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Legislature sessions debated

The Liberal government whip insists there isn’t a need for MLAs to gather at the Legislature just for the sake of meeting.

The NDP opposition has introduced legislation that would ensure there is a fall sitting of the Legislature every year.

“A fall sitting, over the years, has been used when needed,” said Eric Foster, Liberal MLA for Vernon-Monashee.

“If the government, no matter which party it is, doesn’t have a full legislative calendar and you have a sitting, then everyone just sits around and talks.”

The legislature sat for a total of 36 days in 2013, the fewest number of days in any year since 2001.

The NDP say a fall sitting of the Legislature is important.

“The B.C. Liberal government has consistently chosen to invoke time limits and closure on key pieces of legislation to avoid a fall session and duck accountability,” said John Horgan, an NDP MLA for Victoria.

“It’s clear that without firm rules in place, the B.C. Liberals will choose to hide from the public, rather than ensuring we are passing the best legislation, and they are being accountable for their actions.”

But Foster says it’s expensive for the Legislature to sit, and even when the House is not in session, MLAs are conducting the public’s business.

“A big part of the public’s job is to meet with constituents and they meet in committee sessions,” he said.

Horgan has also introduced proposed legislation that would increase the number of legislative committees and expand their mandates.

“It’s wrong to rush through legislation, and drop the ball on important issues just so the government can hide from tough questions,” he said.

 

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