After two months, the fall Legislative session has wrapped up. It was a busy session. Work went 10-14 hours without breaks, and travel is four hours in one direction — on a good day. Being away from home and family can be hard, so I am fortunate to have tremendous support for doing work I truly enjoy.
Highlights from this session start with joining members of the Ktunaxa Nation, fellow NDP MLAs, our Leader Adrian Dix and hockey legend Scott Niedermayer for a press conference to keep Jumbo Glacier wild. This was a great day with great Kootenay people.
Bill 10 was another highlight. This bill expands the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. When speaking in support of the bill, I was able to bring the government’s attention to Creston’s shortage of primary health care practitioners and how increasing NPs in rural areas would go a long way to addressing our local need.
Being the opposition critic for Advanced Education, I was able to question the minister on her promised review of StudentAid and the cuts to adult basic education programs. Outside of question period, two bills were tabled that address items within this ministry.
The first was Bill 18, put forward by the Liberals. Unfortunately, it included anti-democratic changes to colleges and universities’ boards of governors. For full details on how I worked with students, staff and faculty to stall Bill 18 in hopes that the Liberals will fix it, check out my website.
I tabled the second bill. It strengthens transparency and accountability in private post-secondary education. By clarifying government’s role with the sector and enhancing student protection, if the bill passes, we will have an improved system that prevents the few bad apples from tarnishing our national and international reputations.
On November 22, I introduced my Private Member’s Bill in the Legislature, entitled the Private Career Training Institutions Amendment Act, 2011.
The purpose of this bill is to strengthen student protections and ensure transparency in government’s relationship to private post-secondary institutions
Along with work inside the House, I’ve travelled to 16 public post-secondary institutions with four more on my list before the New Year. Meeting with students, faculty and administration where they work has been valuable in developing relationships, policy ideas and a thorough understanding of what’s happening on the ground.
Finally, there is one point that left me feeling particularly proud. After Premier Christy Clark negated the work done by women’s auxiliaries and used it as a sexist slur against NDP women MLAs, I stood up and responded with a tribute to womens’ work. I am honoured to represent so many women like Creston Valley’s Jean Tyerman who dedicated countless hours and nearly two decades to the hospital auxiliary. “A woman’s work is never done,” I said, adding, “Whether it’s knitting for newborns, raising money for hospital equipment or the movement for equality, ladies auxiliaries have fearlessly stepped up and gotten the job done.” The applause was so loud on both sides of the House that it even made it onto the official transcript, Hansard.
With session out, the work doesn’t stop, but now I get to be back in the Kootenays more often. Check out my website, social media or sign up for my monthly e-newsletter to stay tuned with all that I am doing.