Dan Davies: Legislature is back in session

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As MLAs return for another legislative session, John Horgan has much to answer for.

This week, MLAs from all corners of the province are returning to the legislature in Victoria — either virtually or in a physically-distanced capacity — to begin the spring 2021 legislative session. Thanks to our incredible caucus support staff, as well as Legislative staff, MLAs will be safely participating in a hybrid session to debate vital COVID-19 measures and supports.

Although it is only week one, there is already a lot of work to be done to make up for the many delays, fumbles, and gaps that John Horgan and the NDP government have left in our pandemic recovery plan.

Traditionally, government would have already released their budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but John Horgan has decided to delay the budget for another two months, making this the longest time B.C. has gone without a budget in 20 years.

On top of this, hundreds of millions of dollars in pandemic relief funding remain unspent by this administration. Of the $300 million approved to support B.C. businesses with the small and medium-sized business grant, the NDP has only managed to get $45 million out the door and into the hands of businesses who desperately need it.

What’s especially troubling is that this is money that was approved nearly a year ago.

Even worse, thousands of businesses have cited that unless government radically changes the program and gets the money out the door soon, they will have to close their doors for good.

The same can be said about John Horgan’s B.C. Recovery Benefit.

As of now, only half of those eligible for it have actually received their cheques while hundreds of thousands of British Columbians have still yet to receive the one-time payments promised to them by Christmas.

Many of our province’s most vulnerable — including people living with disabilities and low-income seniors — have gone more than two months since John Horgan and the NDP cut their disability and income assistance in half, leaving many struggling to pay for basic necessities such as rent and food.

Over the next few months, John Horgan has much to answer for. As your MLA, I will work closely with my colleagues in the Official Opposition to hold this government to account and ask the questions that our communities and British Columbians want answered.

We have a lot of work ahead of us and I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves!

Dan Davies is the MLA for Peace River North.

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