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2008-09-14 14:57:58

Politics & News

On Wednesday September 10, 2008, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and his B.C. Liberal Party decided to cancel the Fall Legislative Session. After having initiated legislation a few years ago that fixed legislative dates in the Fall and Spring (along with fixed election dates, with the next provincial election coming in May 2009), the move comes across as quite hypocritical and antidemocratic.

The Premier and his Ministers argued that the move was made because there's not much work to do in the Legislature and that British Columbians would rather have MLAs working in their ridings and getting feedback from citizens, instead of in Victoria. Apparently being in Victoria for approximately four months per year takes away significant time from being able to connect with their constituents. Life just seems too rushed these days, doesn't it?

I agree that it is very important to have time in your ridings to talk with your constituents and to be active in your community. Those are fundamental duties of our parliamentary system. But this government seems to think that four months of debates in Victoria is still too much. The B.C. Liberals cut the Spring session short. They've also cancelled one Fall session in the past and are once again cancelling another, this one being only months before a Provincial election. It is mandatory in a democracy that a government debate bills in front of an opposition party and the public. There is no real excuse to cancel any of these sessions, as short as they already are, and especially when it was your own government who initiated legislation to fix specific dates for the start and end of each legislative session in the spring and fall.

I've got gripes with the provincial NDP (especially with their stance on the carbon tax and their political opportunism of the issue), but they are quite right when they say this move is antidemocratic and shows contempt for our democratic system. We pay these political leaders lots of money (who then go and raise the pay of other civil servants, while the rest of us can barely make ends meet). They also get lots of other perks to travel back and forth from Victoria to their ridings and receive funds to open offices and to do their jobs. The least they can do in return for these public funds is to be open, democratic and honest in working for the greater good of this province and attending Legislative sessions four months of the year.

Do you agree with the cancellation of the Fall Legislative Session?

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