Next week I will be back down in the provincial capital to take part in the first full sitting of the B.C. Legislature since the October election.
Being in the Assembly, taking part in debates, and asking Ministers pointed questions, are the main parts of my job when I’m at the Legislature. My focus will be on raising the issues and concerns people across the Peace have shared with me since last fall. To look at it another way, I’m off to do the Victoria part of my job, based on what I’ve heard during the Peace River part of my job.
Some of you might be wondering: why am I only returning to Victoria now? Don’t politicians usually travel down to Victoria in early February? And isn’t the provincial budget announced shortly thereafter?
That is, as they say, the way it used to be. Since 2001, the BC Liberals were doing the people’s work on a schedule. Sessions would kick off with a throne speech mapping out the government’s agenda in early February, and the budget would be delivered the following week. Those previous governments were committed to a disciplined approach, and to taking the political shenanigans out of the process.
But that orderly application of the mechanics of government got tossed out. First, in the fall the fixed election date was abandoned and an early election was called, all in the midst of a global pandemic. The government then said – surprise, surprise! – they had to delay the budget by almost two months. The final blow to predictability and consistency came when MLAs were told our return to the Legislature would be delayed by three weeks. It’s time all MLAs could have been doing their Victoria jobs holding Government accountable.
One change for me this year is I’ll be digging in on my newest challenge – serving as the Finance Critic for the Official Opposition. It’s exciting to be the lead Legislature watchdog on government spending and taxation, and you can be certain that I’ll bring a Peace River perspective to the task. The work will really ramp up in April when the provincial spending plans are FINALLY tabled in the budget.
I’m honoured be your MLA, and by your support over the years. I want to be in Victoria raising your issues – and I will be next week.
My Constituency Office in Dawson Creek is open and ready to help anyone with any problems with provincial government services. If you’ve hit a roadblock, the office can make inquiries. You can also share your thoughts and ideas by email at mike.bernier.MLA@leg.bc.ca or through my Facebook page at MikeBernierBC, or by calling my office at (250) 782-3430, or 1 (855) 582-3430.