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Simons: Progressive legislation in the works

Simons: Progressive legislation in the works

simons chWe New Democrat MLAs were busy when in opposition, but—no surprise—we’re more engaged than ever now that we’re in government.

I was pleased when Premier John Horgan assigned me the job of chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth, which oversees important matters close to my heart and relate directly to my work before I entered politics.

The committee members have now been named and we’ve had our first meeting. I’m thrilled that this body includes an MLA from the Green Party, four BC Liberals and five New Democrats. The Committee is balanced and inclusive.

Our job is to oversee and encourage a better understanding of the province’s child welfare system, among both the public and our fellow legislators, and to ensure improvements to that system. We’ll meet every two or three weeks, even when the legislature is not sitting.

Many other new government initiatives are in the works, more than I can include here. But I want to note two important bills we have presented to the Legislature: the Electoral Reform Referendum 2018 Act, and amendments to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.

The referendum on proportional representation, by mail-in ballot, would be held by November 2018, overseen by the chief electoral officer. The threshold will be a simple majority of 50%+1 vote province-wide. If a new voting system is approved, we will introduce legislation in time for the 2021 provincial general election. Public engagement will begin this fall on which voting systems should be on the ballot.

The Local Elections bill would prohibit union and corporate donations to municipal campaigns and limit annual individual donations to $1,200 per year, as we have done with provincial campaigns.

Work in Victoria takes up a lot of time, but thankfully I occasionally get back to the Coast.  In October, I went to the Howe Sound Forum, met with the Davis Bay/Wilson Creek Community Association, participated in Parliamentary Talkback on Coast TV with MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, went to the Gibsons Public Market Gala and had a question-and-answer session at a potluck lunch at Greenecourt Hall.

If you have a chance, check out the new permanent display of Squamish Nation art at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery. Squamish Nation artist Sinàmkin (Jody Broomfield) has designed the beautiful new facade for the Gallery’s exterior. I wish I could have been in attendance.

This year I will be marking Remembrance Day at the Legion on Texada Island.

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One comment

  1. Thanks to Nicholas Simons for his support of Proportional Representation, bringing our electoral system in to the 21st century.

    In the past, in BC, these people’s voices were silenced, women, First Nations, Japanese, Chinese, South Asians. Women did not get the right to vote until 1917. The other groups did not get the right to vote until the late 1940s.

    Today, while there is universal enfranchisement, the voices of a significant number of Canadians are silenced, not by federal or provincial decree, but by an antiquated electoral system, FPTP.

    FPTP does not recognize the votes of a group of voters who do not live in a riding in suffiecient numbers to obtain a majority. Their voices, though in the 10s of thousands in BC, are effectively silenced.

    Proportional representation listens to these voices and welcomes them to the chambers of power.

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