Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

Incoming Premier off to a slow start

MLA Lorne Doerkson’s column to the Free Press

Halfway into the fall legislative session, our Official Opposition has spent weeks calling for action on the critical issues facing British Columbians. Things like the health care crisis, the cost of living and rising rates of violent crime in our communities are on the top of everyone’s minds right now. People desperately want to see the current government acknowledge the seriousness of these problems and then take real, tangible steps to address them. Unfortunately, that is not happening, and we are watching these crises worsen.

Government is now resting its hope on David Eby, the previous attorney general and housing minister who recently became premier-designate — after driving his only rival out of the NDP leadership race. He is set to be officially sworn in on Nov. 18, nearly a month after he officially became premier-designate.

It’s an unusually long wait time for a premier to be sworn in, made even worse by the fact that he has decided to cancel the week of session that was set to take place in the days leading up to Nov. 18. This means four fewer days of Question Period to hold government to account and four fewer days to debate important legislation. For someone who has spoken so much about wanting to hit the ground running, it seems like our new premier is more afraid of facing the Official Opposition and his terrible track record on issues like crime and housing, than he is serious about getting to work for British Columbians.

The legislative session is critical to the work of government. It’s where we have the opportunity to make real changes, pass new laws, amend our current legislation, and have vital discussions about the issues facing British Columbians. In the midst of a health care crisis with one in five people in B.C. without a family doctor, with the highest fuel and housing prices in North America, and an average of four people being violently assaulted by strangers in Vancouver every day, you’d think that government would want to spend more time addressing these serious issues.

Eby’s decision is incredibly frustrating, and casts doubt on his commitment to take aggressive action. Shortening session means that he doesn’t have many bills he wants to pass or things he’d like to debate right away, which clearly contradicts all his talk of getting right to work. As it stands, Eby will only have one week of session as premier in 2022.

Before he has even been sworn in, our new premier has already signalled to British Columbians that he wants to spend as little time as possible working to solve the problems facing our province. Not the best first impression.


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