This week I’m back in Victoria for the fall sitting of the Provincial Legislature. Time in Victoria is time away from all the important work and meetings here in Peace River South, but the sitting of the Legislature is the heart of our democracy.
Like the rest of my fellow MLAs, I’m looking forward to getting into the house. But I suspect that some of my colleagues from the government side have a little less excitement. They are going to have to justify what they have done – or failed to do – since we last came together in May.
My colleagues in the Official Opposition have plenty of issues we will be pressing the government on. We’ll definitely be asking about the government’s continued opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline, not to mention the jobs and opportunities it represents for British Columbians.
We’ll also be highlighting the fact that the small businesses that employ so many people in every part of the province continue to suffer under the government’s increased taxes. Many of you have told me over the summer that the health employer tax layered on top of MSP, combined with last year’s increase on business taxes, is having a negative impact.
My colleagues and I will also be pressing them on their outrageous double whammy hitting resource communities like those here in the Peace, their raiding of the Rural Dividend Fund to pay for their too-little-too-late assistance to the forest sector. Rural communities have been told they can’t have any money to help pay for projects like skills training, new infrastructure, or strategic planning out of the Rural Dividend Fund started by the BC Liberals, it’s hurting families all over rural BC.
Forestry is just one sector facing tough times. There could be more. Economic storm clouds are gathering all over the world, and British Columbia is in an ever more fragile position. The government is raiding the piggy bank because of their high spending and a lack of a fiscal plan. A weak global economy will make a bad situation worse. Little is being done to protect, let alone grow, the economy, and that will end up hurting families here in the Peace and across the province.
I’ll also be bringing some critical local issues to the Government’s attention Victoria. I’ll be raising the concerns that are still out there stemming from all the uncertainty around caribou recovery plans. The people I talk to share my concern that there still isn’t the clarity we need that the right balance can be found that protects the environment and the economy.
I’ll also continue to raise the health care challenges we face here because of the artificial barrier of the BC-Alberta border. Waiting for emergency care to fly in from Vancouver has already cost one life – I know we can take steps to partner with Alberta to access emergency care just minutes away.
If you have any issues you think need to be pressed in Victoria (or any questions or comments) you can always get in touch with my office at mike.bernier.MLA@leg.bc.ca, (250) 782-3430, or 1 (855) 582-3430.