As I look back over my second full year as MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin, I am struck by how immensely grateful I am for this region — the thousands of wonderful, committed individuals I serve every day, the communities we get to call home, and the work we do together.
2022 has been a year of transition and change. We have reopened our province after a challenging few years, faced dramatic climate events, health care and other crises, and we have a new Premier and cabinet.
Through it all, I have done my best to make sure the needs of Cariboo-Chilcotin are being heard. I have made speeches on gas prices, nursing, childcare providers, pulp and paper producers, wildfire preparedness and more. I’ve asked questions about government’s response to violent crime, prolific offenders, and the health care crisis, and met with thousands of constituents and stakeholders, hearing about the issues that matter most to British Columbians.
This year, I was pleased to see government finally cancel the NDP’s controversial plan to claw back individualized funding for children with autism — I just wish the NDP had acted sooner and saved families considerable stress and anxiety.
Unfortunately, the government hasn’t made an impact on many other big issues facing people every day. Life remains more unaffordable than ever. Grocery bills are staggering, home ownership is out of reach for most young people, rents have skyrocketed, and there is still no sign of the $400 renters’ rebate the NDP first promised in 2017.
Our health care system remains in crisis, with frequent closures in hospital emergency departments. One in five people doesn’t have a family doctor, one million people are waiting to see a specialist, and wait times in our ERs and walk-in clinics are often several hours long. Our ambulance service needs more support, as some patients are forced to wait in agony for hours until help arrives. The drug toxicity crisis rages on, with far too many people losing their lives each day.
It’s clear heading into 2023 that there is no shortage of important issues demanding the government’s attention. We have heard this government promise numerous times to address these critical challenges. I don’t doubt they want to fix them, but promises only have value when they are kept. Words are nice, but outcomes are what make a real difference in people’s lives.
I sincerely hope 2023 is a year of results, a year of growth, and positive steps forward for our wonderful province.