It is definitely a new day in British Columbia as John Horgan was sworn in as the 36th Premier. Finally, Christy Clark and her cabinet are gone with their regressive attitudes.
Horgan necessarily brings a new perspective into government and for many people, a hope they haven’t felt in a long time. Will he live up to that hope? As people of BC, it is up to us to make sure that he does. Hold him to account if he does not and applaud him if he does.
It was great to see two strong indigenous women placed in cabinet. Carole James who is Metis, is the Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier. We knew she would be well rewarded for all her years in the legislature as well as head of the NDP for years in an opposition role. Also, making use of her intelligence and skills was necessary.
Melanie Mark, who is First Nations from the Nisga'a, Gitxsan, Cree and Ojibway peoples. She is now the Minister of Advanced Education. Melanie’s Nation led the Premier Elect and Lieutenant Governor into the Great Hall at Government House. A nice and fitting change from the usual bag pipes. This is a new day, a new BC, so this could be done differently and possibly a sign of things to come.
Today is a big win for Vancouver Island as well as it now has 4 Ministers, Rob Fleming, Carole James, Scott Fraser and Claire Trevena. Vancouver Island has been neglected by the Liberals for many years so now there can be a focus on Vancouver Island. It is our time.
The Cabinet brings many different talents into the mix and I am sure we will hear things from the new Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena on things like bridge tolls, BC Ferries, and Island Rail.
I am looking forward to George Heyman and his plans for moving forward on the envrionment and especially climate change. Critical issues in this province as a lot of BC is burning with increased temperatures and winds with more severe thunderstorms. We can’t move too slow on making needed changes.
John Horgan spoke a lot today about getting down to business, working for British Columbians and making BC a better place to live. I am sure we will do everything he can to do so.
The Liberals have already started an onslaught of attack ads and working on undermining the New Government when it has only been in place a few hours. Andrew Wilkinson has severely criticized the new office that will oversee the NDP/green agreement saying they are using public funds for doing something that is party related. We could do a long list of what the Liberals used public money for that was Liberal party related but that doesn’t do a lot of good. BC is in a minority government situation. The agreement between the NDP and the Green Party must be effective to keep the government in place without going to another dreaded election. This is a new way of doing business in the government and should be given mechanisms so that it can work.
I have already noticed on twitter attack ads against David Eby as the Attorney General and I am sure we will see more of them. This is how the Liberals have always operated and we can expect more of the same. They have a lot of money in their coffers to do this. It is hard for them to change from being in power for 16 years to being the opposition.
I am hopeful that things will change, that Site C and Kinder Morgan are stopped. The NDP promised Site C would be reviewed by the BCUC and they would do everything they could to stop Kinder Morgan. The NDP also promised to live up the Declaration of Indigenous peoples that means hat developments in the future will not go ahead without the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples whose territories and rights will be impacted.
Site C stands in the way of FIrst Nations developing clean energy, something that many First Nations want to do as viable, sustainable economic development. Such was the promise of the Trudeau Liberals as well, and yet he approved Kinder Morgan and permits on Site C. Now 21 months later he brings out principles to guide the relationship between indigenous peoples and their government and the whole issue of consent. He campaigned on promising consent, and now has mentioned it again. I hope the BCNDP will work with indigenous people in a timely fashion on what free, prior and informed consent means and protect what is left of their title and rights.
Today is a new day in BC, the same issues with critical fires affecting many people, but there is new leadership at the helm and the BCNDP must prove to the people that is a better place to live.