COLUMN: Bringing the Kootenay voice to a rare fall session

Although the legislative calendar has your provincial government going to work in Victoria every fall, normally the Liberals cancel it.

Over the past two months, the Legislature had a rare fall session.

Although the legislative calendar has your provincial government going to work in Victoria every fall, normally the Liberals cancel it.

Their rationale is that there is no work to be done. In other words, there is no need to conduct the people’s business in a democratic way where there is accountability and public oversight.

I find this reasoning ridiculous, so I was pleased that on this rare occasion we were in Victoria for a full fall session.

While there, I was able to ask ministers questions in person about the ongoing Jumbo farce.

We learned that the proponent built his concrete slab in a class four avalanche path and that architectural experts would not consider this slab a building foundation, so BCNDP Leader John Horgan and neighbouring Kootneay MLA Norm Macdonald and I asked the minister to end this unreasonable resort.

We further pointed out that one of the conditions set on the resort proponent was to respectfully work with local First Nations. When the Ktunaxa’s Qat’Muk Declaration was met with disdain and a ridiculing website, the proponent clearly broke that condition, and we asked the minister to uphold her own standards.

We also asked why the Liberals are forcing funding on to the fake town of Jumbo.

In one of the more bizarre parts of this farce, the mayor and council of no one tried to return most of the provincial taxpayer funds given to them by the Liberals.

They didn’t need it for obvious reasons. The Liberals told them to keep the money — this while Nelson and District Arts Council can’t get funding, or survivors of the Johnsons Landing mudslide still don’t have a buy-out program for properties where they can longer live.

You can watch these exchanges on my YouTube channel where you will note some heckling by Jumbo booster Bill Bennett. We clearly hit a nerve with him.

I also pressed for government action on poverty reduction. BC is now the only province to not have a poverty reduction plan, but we could have gotten one underway this fall had the Liberals supported my bill for such a plan.

I also took the Minister of Social Development to task for clawing back child support payments from some of BC’s poorest kids.

It is wrong to clawback child support payments from kids simply because their custodial parent (mostly single moms) receives income supports like disability.

Since the spring, I’ve been working with impacted families on this issue, and we’ve made considerable headway. In the upcoming budget, we want to see an end to this policy and a step toward reducing child poverty.

It was great to be in Victoria this fall, but even better to come home for the holidays.

My staff, Laurie and Curtis, and I want to invite you to join us for our annual community holiday party on December 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Our Daily Bread.

Lunch is on me and everyone is welcome to be a part of the festivities.

If I don’t get a chance to see you at our party, other holiday events or while shopping local, have a wonderful holiday season and joyous 2015.

— Michelle Mungall is the MLA for Nelson-Creston.

Her column appears in the Star monthly.

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