Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Regional Legislative Committees

Here in BC we need a dramatic improvement in the legislative arm of our government.   One of the things that needs to happen are more, better and strong committees of the legislature.   One idea that came to me today was what if there were regional committees?

Why not have committees of MLAs from different parts of BC meet together where they come from.   Have meet for one week every quarter and deliberate about issues that matter to their region.   Give time for the public to come and speak to them.   Out this would come reports to go to the legislature with recommendations for action.

How I would split them and the current representation:

  • Vancouver Island - all 14 MLAs 4 Liberal 10 NDP
  • Northern BC - 10 ridings 6 Liberals 3 NDP, 1 Ind
  • Southern Interior - 14 ridings 9 Liberals 4 NDP, 1 Ind
  • Fraser Valley - 9 ridings  6 Liberals 2 NDP 1 Ind 
  • Surrey-Delta-Richmond - 13 ridings 7 Liberals,  5 NDP 1 Ind
  • Burnaby-Tri Cities-North Shore - 14 ridings 7 Liberals 7 NDP
  • City of Vancouver - 11 ridings 6 Liberals 5 NDP

What you can see is that the government has a majority on five of the seven which means the government side does not control all of them.   The government may not have an effective majority of cabinet ministers are unable to attend the meetings of the committee.

I think that quarterly would be enough for these committees to meet.   While 20 sitting days for the committee may not sound like a lot, it does mean that we will have MLAs as a formal part of our legislature discussing regional issues and concerns.   Even government majority committees will want to be see to be doing something if oppositions majority committees are submitting reports and recommendations.   To be seen to be doing nothing will be politically bad.

These committees should have the right to bring forward legislation that must be given a fair and complete debate within the house.

Having some committees with an opposition majority would mean that we would see more and better opposition to the actions of the government.   The stronger an opposition there is, the better quality of government we will have,

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