Opinion

MLA REPORT: The people won’t be silenced

The autumn weather is gaining in intensity and so is the opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

The turnout for the anti-pipeline rally in Victoria was huge. The BC Liberals may try to silence the democratic process by refusing to reconvene the legislature but the rally showed people won’t let their democratic voices be silenced.

It was great to be part of it and, two days later, to mingle with those who came to my Campbell River office to add their voices in protest.

On Enbridge the official opposition New Democrats have said we would: take back provincial authority for conducting environmental reviews the BC Liberals gave away to Ottawa, withdraw from the federal review process, ensure B.C.’s environmental, social and economic interests are fully addressed and that First Nations’ interests and rights are recognized.

I was in the northern part of the constituency a few days after the earthquake and have to applaud the work everyone did to ensure the safety of their neighbours.

While it is now a “lessons learned” exercise it is troubling it took so long for the government’s provincial emergency service to alert communities; I am raising these concerns with the minister.

Rural communities are resilient but there is no place for complacency.

The recent release of the Cohen report into the failed Fraser sockeye run also underlined no one can be complacent on environmental concerns.

The recommendations cover important issues from riparian management and environmental oversight through to climate change.

I am pleased the report has been welcomed by the aquaculture industry as well as by environmental campaigners.

I hope the federal and provincial governments take seriously the recommendations that reflect on their jurisdictions

Unfortunately the BC Liberal government did not listen when it came to the BC Ferry Commissioner’s warnings about the ferry fares saying they had reached tipping point. Now there’s talk about changing schedules and cutting services to fix the mess the BC Liberals have created for our marine highway system.

I would urge everyone who ever uses BC Ferries to attend the consultation meetings being held later this month.

Health care remains a paramount concern and I continue to convene a hospital stakeholders group.

A continued worry is the public-private partnership model under which VIHA is determined to construct our new hospital.

This means a private consortium will design it, build it and then maintain it.

It is like leasing a car – except you can’t trade it in at the end of the lease – and is proven to be more expensive.

VIHA is still not being open about whether that private model will also be used for food services, housekeeping and other non-medical services in the hospital.

With no session of the legislature I am on the road quite a bit in the constituency and in my role as critic for Children and Family Development.

Next week my schedule includes the Remembrance Day Service in Campbell River on Sunday as well as meeting with the Campbell River Young Professionals and the Campbell River Youth Action Committee.

– Claire Trevena

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