Every year during the holiday season I look forward to receiving something very special in the mail. I have known Victoria Taylor since I was a little girl. She was the cook at the Prince George Seniors’ Centre for almost 40 years and is now living with Alzheimer's. She is also a talented artist and has created beautiful cards and now a yearly calendar that features one of her pictures. It arrives in our mailbox before Christmas and becomes a regular reminder of the days and months that lie ahead. As I was working this week Vicki’s calendar reminded me that we have an interesting year ahead of us.
2018 ended with the news that British Columbians had voted to maintain the current electoral system. The result was decisive in Prince George Valemount and in the vast majority of ridings across the province. This is the third time in fifteen years that we have been asked to consider electoral reform and each time the answer has been the same. As we move into a new year this is one issue that I think most people will agree will not be on the agenda now or anytime in the near future.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a hectic year. Just days ago the government announced the date for a by-election that will be held in Nanaimo. On January 30th the people of Nanaimo will be asked to elect an MLA and their decision could well change the face of government in Victoria. The riding is typically an NDP stronghold, but there are well-known candidates running and it will likely be a very tight race. In the event that an opposition MLA is elected it means that the coalition government and the opposition would have the same number of MLAs in the legislature, they would be tied. This would require the Speaker to vote. Hardly a stable or effective situation and could well trigger an early election. This in addition to the current instability with two senior officers of the legislature being removed from their positions after a controversial process led by the Speaker. And that is just in the month of January.
Who knows what else the year will bring. Of this I am sure, that I will continue to advocate on behalf of the constituency I represent and remind the government about the importance of investment in our hospital, the training of health care professionals including physiotherapists, a responsible approach to mountain caribou management, finding ways to move forward with resource development and many other issues that are critical to those of us who live in this region of the province. I will also treasure the gift of my calendar and use it to shape my work plan for what will certainly be an interesting year ahead.
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