Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BC Legislative Calendar for 2013

On the website for the BC Legislature they have a calendar up for the days on which the legislature will be sitting this year.

As you can see the dates are rather odd - the MLAs are scheduled to sit through most of the election campaign period including on election day.  it also includes days for a fall sitting even though that will be the 40th Parliament and will have to start again.

It bothers me that a fictional calendar has been posted when we do know when the provincial election will be.   In 2009 the legislature only met for 22 days in the spring ending on March 31st, not close to the 43 days that are planned for this spring.  In 2005 the house sat for 19 days - the final date was March 10th.

If the dates are there, maybe the MLAs should be required to use them, or at least keep sitting until the writ drops in mid April?

We need to either take this idea of fixed election dates seriously or give up on it.  I would prefer if we did continue with fixed dates and even had fixed dates the MLAs had to sit in the legislature.   One change that is need is the date of the election.  We would be much better off with an election towards the end of August.   This allows for a full spring sitting of the legislature and would mean that a new Parliament could start a few weeks after the election.  

I also think summer time is the best time for an election, that way it does not get in the way of anything else.  During an election civil servants can not really make any decisions, so holding the election when many of them are taking summer holidays would be a good time.  It also means you can have a full spring and fall legislative session every year without an election interfering.    
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