General News · 18th November 2013
The Agriculture Minister allegedly using his position to influence a decision by the Agricultural Land Commission (which he wants to disband); the Premier saying that meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets is far less important than exploiting and exporting liquefied natural gas; millions of dollars misspent on child welfare; the continued massive mismanagement of BC Hydro: these are just some of the reasons the government decided they did not want to be held accountable and have the Legislature sitting this autumn.
There are of course many other reasons the BC Liberals want to avoid scrutiny but these alone should be enough to humble a government, if not bring it to its knees. Sadly, in BC, the arrogance of the BC Liberals knows no bounds.
In the coming days, coastal communities will be told which of their ferry services are going to be cut. The government has appointed a (politically supportive) consultant to hold “community engagement” meetings. This time they are not even pretending it is a consultation or a discussion. In Port Hardy there is one on the 20th November; Quadra Island is December 9th. Interestingly there is no meeting on the Alert Bay-Sointula-Port McNeill run – that hopefully means at least those communities won’t see any cuts. As both MLA and as transportation critic I will be at as many of the meetings as possible around the province and will argue that reducing service is like closing a road to a community or shutting down a bridge.
My time outside of the Legislature is being split between constituency work and a focus on my critic responsibilities. I spent a week in Washington State looking at that jurisdictions ferry system (constitutionally and politically accepted as part of the highway system) and will be issuing a report on my findings shortly.
Health care continues to dominate much of my work in the constituency. I was very pleased when doctors at Campbell River Hospital came out to voice their concerns publically about capacity at the existing – and particularly at the new – facility. I have followed up with the Minister of Health, asking for common sense to prevail and that the new hospital be built to the future needs of a growing population.
I am also expecting to have a meeting in with Island Health’s new Chief Executive Officer, Dr Brendan Carr, to discuss this issue as well as health delivery questions across the constituency. There is huge frustration in Port Hardy because of delays which are plaguing the building of the primary health clinic, promised two years ago. And there are ongoing questions about health care delivery in our rural communities – from Cortes to Tahsis – which I hope he will be able to answer.
I have had some interesting discussions with BC Ambulance service staff in different North Island communities about expanding their role into that of community paramedics rather than exclusively being emergency paramedics. This would allow much more support for people at home and in their communities rather than having to rely on hospital or clinic care.
After meeting with people in the north part of the constituency I have written to the Minister of Environment urging support for the conservation service. I was told there have been an extraordinary number of cougar sightings, close to trails, schools and homes, in the last several weeks. The default answer I always receive is that we are well covered by the Black Creek office. I think a lesson in Island geography is in order!
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance meeting in Nanaimo, which brings together business people, economic development officers, tourism associations and elected officials from across the island to discuss economic development. I sat in on some interesting sessions about the needs of our forest industry, potential developments in tourism, the possibilities for the film sector and, of course, on transportation. I was pleased to see many people from all parts of the constituency in attendance which provided the possibility for a very broad-based discussion.
As I mentioned the coming weeks will see me both around the constituency as well as around the province working on ferries’ and other transportation issues. I can however always be reached by email at Claire.trevena.mlaleg.bc.ca or by phone on 1 250 287 5100 in Campbell River, 1 250 949 9473 in Port Hardy or toll free at 1 866 387 5100. And feel free to friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter clairetrevena.