Guest editorial — BC Liberals ignoring democracy

The provincial legislature sat for 36 days last year — and that means constituents are being shortchanged.

Should we be concerned that NDP leader Adrian Dix is stepping down? After all, other than the election campaign, he only worked 36 days last year. Slacker.

Hold on. All the other MLAs only worked 36 days last year too.

The Liberals have decided to cancel the fall sitting of the Legislature. It’s become commonplace to avoid, as much as possible, having the Legislature sit, likely because there the Opposition asks pointed questions the Liberals would rather not answer.

After the Globe and Mail wrote a scathing piece about the cancellation of the fall sitting, Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Rustad made the following post on his Facebook page: “The Globe (and me, obviously) seems to think the Leg is a stage for the opposition and the columnists.”

His rationale works because the governing Liberals don’t seem to think the Legislature is a place for them.

It sparked a pretty good debate on his Facebook page. The following post from Rustad summed everything up.

“My final word on this topic: Here’s my schedule for next week – Mon. on the road by 5:30 a.m., travel, meeting at 9, UBCM panel on reconciliation at 10, caucus meeting from 9 to 1 p.m., meetings from 2 till 5 then 3+ receptions that I’m expected to drop into going from 5 till 9. Tue, 7:30 to 12:30 Truth and Reconciliation paddle and TRC ceremony, 9 meetings from 1:30 till 5 p.m. then 5+ receptions that I’m supposed to support…”

Rustad completely misses the point. No one questions that MLAs and certainly cabinet ministers are busy. We’re all busy. The question is whether we’re busy doing the right things.

We elect MLAs to debate and vote on issues facing our province and, at the same time, be held accountable for the decisions they make that affect our lives. Attending functions and meetings is certainly important, but it shouldn’t be the most important part of an MLA’s job.

Representing their constituents in the Legislature should be.

—Prince George Free Press

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