Seniors issues were front and centre in the Legislature this week. There have been a number of deaths of seniors in care which have hit the headlines. Despite repeated questions, the Liberal government has been able to offer little comfort to families or to those looking at care options for themselves or their elderly relatives.
As opposition we have been pushing for an independent advocate for seniors, similar to the Representative for Children and Youth, and this week we tabled bills in the Legislature which would see this position created. It is doubtful the Liberal government will allow these private members bills see the light of day, but for the sake of our seniors they most certainly should take them seriously.
While it is ignoring the needs of seniors and doing nothing about the growing disparity between the rich and the poor in our province, the government has in Question Period continued to defend the big bonuses paid to BC Hydro executives, BC Ferries executives and CLBC executives.
The crisis in Community Living BC continues, with no action from the Minister, leaving many people with developmental disabilities vulnerable. Our leader, Adrian Dix, and the rest of the opposition have repeatedly raised this critical issue in Question Period and in debates. While I hear from families in our own communities who are facing problems with CLBC, we, in Campbell River, are extremely lucky to have the excellent services of the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living. I was able to acknowledge its 50th anniversary of the organization
in the Legislature.
BC’s history of work with the developmentally disabled is not good; part of that sad legacy is those who were institutionalised at Woodlands School. As opposition we have been fighting for compensation for everyone who attended that school. Adrian Dix and I raised this in Question Period
, but received a cold response from a Premier who seems to care more about her upcoming trade trip to China than the people of BC.
The government is still claiming that shipping our jobs to China is the best way to rebuild our economy. We showed the hypocrisy of this with the example of a mill in the northwest of the province. It reopened, with the Premier in attendance, in the summer and was closed by autumn because it can’t get logs. Those logs are going to China. The Premier got her photo-opportunity and the workers got their pink slips.
We have been raising issues important to our forest dependent communities over the last couple of weeks. The government introduced a bill which would allow woodlot licensees to take their private land parcel out of the woodlot. I was able to talk about the importance of the woodlot programme
to our communities and to ask about what the government hoped to achieve by making such a move.
We also have been examining a worrying piece of legislation - the Natural Resource Compliance Act. There is almost no detail in the bill which is supposed to define the role of a Natural Resource Officer. This is a job under the new super-ministry, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The bill provides no detail and the minister gave me no assurances that it would not mean that a forests officer has to do the job of a mine inspector, or a mines officer do the work of a conservation officer
. With many hundreds of job cuts over the last few years in these ministries it seems to be a further means of slashing costs. Inevitably it will seriously reduce protection for our land base.
We were able to agree with the government on a bill which will be important for health care in our communities. The role of Nurse Practitioners is being expanded; As some of you know, I have advocated doing this for years and I spoke in support of the bill
because of the ways it could improve health care provision to communities across the North Island. I was also able to talk about the extraordinary Delaware Project, run by John Howard Society of North Island
, which works with street entrenched youth in Campbell River. It has done a great job with a hard to reach group of young people over the last six months and now could close because of lack of funding. I hope the Minister was listening.The bi-partisan committee for Children and Youth met this week
to hear from the Hon. Ted Hughes on his thoughts about the role of the Representative for Children and Youth. Our deliberations will be continuing into the new year and we are taking written submissions.
As critic for children and youth I addressed the general meeting of the Federation of Community Social Services last week, talking about the priorities we have as an Opposition as well as approaches I am taking.
In the coming week we won’t be in the Legislature, because it is the Remembrance Day week. I will be splitting my time between the constituency and my critic duties. Of course on November 11th I will be one of many thousands of people at a Cenotaph, remembering and recognising those who have died in conflicts.
I can always be reached at the community office: 1 250 287 5100 in Campbell River or 1 866 387 5100 toll free. Work is underway at setting up the office in Port Hardy and we’ll share numbers there when we have them. You can also contact me on email at claire.trevena.mlaleg.bc.ca , friend me on Facebook or follow me on twitter clairetrevena.