Cowichan Valley MLAs eager to get to work

Cowichan Valley MLAs eager to get to work

Fall of Liberal government sees the NDP take power

Both of the Cowichan Valley’s MLAs said they are excited and eager to finally get to work on behalf of their constituents in the Cowichan Valley, and the people of B.C.

Sonia Furstenau, the Green MLA for the Valley, said there’s a “great deal of relief” on behalf of herself and her two Green MLA colleagues after Christy Clark’s Liberal government fell in a 44-42 vote of non-confidence in the legislature on June 29.

Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon has asked NDP leader John Horgan to form a new government, but the longevity and success of his term will depend on the strength of the agreement between Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, who has pledged his caucus’s support to Horgan on matters of confidence.

But Furstenau said she’s “pleased” with the joint legislative agenda that have been agreed upon between the Greens and the NDP, and is now looking forward to finally tackling the issues.

“It’s been seven weeks since the election and it didn’t have to take this long to finally get to this stage,” she said.

“The uncertainty over the last few weeks was caused by a Liberal government that was unwilling to do what it had to do. But that’s all behind us now.”

Furstenau said she expects Horgan to name his cabinet “very soon” and then she, and all the other MLAs, can finally begin substantive work with the government ministries to deal with the issues in the Cowichan Valley and across B.C.

Furstenau said Weaver has already decided she will hold the critic role for the Greens for the Ministry of Children and Families, Environment, Health and Education.

“Those are pretty big files and Jonina Campbell (who ran unsuccessfully for the Green Party in New Westminster in the provincial election) will be brought in to assist me with them,” she said.

“I’m also looking forward to dealing with issues specific to the Cowichan Valley, like moving forward with a new hospital, raising the weir on the Cowichan River and dealing with soil-dumping issues.”

Doug Routley, NDP MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, said he’s also excited to finally get to work for his constituents now that the political uncertainty finally ended with the fall of the Liberal government, and the rise of an NDP minority government.

“Some people in Nanaimo-North Cowichan are fairly wealthy, and I’m proud to represent them, but most are everyday people who work hard but struggle to make ends meet,” Routley said.

“They depend on each other and a government that has principles. To help them and people like them across B.C., we intend to work on a number of initiatives, including child care programs and the redistribution of economic benefits from the province’s large power projects to communities across B.C.”

Routley also said he’s pleased that agreements have already been made that will ban “big money” from politics in the province, and will see the implementation of a proportional representative voting system in B.C.

He also said that Horgan will likely pick a new cabinet soon, but he has no indication at this time if he’ll be given a ministry to run.

“All the NDP MLAs have met with John (Horgan) to explain what we have to offer, but no decisions have been made as to who will be appointed as ministers yet,” Routley said.

“But the situation is different now, and we can finally get things done that the previous government didn’t want to hear or talk about.”