MLA Claire Trevena looks back on 2014

MLA REPORT: There have been good moments for our communities over the last year

There have been good moments for our communities over the last year but, on the whole, the BC Liberal government has ignored the real needs of our province.

Its mishandling of our marine highway stands out as a key issue of the year. Although a major report showed how our provincial economy has been devastated since the quasi-privatization of ferries, the government did nothing. It was only after more than a month demanding the fuel surcharge be dropped as oil prices plummeted that it was finally ended. That’s a small comfort for ferry users. What must be done is rollback fares.

Campbell River is starting to see the boom from the John Hart Generating Station project and work on the dams.

But this won’t help people struggling with hefty hydro bills that are also a result of government mismanagement. My community office has among the highest number in B.C. asking for help because they are facing disconnection.These include people who have to choose between food or heat in their homes. That’s wrong.

Construction started on our new regional hospital in Campbell River but we are a long way from dealing with other serious health care concerns of our communities – including long wait times for surgery, access to doctors, closures of emergency rooms and full utilization of our ambulance paramedics.

This year saw the teachers’ dispute resolved. But teachers are wary about how classroom needs will be handled. School boards have been told to repay money they received during the strike and parents are still being asked to fundraise for basic school supplies.

And while all this was happening, Christy Clarke continued claiming LNG will be an economic miracle for BC.

But then the BC Liberals passed legislation that set a very low tax regime for companies exploiting LNG and few controls on emissions from extraction of the gas through to its export.

We know that next year will bring another round of MSP increases, hydro hikes, and 4% more on ferry fares. Things could be different. It could start with cuts in ferry fares, restraining hydro rates, ensuring health care is available for all and that in our rich economy, and teachers don’t have to make sure students have eaten before going to class.

I remain an optimist, and will continue to work for change. So I would like to wish everyone a very good Christmas and a hopeful 2015.