By PETER MILOBAR
MLA, Kamloops-North Thompson
THE FIRST TWO WEEKS of David Eby’s premiership should tell you all you need to know about his leadership style. His actions have shown that he is clearly willing to let British Columbians — and democracy — suffer if it suits his needs and personally benefits him.
Take, for example, the significant public safety concerns that the official opposition and many community groups have been raising, as repeat offenders terrorize individuals and communities. Together, we have been calling for specific actions for the better part of a year, only to have Eby — who was serving as attorney general — first deny there was even a problem and then spend months ignoring those calls for action.
When Eby resigned the post to run his tainted NDP leadership campaign, Murray Rankin replaced him as attorney general and in similar fashion, did nothing of substance. During that year, while the two of them dithered and delayed, more than 900 British Columbians became victims of violent random attacks in Vancouver alone.
Now that he’s premier, suddenly Eby has had a change of heart and has said he will take some of the very actions that our caucus and community advocates have been calling for all year.
So, in essence, he made a calculated political move to delay action for many months so he could be credited with ‘taking action’ in his first few days as premier. The safety of British Columbians was of little importance to him in the process.
Also of no importance to Eby are the democratic principles that our constituents expect their representatives to keep at the centre of their work. The NDP cut an entire week of the fall legislation session unnecessarily to facilitate Eby’s swearing-in as premier.
As a result, during this final week of the session, they are imposing time allocations and ramming through several important pieces of legislation even though many have yet to see thorough, vigorous debate and detailed questioning.
And we’re not talking about run-of-the-mill administrative bills, either. We are talking about substantial and significant changes that require much more than a passing glance.
We’re also talking about the new premier’s much-hyped housing bills that were literally introduced on a Monday; had debate shut down on them by Tuesday; and will be rammed through by the NDP by Thursday.
Take, for example, new rules that will end strata rental and age restrictions, impacting one million British Columbians who live in stratas. These will essentially take effect as soon as the bill is given royal assent on Thursday evening, with little debate in the House over potential unintended consequences which could include strata insurance rates continuing to skyrocket.
It seems David Eby is content to stifle debate on key issues that matter to British Columbians. He couldn’t care less about giving MLAs — your representatives in Victoria — enough time to properly scrutinize legislation that will affect their constituents. Just like he disregarded the public’s right to safety on our streets while he delayed action on repeat offenders.
It’s long been remarked that it’s important for people to make a good first impression when taking on a new role or responsibility. So far, Premier David Eby hasn’t provided any proof he’s looking out for anyone’s best interests but his own.
Peter Milobar is the MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.