North Island MLA Claire Trevena was disappointed that the BC Legislature spent its time last week debating a topic she calls “firmly in the federal realm,” the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.
“The federal Liberals have put this contentious deal to a committee for broader discussion,” Trevena wrote in her MLA Report for April 15. “We suggested that if the BC Liberals wanted to spend time analyzing it, they should do likewise. The premier disagreed and we ended up spending more than a day debating a federal issue.”
Trevena says that last week, the NDP introduced two bills that she believes will “likely get no debate on the floor of the Legislature.”
The party brought in a Poverty Reduction Act, which has targets and timelines to reduce poverty in B.C., and also tabled a Sustainable Wildlife Management Act, which Trevena describes as “a comprehensive approach to managing fish, wildlife and habitat that has been severely degraded by 15 years of BC Liberal government.”
Trevena reports that MLAs were also busy examining the BC Liberals’ budget.
One of the issues they debated was education funding. Trevena says “the issue of continuing downloading of expenses on school boards was core to our questions of the minister.”
“This has forced local school boards to make even more cuts because of the increased costs of hydro, of MSP and payrolls,” she wrote. “I asked about the impact of that downloading on School District 72, which has led to two elementary schools in the district being closed. The school board wrote to the minister in early February and still has had no answers. Apart from saying he would be responding ‘shortly,’ he gave little comfort to the trustees, administrators or parents of children going to school. The starving of our public education system of funding is going to have a long-term effect on the whole of B.C.”
Trevena was also dealing with a constituency problem surrounding the delivery of propane to fishing and logging camps, lodges, resorts and homes along our coastline.
“The company that usually delivers has temporarily lost its permit,” she said. “I’ve written to the federal transportation minister and I’m working with our MP, Rachel Blaney, to ensure that Transport Canada expedites a new permit to ensure businesses and families get the fuel on which they rely.”
Trevena’s full report can be found online at clairetrevena.ca.