2020 has been a year unlike any other. It has been very challenging for many, but we have also seen so much strength and resilience, with neighbours stepping up to help each other and organizations working together to support people in need.
Representing the people of Nelson-Creston as their MLA is an honour, but the transition has been a bit unusual. Due to the pandemic, I was sworn in virtually with my parents beaming beside me from my childhood living room.
This session we are following a hybrid model. A few MLAs are taking part in person in Victoria while the majority, including myself, are participating virtually. So, although I do not get to meet my new colleagues in person, I do get to represent Nelson-Creston from home with my dog, Stella, at my side.
Last week’s Speech from the Throne highlighted our priorities including working to make health care faster, more personalized, and closer to home, investing in seniors and long-term care, expanding access to affordable child care, and making new investments in transportation and infrastructure.
The focus of this legislative session is on protecting British Columbian’s health and livelihoods from the threat of COVID-19. These includes introducing the BC Recovery Benefit, a one-time tax-free benefit to give people a boost after what has been a difficult year financially for many people. Families with a combined income of less than $125,000 per year will be eligible to receive $1,000; and individuals earning less than $62,000 a year will be eligible for $500, with incomes above that eligible for payments on a sliding scale.
• In addition to the work I am doing virtually in the Legislature, I am also working to get my community MLA office set up and everything in place to be able to serve constituents. Once it is safe to do so, I look forward to connecting in person with folks in communities in every corner of this beautiful constituency. Until then, I will work on creating innovative ways to connect with you virtually from the comfort of your home.
• If you are like me, you have been hoping to gather with family and friends over the holiday season. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we are being asked by Dr. Bonnie Henry to stay home and celebrate within our core bubbles. My partner Paul and I will be shopping locally, sending out gifts early, and connecting with our families virtually. Although we are going to miss the big family feast, we are hoping we get to take a long walk or cross-country ski with our pup. This is the year to modify some of our traditions and connect with those we love virtually.
I wish all of you a safe and joyful holiday season.