The B.C. Legislature only sat for 36 days in 2013 and John Horgan, MLA for Juan de Fuca, wants that to change in the new year.
He is hopeful the Legislature will sit, if not only and most importunity to get the province’s business done, but also to meet with colleagues.
“Sitting is an opportunity to network with the new ministers who don’t know our concerns,” said Horgan.
He said it was hard to make progress and the biggest disappointment is they (the MLAs) don’t get to bring forward issues important to those in the Juan de Fuca. Horgan is the New Democrat house leader.
He listed three issues of importance at the moment, the first being primary care and the need for more space in care homes and keeping local seniors in care homes in their community. Horgan wants to see improved health services so citizens don’t have to go to “town” to get basic health services.
Highway 14 is also a concern. He mentioned the $14 million spent on the Sombrio Bridge and the widening of shoulders but that isn’t enough.
“It’s a big improvement,” said Horgan in referring to the Sombrio Bridge, “the residents couldn’t be happier.” He said to accomplish these improvements you had to be in the face of government, and the Legislature had to be sitting.
A second bridge across Sooke Road is a need as is safe pedestrian travel in Otter Point west of Sooke.
He fears all of the inroads and talks made in regard to education, health and transportation will be long forgotten if the Legislature doesn’t sit soon.
Earlier this fall Horgan declined the call to run for the leadership of the B.C. NDP party. He has been serving for eight years and thinks it is the right time for a younger generation of NDPers to take the reins.
“I’m not that old, but I feel a change of guard is needed in politics. It’s not chronological age, it’s perspective.”
He mentioned three people in particular; lawyer David Eby who trounced Christy Clark in her Vancouver riding; Spencer Chandra-Herbert a young capable environmental critic; and Rob Fleming from Victoria.
“What I’m trying to do is force them to play their hand — it’s time,” said Horgan. “But, what I had in my mind hasn’t worked that way.”
On December 4, the B.C. NDP Opposition called on the Liberal government to support a motion to abolish the Senate. But that didn’t happen because the Legislature wasn’t sitting.
“Instead, British Columbians are continuing to endure ever more elaborate contortions from a premier and government that changes positions on the Senate as their political situation changes. It’s time the Liberals stood on principle and answered the question: do they or do they not support the existence of the Senate?”
Horgan said there has been so much focus on the Senate and particularly Duffy and Wallin that people expect the elected to do something.
Horgan did question that if the Senate was abolished, what would they replace it with? He mentioned The Council of the Federation which has a regional balance with two representatives from each province. He said the Senate has six B.C. senators while Nova Scotia has 10.
“What I learned is perfection is the enemy of progress, and while waiting for the perfect solution the problems get worse.”
As to education, Horgan said Edward Milne community school needs upgrades and while there was talk of closing elementary schools, more are now being built.
Horgan wrapped up the discussion by saying he was in politics because he likes people and he gets satisfaction from establishing a relationship with somebody.
“It’s a blessing to be able to do that. I’m not from Sooke but I feel a part of Sooke. I just wish I was able to solve more problems,” he said. “I will continue to do my best to meet people’s expectations and I’m not shy asking government to deliver.”
For those who might wish to speak to John Horgan directly they can call his office or stop by the new constituency office at 122 – 2806 Jacklin Road between Jacklin and Goldstream Roads. He said the parking is better than at the old location.
“People can talk to me, call the constituency office and I will come to them or meet them and go for coffee — I’ll buy.”
In ending Horgan said, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be nice to each other, everyone is trying to do their best.”
MLA John Horgan can be reached at: 250-391-2801 or email to: email@example.com