Last week was the first week back in the BC Legislature for MLAs.
For the most part, it delivered nothing but disappointment for the people of the Peace and rural British Columbia.
Anti-resource sector protestors who want to shut down the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction tried to shut down the Legislature. They blockaded entrances to try to prevent staff and MLAs from entering the building to hear the Government’s Throne Speech. That speech kicks off the new sitting of the Legislature and is supposed to map out Government’s vision for the coming year.
Many of us were threatened and insulted, but we made it in. Getting inside was a double disappointment.
Firstly, it was one of many protests taking place across BC which went far beyond raising an issue and instead tried to stop people from doing their jobs and earning a living. Blocked ports, blocked bridges, blocked offices hurt many families and workers. Secondly, the Government has failed to take any action to stop these illegal protests.
It’s hardworking citizens of British Columbia who pay the price – lost work, lost jobs, extra costs. The Throne Speech that the protestors tried to stop was, sadly, another disappointment.
In the 50 minutes it took to deliver, the Government failed to offer a single new idea for the challenges or the opportunities in front of British Columbians. There was nothing about helping out workers suffering in the forest sector, no vision on ensuring access to the backcountry balanced with protecting mountain caribou, nothing about helping our oil and gas workers get busier by getting their products to global markets, and nothing about helping rural communities solve challenges like attracting and retaining health care workers.
I raised the very issue of how the health and lives of the people in the Chetwynd area are at risk because of a lack of health care professionals at the hospital. I reminded everyone in the house that the North is a great place to live, a great place to work, and a great place to raise a family.
But sadly, nothing in the Government’s Speech from the Throne comes close to laying out actions or plans to help families and their futures.
I’ll be back in the Legislature over the coming weeks, if you have any issues you want me to raise, or any concerns you want to share, you can always reach me through my office at mike.bernier.MLA@leg.bc.ca, (250) 782-3430, or 1 (855) 582-3430.