General · 6th June 2013
I feel honoured to have been re-elected to a third term as the MLA for the North Island. Once again I will do my very best to represent everyone in the constituency and take our concerns to Victoria to ensure that the voice of the North Island is heard clearly in the Legislature.
We are expecting to return to the Legislature sometime this summer. After the frenzy of the election there is always a pause while the votes are checked and the writ returned. It is only after that has happened, usually three or four weeks after the election, that we can be sworn in and assume our official roles as MLAs.
When we last sat in February, the BC Liberals introduced a budget that they then campaigned on. They said then that it was balanced. We disagreed because it was based on the quick sale of a lot of public property. That being said, the Liberals went to the polls on it and won.
That budget was never passed and now it is likely that a new budget will be brought in. The premier has indicated that will be sometime this summer, likely after she has been elected herself somewhere given that she lost her seat in the election.
After the last election, in 2009, there was a dramatic wakeup call when the government presented a budget that revealed that the deficit was many times larger than they had campaigned on, and then brought in the HST to try to deal with it.
This time I fear that the reality will be another deficit but with a government desperate to balance the budget. The only way it can do so is through massive cuts to services.
We have, over the last 12 years, seen the starving of our public resources: our education system has been underfunded; our social safety net has become a means tested nightmare for those in need; our youth head to Alberta for apprenticeships and jobs; our parks have been neglected; our forest sector has been denuded.
I fear that it is going to get worse for the province.
In the North Island we are not protected. We have the potential of a small boom in Campbell River with the construction work of the new hospital, the John Hart dam and the growing possibility that the Elk Falls mill site may once again be a hub for industrial activity. But while these will create jobs and hopefully develop local apprenticeships this alone will not protect families from cuts to services. It will not ensure that students and teachers in our classrooms are fully supported nor that our environment is being protected.
The NDP once again will be Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. In our parliamentary system the opposition has a duty to criticize and to question a government’s activity and has a responsibility to provide alternatives.
I will do my part for the North Island by working with our communities to challenge the government and its actions where they do not work in our favour.
I already have a number of projects from before the election which I will carry on with: ensuring we get high quality health care everywhere in the constituency, fighting for our ferry dependent communities, dealing with high speed internet access and working with forestry and tourism companies to get an economic and environmental balance from our land base.
Later this week I will be in Alert Bay and then Port McNeill for the NISS grad. The NDP MLAs will be sworn in next week in Victoria. During that week I hope to engage with youth when I meet a number of North Island school groups, which will be touring the Legislature.
As always I can be reached at my Campbell River office on 250 287 5100, toll free at 1 866 387 5100 or in Port Hardy on 1 250 949 9473. You can contact me by email at Claire.trevena.mlaleg.bc.ca, friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter clairetrevena.