bc.ca. Or you can submit a written, audio or video submission here or complete an online survey here. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, October 16, 2013.)

This week we are in Cranbrook, Trail, Kelowna, Nanaimo (and Courtenay and Vernon by video conference). Next week is Dawson Creek, Prince George, William’s Lake, Smithers and Prince Rupert. If you know BC, you know that is a lot of travelling!!! (The week after we will wrap up with video-conferences to include Quesnel, Fort St. John and Terrace.)

You can find a list of public hearing locations here. You are welcome to attend as an observer as well.

Here are the public hearings tomorrow:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Columbia Room, Best Western Plus, 1001 Rossland Avenue, Trail
Public Hearing

Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Council Chambers, Penticton City Hall, 171 Main Street, Penticton
Public Hearing

In between the hearings we have many long hours of travel. The schedule is quite gruelling we are often on the go for 12-15 hours day.

But I’m not complaining!

Each presenter gets up to ten minutes with an additional five minutes for questions. People often have clearly spent many hours preparing their remarks…and on subjects they often have great expertise in.

Last Thursday, for example, we were in Victoria and heard from: 
  • Simka Marshall, Camosun College Student Society
  • Jamie Cassels, President of UVIC and Dr. Allan Cahoon, President of Royal Roads University
  • Blair Qualey, New Car Dealers Association of British Columbia
  • Kathleen Gibson and Linda Geggie, B.C. Food Systems Network
  • Kimberley Nemrava, Director for the Red Cross in British Columbia and Yukon
  • Carol Matusicky, Chair of the Board Voice Society of British Columbia
  • Wendy King. Senior Vice-President of Government Relations and General Counsel, and Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist, Central 1 Credit Union
  • Jim Reed, President of B.C. Colleges
  • Rod Bealing, Executive Director at Private Forest Landowners Association, Owner at Working Woodlands Holdings Ltd
  • Rachel Barr, Executive Director of External Relations and Nadia Hamdon, Executive Director of Student Affairs, both with the UVIC Students Society
  • Shelley Mann, President of the Victoria Real Estate Board 
  • Peter Sandmark, Executive Director and Ivan Habel, President, Professional Arts Alliance of Greater Victoria
  • Mavis DeGirolamo behalf of a concerned coalition of citizens working with immigrant settlement legal- and health-related issues.
  • Alan Martin, B.C. Wildlife Federation 
  • Beverley Gutray, CEO and Jonathan Morris, Director of Public Policy, Canadian Mental Health Association, British Columbia division.
  • Peter Lockie, VP of administration and Chief Financial Officer, Camosun College
  • Kelly Hayes, Midwives Association of British Columbia
  • John FitzGerald. Director of government and regulatory affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada
  • Wendy Pattenden, CEO of the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific
  • Peter Lawless, Coaches of Canada
  • Teresa Rezansoff, British Columbia School Trustees Association

That is just one day! As you can imagine, our challenge as Committee members is digesting all the information we get.

But there is a team from Hansard travelling with us and recording everything. So we can go back and review when preparing our report or doing our work in the future. These presentations have helped me understand the complexity of many key issues in BC. I want to sincerely thank everyone who participates in this process.

Another benefit of Hansard being with us is that the presentations are available for the public as well. The transcripts are here…try searching for keywords that interest you!

This type of Committee work is a really important part of our democratic process….and if it is done with an open-mind and a willingness to learn it will have a big impact on important decisions made at the Legislature.

It has been a very long day, but I wanted to take a little more time before bed (ok, I’m in bed right now J) to finish up this update.

Thanks for reading.

Best, Lana