The fall sitting of the legislature ended last week, and I’m pleased to be able to point to some of the milestones already reached under our new government
New legislation we initiated and passed means big money has been disempowered in our provincial politics, whether from business, unions, or from interests of any kind in this country or offshore. Political contributions will be strictly limited. Political parties will be beholden to no one but the voters.
Another new law has just come into effect that enables a mail-in referendum on proportional representation next fall. A combined 57 per cent of voters cast ballots last May for New Democrats and Greens, and both parties promised action toward electoral reform
I believe proportional representation would ensure that the voices in the legislature more reflect voices in the province, and lead to more creative co-operation among political parties.
You can participate in shaping the content of the referendum. The government has posted a questionnaire, which will be available online until Feb. 28. A link to the questionnaire is at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/howwevote/.
Progress also has been made on another issue important to residents of our riding: the DriveABLE assessment for vehicle drivers. The new government has eliminated the computer test and has reinstituted the ICBC enhanced road test. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie has said the new assessment process will “represent a major improvement from the past system and will make the processes much less stressful for those seniors required to undertake a road test.”
I have met with both the Minister of Forests and the Environment Minister regarding the contentious matter of potential logging in Wilson Creek cut block EW28, also known as the Chanterelle Forest. The ministries are striving to strike a balance among all stakeholders. But it appears there is little hope of currently blocking the cut on the basis of a possible threat to the local elk population, or by moving the boundary of Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park. But park boundary expansion has not been ruled out in the future.
The MLA offices will be closed during the last week of December and the first week of January. On behalf of Constituency Assistants Maggie Hathaway and Kim Tournat, and all the volunteers, I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.