June 5, 2019
Summer is finally here, and the countdown to holidays is underway for kids in our local elementary and high schools! UBC students, staff and faculty are already well into the summer term, and the provincial legislature just had the final sitting of the Spring session last week.
For our community, summer means festival season – Greek Days, Khatsalano, Brock House Summer Fair, and Point Grey Fiesta to name just a few.
I’ll see you at all of these events this summer; my office staff and I will be attending to help support these important community celebrations.
Summer also means that the Kitsilano Showboat season is starting again, and I look forward to seeing you there as we cheer for local talent on the Showboat stage.
The final weeks of the legislative session were eventful, with many important priorities for Vancouver Point Grey representatives thoroughly discussed and debated. For example:
- Government introduced and passed legislation related to ensuring that we know who actually owns residential properties and B.C. companies, in order to support enforcement of anti-money laundering and tax laws.
- Importantly for many of you (I know because you’ve written to me about the issue), government announced a public inquiry into money laundering. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen is already at work setting up his team and office. While I have not yet heard from the Commissioner on timelines, I expect their office will be set up and they will be hearing from witnesses as soon as this fall.
- Government passed a zero emission vehicle law that requires 10% of cars sold by 2025 to be zero-emission vehicles, as part of our larger CleanBC plan to reduce emissions across the province from multiple sources and to eliminate emissions from private cars by 2050.
- We passed legislation to strengthen protection of our province’s Agricultural Land Reserve, aiming to ensure food security for British Columbians for generations to come. We also passed new forestry legislation to ensure our province’s forests are used wisely in the public interest to generate sustainable jobs, and to reduce dependence on raw log exports and reduce wood waste left on logging sites.
- New employment laws passed during the session will strengthen protections for workers in vulnerable sectors, and introduce better protections for young workers, limiting the types of jobs that children are allowed to do in our province, and protecting them from on-the-job injuries.
- We’ve also continued our work on improving access to justice in our province. We are currently negotiating with the brand new Association of Legal Aid Lawyers to come up with a long-term funding strategy for legal aid. A new certificate program has expanded access to justice for people in the court system who would not have previously qualified for legal aid. This summer and fall, I hope to be announcing new legal aid clinics across the province funded by government in partnership with the Law Foundation of BC, that will improve local access to justice for low-income people.
- British Columbia also appointed our first Human Rights Commissioner in sixteen years, Kasari Govender. Commissioner Govender’s role is more important than ever as we see the rise of hate and intolerance in far too many places around the world – government should promote human rights and equality, and our new Commissioner is perfectly suited to take on this important job.
Your provincial government has already increased education operational funding by 17%, or one billion dollars since we were elected – B.C. is the only jurisdiction we are aware of in North America to so dramatically increase education funding. This funding has resulted in the hiring of 4,000 new teachers, 1,000 new educational assistants, and new supports for students with special needs. Many provincial school districts have most recently received the first increases, in some cases since 2006 and others since 2008, for special needs learners.
More than $2 billion in new education capital funding includes money for the basics – like new school playgrounds, including at our own University Hill Elementary school, and seismically safe schools for our kids at Bayview Elementary and Lord Byng High School, as well as at schools across the province.
On a related note, I hope to see many of you June 19 at the Bayview farewell and open house prior to the seismic upgrade of that school, and I expect to see many U Hill elementary school parents and students at U Hill’s upcoming playground equipment installation and barn raising.
Thank you for your continuing support, and for sending me to Victoria to represent you on these and many other important issues.