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Simons: Here’s to new beginnings

Simons: Here’s to new beginnings

simons chIsn’t this an interesting beginning to the next chapter in B.C. politics. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the historic swearing-in of a New Democratic Party government for B.C. Also, the resignation of Christy Clark, who announced on July 28 that she’s giving up the Liberal Party leadership and her seat in the legislature.

Although the resignation came sooner than expected, the former premier’s departure was not a surprise. Ms. Clark and I may have had deep political disagreements over the years, but personally, I wish her well in her future endeavours outside politics.

The formal transfer of power on July 19, with the oath-taking by new Premier John Horgan (how long I’ve waited to be able to say that as a fact!) and members of the government, was a very happy occasion. I’m honoured and grateful to continue to represent Powell River-Sunshine Coast, and to Chair the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth.

The Committee is one of nine permanent all-party committees of the Legislature. The Committee works to foster greater awareness and understanding among MLAs and the public of B.C.’s child and youth-serving system.

All my caucus colleagues are ready to put action to our promises.

The 15-per-cent reduction in ferry fares on Sunshine Coast routes is coming, plus a return of the 100-per-cent weekday discount for seniors. Income assistance and disability assistance will be going up, as promised, by $100 a month. That will start with the cheques received in September. Many other initiatives also will soon be underway when the legislature resumes, including the culmination of the NDP’s years-long effort to ban big money in our provincial elective process.

On the local front, we are seeing interesting possible changes in the Trellis Seniors Services plans to build a care home on the Coast. The potential move of the project from Sechelt to Gibsons, announced in late July, could have many ramifications. And we have since learned that Trellis is keeping its options open, perhaps retaining its interest in the Sechelt property for future considerations. We don’t know yet how all this might affect the complex contract that Vancouver Coastal Health has with the company.

The NDP is opposed to the privatization of health care, period. Meanwhile, the need for senior-care beds is urgent. I have spoken with our new Health Minister, Adrian Dix, about the situation and have been assured it is a high priority.

My constituency offices are up and running, as always, if you need to contact me. On the Lower Coast, Constituency Assistant Kim Tournat is again staffing our Davis Bay office and can be reached at (604) 741-0792. In Powell River, we’re still on Marine Avenue, where you can get in touch with Constituency Assistant Maggie Hathaway at (604) 485-1249.

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