IntegrityBC says sit down

Legislature should be sitting this fall, group says

In their own words IntegrityBC is a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to help restore a bond built on trust and confidence between citizens and their elected officials. They have a number of different goals and initiatives including:

Reforming BC’s electoral finance act to end corporate and union funding of BC political parties and capping annual donations by individual British Columbians

Ensuring that BC’s Access to Information Act fully serves its intended purpose in a timely manner, free of political interference

Improving protection for whistleblowers who report government waste and corruption

Encouraging public debate on electoral reform

Their latest initiative is an online petition requesting that the BC Liberals convene a fall sitting of the Legislature.

Integrity BC’s executive director Dermond Travis noted that in all likelihood, British Columbia will be the only political jurisdiction in Canada that will not sit this fall, a circumstance that he finds unacceptable.

So does Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald (NDP). Macdonald has long complained about the lack of time the BC Legislature spends in session and he is especially concerned about the lack of a session this fall.

“Integrity BC is absolutely right,” Macdonald said. “It’s ridiculous that we are not sitting this fall. It speaks to two things. This government doesn’t have an agenda going forward. They have no idea what to do and no legislation ready.. The other thing is they have an untested group of Ministers and don’t want to be held accountable.”

Macdonalds says that as a member of the Opposition, it is part of his job to hold government accountable and the place to do that is the Legislature.

“It is disgraceful,” he said. “And entirely symptomatic of a government with no idea of what to do but cling to power. It’s especially ironic given that Premier Clark, when she was running for leadership of the Party was of the opinion that the House should sit when scheduled.”

However, Doug Clovechok, the BC Liberal candidate for this riding does not agree.

“There is history to the recent decision for the Legislature not to sit this fall that goes back to 2001 when our government first introduced a parliamentary calendar,” Clovechok said. “The calendar was set around the principal that there would be a fall session only if it was deemed necessary. A fall session for this year was never confirmed and our NDP friends know that.

“Our government is focused on preparing an economic blueprint to lead B.C. through these turbulent economic times. We are spending the autumn consulting directly with British Columbians as to what they feel is important for us to address in the coming budget.

” The legislature will sit in January and it is really important that people know the House will reconvene. As record, the legislature this year has sat for 47 days including the time wasting tactics that were used by the NDP to delay Bill 22 – the Education Improvement Act.”

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