Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BC Liberal Government should not have cancelled the Fall Session of the Legislature

What's this you ask? It's BC's Parliamentary Calendar. Did you
know we have legislation that states the BC Legislature will have
a full Spring session and a full Fall session. In fact, we should be
returning to work in the legislature on 1st Monday in October until
the last Thursday of November


HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the
Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia,
enacts as follows:

Fixed Calendar Established
1 (1) In each calendar year the Legislative Assembly shall meet:

(a) second Tuesday in February to the last Thursday in May inclusive; and

(b) the first Monday in October to the last Thursday in November inclusive.
Dear Saanich South,

The Finance Minister and House Leader held a news conference today to present a quarterly budget update.

He also stated the Legislature will not sit this Fall.

With respect to the budget update: just a few short months ago the BC Government claimed the Budget would have a $197 million surplus. By this June, that surplus estimate was reduced to $153 million. Today it was again re-adjusted downwards to $136 million. And don’t forget, this razor-thin surplus includes a fire-sale of public assets - a one-time infusion of cash that creates a permanent loss to the BC public. At the same time as the government misses its budget targets, the private sector continues to lose jobs and people continue to leave the province to find work.

I also want to address the announcement that the Fall Session of the Legislature will be cancelled.
Legislative Sessions are a fundamental part of the democratic process.  It is a time when all the elected representatives of the province gather together to debate and advance the interests of the province. It is a time when the governing party can be held publicly to account and forced to face tough questions. And it is the ONLY time the critical work of governing – passing laws – can take place. And yet the BC Legislature will sit for only thirty-six days this entire year.

As the party holding a majority in the Legislature, the BC Liberals decide when the House sits. In my opinion, their choice to cancel the Fall session is disrespectful to British Columbians.

And it is not as if there isn’t any work to do! As a few examples, the Opposition is calling for critical changes to the Water Act, clarity on the LNG revenue framework, action to deal with the likely double-digit BC Hydro Rate hikes and new rules to reign in the excessive executive bonuses at BC Ferries.

Regardless of when the House next sits, I will continue to speak out on such issues, work hard on the priorities of my constituency and pursue progressive change in the areas of Critic portfolio: Small Business, Tourism, Arts & Culture.

Please contact me if you require assistance with the BC government or have concerns regarding provincial affairs.

Lana Popham
MLA, Saanich South