MLAs Dan Davies and Mike Bernier will be among those returning to Victoria June 22 when the legislature resumes after a months-long suspension due to COVID-19.
They'll be among the 30 MLAs who will return to their desks in a physically distanced chamber, while the rest will tune in and take part virtually.
“It’s a new world,” said Davies, who took part in a trial run this week. “It’s not just a normal meeting. You’ve got points of order that are going to be called, you’ve got question period, you’ve got motions that are made, you’ve got statements that are made, petitions that are delivered,” he said. “It’s not just a meeting, there are a lot of moving parts in this … it will be really interesting to see.”
Davies, the Opposition education critic, says he has no concerns with the voluntary return. He said MLAs were canvassed based on their personal and family health situations, and whether they were ill or elderly, or immunocompromised or taking care of someone who is.
He said he's eager to get back to debates on the budget, still to be approved, and his education portfolio.
“Theres a lot of work to do, there’s a lot stuff on education,” he said. “School’s back; there’s a lot of questions around what that looks like, and I’ve had loads of reachers reaching out. There’s been some independent distributed learning cuts that have happened. I’m looking forward to getting face to face, questioning the minister on those.”
The legislature will sit for six weeks and run through mid-August, Davies said, with two week-long breaks for Canada Day and the August long weekend.
The return to the legislature is important to sort out the pandemic and its economic crisis, as well as a number of issues that have come to the fore in between, such as the rights and title agreement with the Wet’suwet’en in northern B.C.
“These are the big hard questions we need to start asking government: How are we going to do this? How are we going to get B.C. working again? How are we going to start bringing revenue back into this province? Big changes have got to happen. We need to become competitive again,” Davies said.
“Everybody’s in the same boat and there’s limited dollars out there in the world. Money flows to the path of least resistance. If we are bogged down in red tape and taxation, which we are, we need to be looking at doing things different or nobody is going to come here,” he said.
“People were already leaving before this happened, combined with the protests that were happening, we really need to take a different look at how we’re doing things. That’s going to be really key for us to be in Victoria, to start getting government moving again out of this life support that we’re on right now and back to functioning again.”
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