MILOBAR – NDP acted like dismissive parents as they shut off debate on bills
By PETER MILOBAR
MLA, Kamloops-North Thompson
DO YOU REMEMBER being a kid and trying to argue with your parents when they said “no” to one of your requests? After questioning their reasoning, you were likely met with the dreaded phrase “because I said so.” No debate, no discussion, no opportunity to be heard — and it was incredibly frustrating.
That’s how many British Columbians must be feeling after the NDP repeatedly shut down debate on several important topics and pieces of legislation during the fall session, removing the ability for MLAs to raise concerns on their behalf.
Out of nowhere, Children and Family Development Minister Mitzi Dean announced massive changes to the province’s autism funding model, which caught many B.C. families and autism advocates off guard. The NDP is cutting individualized autism funding and moving to a central ‘hub’ model, which has parents worried they will lose specialized supports for their kids.
The Opposition repeatedly questioned the minister about these changes, and hundreds of people came to the Legislature to share their deep concerns with the government’s plan. But instead of listening to families, the Minister stuck to her talking points and didn’t give them any reassurance their current supports would stay in place. Parents and advocates left Victoria even more frustrated and angry than when they arrived.
When it comes to legislation, the NDP spent the early part of the session wasting everyone’s time. They were slow to introduce bills and had to make up for the lag by having nearly every member of their caucus speak to either their Throne Speech from last April, or a new Miscellaneous Statutes bill. Have you ever paid attention to a Miscellaneous Statutes bill? Probably not, because they are incredibly dull. They often include ‘housekeeping’ measures like fixing the wording of an old bill, or making other slight changes that don’t usually garner attention.
So imagine dozens of NDP MLAs getting up to debate something as benign as that — and then, watching them sit silent and refuse to debate Bill 22, which will reduce your access to government information.
They then proceeded to cut off debate completely — not only on that bill, but on two hefty forestry bills, before everyone had an adequate chance to question the minister on the details. And that’s on top of the NDP’s refusal to consult with people before introducing these sweeping changes.
Meanwhile, they also rejected an amendment by my colleague Todd Stone aimed at improving people’s access to information about wildfire suppression. The Opposition has made a number of requests on behalf of constituents who want to know how resources were used to combat fires impacting their properties, only to be advised no records were found.
Getting information about how wildfires are fought is important. It should be easier to obtain, not harder — but the NDP is making it so.
It all comes down to an arrogant “government knows best” attitude that serves the NDP well, instead of serving British Columbians well. You have a right to be able to obtain information about how government is making decisions that affect you and your family.
You have a right to fully grasp the massive changes coming to our forest sector and how they might impact your job and your livelihood. And if you’re the parent of a neurodiverse child, you have a right to be the one making choices about the care they receive.
Unfortunately, the NDP doesn’t agree with you.
Peter Milobar is the MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson and House Leader for the Opposition.
Love David’s response, raging in their playpen indeed.
Sounds like the Liberals have their noses out of joint, and are relying on their well ensconced, rhetorical buzzard circling noise training from their previous NDP opposition, from when they were in power. They are not in power, and they dont like it, so they are raging in their playpen.
Notice how quiet they are on the sick day legislation.
They recognise that it will really help low wage earners, and dont want to alienate a big potential voting block, and yet appreciate that they weren’t the ones to have to put it in and anger employers.
The two-face approach to Liberal optics is plain to see.