NDP critical of short B.C. legislative session

Decision to have a one-month session slammed

Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser said the short legislative session makes it hard to hold the government to account.

Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser said the short legislative session makes it hard to hold the government to account.

If the Liberal government in B.C. is more transparent under Premier Christy Clark than under Gordon Campbell, Scott Fraser doesn’t see it.

The Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA, has just been named by NDP leader Adrian Dix as the Aboriginal Affairs critic, a job he held under former leader Carol James.

Fraser said he’s been scrambling to get the details of the province’s budget for his ministry prior to debating it in the legislature, a truncated process he said that was frustrating at best.

“We are sitting in a very short session,” he said. “They’ve crammed us into just a few weeks after not having sat for 10 months. We have a multi-billion dollar budget we need to debate and scrutinize, ministry by ministry, to ensure the public has scrutiny over how the purse is being spent. They cut us down to 90 hours for the entire budget. Last year was 140 hours, which in itself was way down from when we were government.”

On top of that, he said, he only has four hours allotted to debate the multi-million dollar ministry, with some details not made available until the day before he rose in the legislature to debate it. As well, some of the other ministries include aspects of Aboriginal relations, making the task even more onerous.

“The new natural resources ministry has as one of its functions, First Nations consultations,” Fraser said. “As well, the Jobs, Tourism and Innovation ministry has a section about aboriginal tourism now. For them to cut our hours to be able to scrutinize the budget, create new ministries and change the roles of ministries makes it very difficult to get the people’s work done here. If you were a cynic, you might  think that’s the plan.”

Fraser questioned why the legislature is scheduled to rise on June 2, with so much important work to be done.

 “Why aren’t we sitting through June?” he asked. “It seems the new leadership under Christy Clark is just as afraid of sitting in the legislature as the old one.”

 news@pqbnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The property at 113 and 161 Island Highway is currently being dismantled as the developer attempts to salvage ‘usable’ lumber for their development application to the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers application to staff for further improvements

(File photo)
RCMP warn of counterfeit bill use in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Police have received four calls in November regarding bogus bills

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Dr. Sandra Allison is Island Health’s medical health officer for the central Island. (Photo submitted)
OPINION: Don’t let fear take over during the pandemic

Central Island medical health officer shares her reflections riding the bus

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
Two Fraser Valley churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MP to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MacGregor’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Lake community comes together to help family get vital pool

Oliver Finlayson, 9, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and hydrotherapy is a big help

Most Read