The legislature resumes Monday with promises of forest reform

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The government is also expected to take action this fall to prevent protests against vaccine passports from taking place outside schools and hospitals.

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A fully vaccinated legislature will resume Monday in Victoria for the first time since the start of the pandemic, with all 87 members allowed to sit in the house at the same time.

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Last spring, seats in the house were limited to two dozen in-person representatives, with the remaining MPs in attendance via Zoom. Starting Monday, anyone with business in the Legislature will need to provide proof of vaccination. Masks are mandatory in all public spaces and social distancing is recommended.

“The three parties and the Clerk’s Office worked closely with Dr. Bonnie Henry to develop a comprehensive security plan so that MPs could return to the Legislature and work hard to build a stronger British Columbia for all. the world, ”said Government House Leader Mike Farnworth.

But the leader of the Greens, Sonia Furstenau, is concerned about the new arrangement.

“I am worried about this,” she said. “Having MPs from across the province travel to Victoria and then return to their communities every week is a less prudent approach than they might like. “

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The legislature is only expected to sit for 24 days until November 25. It’s not a lot of time to introduce and debate new bills, but Forestry Minister Katrine Conroy has said she will bring forward legislation aimed at what she calls “a transformative change in the way forests are managed in this province.

Liberal Opposition Leader Shirley Bond urged the government to move forward, accusing the Prime Minister of ongoing protests against logging in Fairy Creek.

“It only rests at John Horgan’s feet,” she said. “He broke his promises (to end old logging in British Columbia), so things will continue to be very difficult in Fairy Creek and elsewhere in the province. It is high time that John Horgan took responsibility for this file, and it is time to act.

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Liberal Opposition Leader Shirley Bond blamed the Prime Minister for the protests against logging in Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island.
Liberal Opposition Leader Shirley Bond blamed the Prime Minister for the protests against logging in Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island. Photo by Wayne Leidenfrost /PNG

Bond said she also plans to press the government to do more to deal with the opioid crisis, to provide more transparency around COVID-19-related data and to report on his actions during the summer.

“When you look at what happened with the Heated Dome and the loss of almost 600 British Columbians, mostly seniors, as well as the response to the wildfires, the list goes on. We have our work cut out for us. “

The same questions are on the Greens’ agenda.

“This government must be held accountable for its reactive, rather than proactive, response to the pandemic, toxic drug supply and forest management,” Furstenau said.

The government is also expected to take action this fall to prevent protests against vaccine passports from taking place outside schools and hospitals.

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Attorney General David Eby would not say whether the so-called “bubble zones” will be established by law or by policy.

“My team works closely with lawyers on a daily basis to determine what options could be taken by the government,” he said. “We take this very seriously and rest assured that the government is preparing solutions to ensure that health workers, students and teachers can go about their business without any interference. “

Two important reports will be presented to the government before the end of this year. The final report of the Cullen Commission on Money Laundering in British Columbia is due on December 15. The Prime Minister has promised to make his findings public.

A long-term economic plan is also expected in the coming weeks. The province hired Dr. Mariana Mazzucato, a world-renowned scholar from the Institute for Innovations and Public Purpose at University College London, to advise and recommend ways to build “a sustainable, inclusive and innovative economy”.

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  1. Kevin Falcon.

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  2. Premier John Horgan dons his mask following a press conference to provide an update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan from the Victoria Legislature press room on Wednesday September 9, 2020.

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Mazzucato believes the government should never bail out industries. Instead, it should offer incentives and create partnerships with the goal of making money while tackling social issues. Its advice can be instrumental in reforming policies and legislation targeting the resource industries, transportation and affordable housing.

“We were very excited when we saw that Mazzucato had been hired,” said Furstenau. “But this government has a history of bringing in experts and having visionary processes – and the Ancient Cultures Review Committee is one example – but it has failed to act on these transformative recommendations. “

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The government has not said when it will reintroduce Bill-22, which would have allowed young people to be detained for continued treatment in hospital when they have been admitted for an overdose. The controversial bill was withdrawn ahead of last year’s provincial election, after BC’s provincial coroner, Advocate for Children and Youth and other groups representing drug users complained about the infringement of civil liberties it would cause and the prejudice they believe to be law.

There will be no Speech from the Throne during this session because it is not a new session of the legislature, but a resumption of the one that began last December after the provincial election.


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