Mid-Island Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser speaks to his constituents at the Italian Hall in Port Alberni following his re-election on May 9. — Elena Rardon photo

Mid Island/Pacific Rim MLA contemplates new role

Fraser applauds NDP-Green agreement after 12 years in opposition

NDP and Green MLAs, including Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser, met at the B.C. legislature on Tuesday to sign an agreement, which was forwarded with a letter to British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor Wednesday morning, asking for consideration of the NDP’s status to govern.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to work together co-operatively,” said Fraser, of the co-operation agreement between the B.C. NDP and the B.C. Green Party. “It’s an example to show how a government under proportional representation can work.”

Fraser has held the MLA seat in the mid-Island for 12 years, but this is the first time the Liberals have not held the majority during his tenure.

“Twelve years in opposition, first time in government,” he laughed. “It’s pretty cool.”

The Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding, which was changed following the last provincial election in 2013, includes Coombs, Hilliers and Errington, and the area ranging from North Qualicum Beach to Deep Bay.

The co-operation agreement between the NDP and the B.C. Greens calls for a number of changes, including increasing carbon tax, cutting MSP premiums and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The full agreement can be found at bcndpcaucus.ca.

“We’ve agreed to support the government,” he said. “Every member of caucus. It was a pretty exciting time.”

He added, “We’re going to implement the platform that the people of British Columbia want to see. One where everyone benefits, not just the wealthy and corporate sector. Both the NDP and Greens support a government that’s more representative.”

Fraser said that he doesn’t necessarily expect a cabinet position.

He has been appointed as the caucus whip by NDP leader John Horgan while the party is in opposition, which is a top position.

“John’s said that he has other plans for me,” Fraser confirmed. “I will serve at whatever position is asked of me by our leader, and our leader right now is the premier.”

BC Liberal leader Christy Clark is still considered the premier of the province. On Tuesday, Clark announced that she will call for a sitting of the legislature “in June”, when it is likely the BC NDP will call for a vote of non-confidence.

“We have a duty to meet the house and test its confidence,” Clark told reporters in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday, adding that she believes it is “likely” the Liberals would fail.

“If there is going to be a transfer of power in this province, and it certainly seems like there will be, it shouldn’t be done behind closed doors,” Clark said.

“It should happen in public as constitutional convention tells us it should.”

— With files from Katya Slepian, Black Press

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