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Simons: Legislature session ends with some progress

Simons: Legislature session ends with some progress

simons chAfter more than 40 “Question Periods”, 26 Government-sponsored Bills (all passed), 37 Private Members Bills (none passed), 240 “two-minute statements”, and numerous Motions, the 5th Session of the 40th Parliament of the Province of BC has just ended in Victoria.

The Bills proposed by government were generally not contentious, and, with the exception of the Budget Bill and the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Amendment Act, which incidentally reduced our emissions targets, all Bills became law without a vote being called.

During this Session I raised concerns about a man with dementia who has been in an acute care hospital since July of last year, often restrained in his chair, instead of in a facility where he could live with more dignity.  His wife made sure her appreciation for the healthcare workers was noted.

I repeated my concern about the DriveABLE tests for seniors to the third Minister of Justice responsible.  I told him that the tests take too many capable senior drivers off the road.  Government is planning to make changes to the program in 2017.

Along with my colleagues I raised concerns about the changes in disability support payments that barely cover the new charge for a monthly fee for bus passes.  Recently a group of 160 organizations called for the government to reverse their changes.

I informed the Minister of Transportation that special BC Ferries deals for tourists to Vancouver Island hurt the tourism industry to the Sunshine Coast.  He said he would look into the matter.  I was told “home-porting” the new Salish Orca – which arrives in August – in Powell River, would cost too much, and that he  was aware of the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale on-time performance “problems”.

The Minister Responsible for Housing is acutely aware of the housing issues now facing the Sunshine Coast.  New initiatives to find ways to address the affordable housing crisis will be required to ensure our communities remain healthy and viable.

Two Upper-Sunshine Coast residents were awarded Community Achievement Awards at Government House.  Educator Jay Yule and Choral Conductor and Educator Don James –who is already a Member of the Order of Canada – were celebrated for their contributions to the community and to the Province.

Festivals, parades and summer fun are all part of the season.  I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy themselves.

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