It’s been a busy summer, and as usual, it has gone by far too quickly. With the election in May, it took a long time to begin the transition of power; first there were the discussions between the NDP and the Green Party which concluded in an agreement to govern, then there was the mini-Session that predictably saw the government defeated, then there was the drama over whether or not the Lieutenant Governor would dissolve the House or give us a try; then there was the swearing-in. Finally, BC had a new government after 16 years. When the Session begins on September 8, the new government will continue on the roll it’s on.
Wildfires have hit BC harder than ever before. The disruption and the stress has resulted in a predictable response from British Columbians, with people opening their homes, hearts, and pockets to help with generosity and compassion. We feel for those affected, and value all who have had a hand in helping on or near the front lines, and thank those from the Sunshine Coast who have been called into service. The Red Cross continues to accept donations, and the Province has extended the State of Emergency.
By the time the Session begins on Friday the 8th (check local listings), our government will already have implemented a series of policy changes that we promised during the campaign. Government increased the amount people receive on assistance by $100, the first increase in a decade. It banned the trophy hunting of grizzly bears, announced an increase in the minimum wage, initiated a review of Site C, started our efforts against pipeline expansion, waived post-secondary tuition for youth who had been in care, eliminated tolls on two bridges, and created a Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions. I’m looking forward to the ferry promises being put into effect.
I have been appointed the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth, and look forward to the responsibilities that come with the role. While it is already one of the most active committees, Premier John Horgan has committed to using the mandate and resources of Legislative Committees to their fullest. The Committee fosters a better understanding of our Province’s child-serving system among legislators and the general public. Two issues that deserve careful investigation include the on-going discriminatory funding system for child welfare services for First Nations, and the challenges to youth “aging-out” of the system.
I have spoken with Minister Trevena (Transportation) about the need for improved highway infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast. I have also spoken to Minister Robinson (Housing) who reminded me that because our housing plan will take time to roll-out, we have to find temporary solutions – like the proposed shelter in Sechelt. I have spoken to Minister Dix (Health) about our need for more long-term care beds, and the issues surrounding the Trellis application. Minister Conroy (Child and Families) has heard from me on a few files.
Please contact Kim or Maggie at either one of my offices –and please visit the Legislature if you happen to be in Victoria this fall.