Bond says sitting was good one
Although Sherry Ogasawara, NDP candidate for the Prince George-Valemount riding, said she feels little was accomplished during this session of legislature, Attorney General and MLA Shirley Bond, who represents the area in Victoria, disagrees.
“Many issues were debated in legislature and I think it’s important to British Columbians and my constituents to know a lot of constructive work was done,” Bond said. “First of all a pretty major piece of business got done. British Columbia was one of only two jurisdictions in this country that actually balanced its budget in this session.”
She said another bill passed that allows licensed practical nurses to join the B.C. nurses union.
“Seventy per cent of their members wanted to join the BCNU. As a government we supported that and brought the bill into the house, and the NDP voted against that. We believe if the LPN’s want to join and the union supports that, we should too. The NDP voted against allowing nurses to do that. Maybe they want to explain why.”
She added it was government that brought forward a bill to appoint a senior’s advocate in B.C., something seniors have been calling for for some time. The advocate will monitor seniors services and provide advice back to government on issues.
Bond said there were a number of important bills, including a number she brought forward in her role as justice minister.
“The criminal record review amendment act allows for free criminal record checks for volunteers in the province. It’s a pretty major initiative we committed to. The justice reform and transparency act creates a more timely transparent justice system,” she said. “It’s been celebrated as really important work, not just in B.C., but across the country. All those things and more were debated and discuss in legislature. I know the NDP want to concentrate on the negative, want to talk about all the negative stories, but what’s being missed is all the important work that was done leading change.”
Bond said she believes issues revolving around justice should remain non-partisan, and she works hard to ensure that happens.
“I think it’s important we try to work across party lines especially on issues in my case, like justice. I work collaboratively with my colleagues. All my justice bills were very positively debated and were passed. The issue of justice reform should not be a partisan issue.
“The NDP supported all my justice reform initiatives. A lot of great non-partisan work was done. It will lead many new changes in the province in years ahead,” she said. “I want to make sure British Columbians hear the whole story. I work very constructively with the NDP justice critic and public safety critic.”
She said there were issues brought forward during Question Period, like the one revolving around ethnic votes, however that didn’t stop work from going forward.
“During question period the debate was often about things the government had to be held accountable for, but let’s be clear. We made an apology and dealt with the issue.
“The premier said it was wrong and had a review done and apologized. Let’s be clear that was during Question Period. I’m disappointed there’s an attempt to say no constructive work was done. That’s simply not true. We need to tell the whole story. Issues were debated in Question Period and the House continued to do good work during the legislative session.”
Bond questioned Ogasawara’s statement that the Liberals are more concerned with their political future than the people they serve.
“If Sherry is calling into question my 12 years in service as MLA and my motives for being an MLA, I think that’s very unfortunate. I’ve worked tirelessly as an MLA to made a difference for northern B.C.,” she said.
“All you have to do is look around the north to see evidence of my contribution, my commitment, my passion for northern B.C. That’s what I take to Victoria, that’s why I work as hard as I do. My goal is to continue to ensure northern B.C. benefits from the hard work I’ve done over the last 12 years.”
Bond challenged the NDP to lay out their platform.
“I want to talk about exactly what our platform is, and I encourage Sherry to share hers with the constituents. Very few of them have one idea of what the NDP platform contains. I think the constituents should get to choose.
“We have a strong track record, a strong economic background. It’s time for the NDP to lay out their platform.”