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)

Reflecting on fall at the legislature

MLA Lorne Doerkson’s column to the Free Press

It’s hard to believe that the fall legislative session started only eight weeks ago.

In the space of just two months, we have a new premier, we’re set to have a new cabinet, and in Victoria we’ve been trying to keep up with a very busy legislative agenda. The NDP introduced many important bills which, as Official Opposition, our BC Liberal Caucus must carefully examine and debate.

Unfortunately, instead of having the usual time to fully debate those bills, which have now become law in our province, the government removed a week from the schedule and then cut short the time for discussion on numerous important issues.

The explanation given for this change was to accommodate the swearing-in of the new premier, even though it took place on a day that wouldn’t have interfered with the normal operation of the legislature. Because of this decision, there are many questions about the legislation passed this session left unasked and unanswered.

It’s deeply frustrating, not just because it goes against the principles that usually guide our Legislature, but also because there is so much work that still needs to be done on behalf of British Columbians.

We know we are in the middle of an affordability crisis, with gas prices still unacceptably high. Where are the new measures from the government to address the cost of fuel, groceries and housing? My colleague MLA Peter Milobar introduced a bill last week that would allow the government to temporarily suspend some of the taxes on gas in B.C. — why not call it for debate so we can leave more money in people’s pockets as we head into the holiday season?

As the situation continues to grow more critical, we have still heard very little from Premier David Eby and Health Minister Adrian Dix about what they are going to do to fix our crumbling health care system. A system that is in such a crisis that it is now costing people their lives. And shockingly, information also came to light in this session that shows that during his time as housing minister, Eby buried reports revealing serious financial and organizational mismanagement at BC Housing.

It’s disappointing that the government brought the session to a close before making a serious effort to tackle these critical issues facing our province. I was sincerely hoping that once in office, Eby would defy expectations and act quickly to truly provide the relief and reassurance that people so desperately need right now.

However, the last few weeks have been full of missed opportunities and half-measures. British Columbians deserve better.


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