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COLUMN: Reflecting on accomplishments with end of legislative session

Brittny Anderson writes about the work done by the provincial government
Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson writes about the end of the legislative season, and looks forward to the summer. Photo: Submitted

by Brittny Anderson

Every day that I get to spend as the MLA for Nelson-Creston is an honour, no matter what the day brings. But at end of each legislative session, I get the chance to reflect on the work that I do alongside Premier David Eby and my New Democrat colleagues, and I am reminded what an honour it truly is.

Through our work this session, we laid out the clear approach focused on work that takes action for people.

We passed a budget for the province that helps people with the cost of living, invests in our health care, and strengthens our economy – including the local economies in our unique rural communities.

We took further action on the housing crisis by passing a property flipping tax to crack down on those who are driving up the cost of housing. We also launched the secondary suite incentive program that will help get more rental units on to the market.

We expanded the First Time Home Buyers program to help more people save money when buying their first home, and we are fast tracking the building of more affordable middle-class homes with BC Builds.

As people around B.C. continue to be challenged by the rising cost of living, we have frozen ICBC basic insurance rates, meaning they will not increase for another two years. And drivers are getting a $110 rebate, because we believe that when ICBC is doing well, money should go back to the people who pay into it.

The BC Family Benefit is also increasing starting in July, so families with lower incomes will have more money back in their pocket to help pay for groceries, gas, and kids summer activities.

Starting June 1, the minimum wage will increase to $17.40 per hour, reflecting the average rate of inflation in the last year, and we’ve ensured that future yearly increases will automatically be tied to the rate of inflation.

We also took several actions to support reconciliation, including making it easier for First Nations to acquire land for their communities, and removing barriers to Indigenous communities exercising jurisdiction over child welfare for their members. We increased funding for First Nations post-secondary institutions, so they can provide more programs to First Nations students.

Our government also introduced the Anti-Racism Act, which will continue our work to remove barriers that Indigenous and racialized people encounter when accessing public services. This work is ongoing, but this historic legislation charts a path forward.

The most touching moment I felt during this session was when survivors and descendants of the Sons of Freedom Doukhobor community sang in unison in the gallery of the Chamber. This happened just before Premier Eby delivered a long overdue official apology for historic wrongs committed against the community.

As we wrapped up our work in Victoria, I was eagerly looking forward to spending this summer back in the Kootenays, connecting with constituents, attending events, and hearing from you.

But the usual excitement at returning home was somewhat bittersweet this year. As we look towards an election this fall, a few of my colleagues took the opportunity to announce they won’t be running again, after years of service to the province.

One of these was Katrine Conroy, our neighbour representing Kootenay West. Katrine has served her constituency for 19 years, and for the last seven served B.C. as a cabinet minister, most recently as Minister of Finance. I am so grateful for her work, her friendship, and for the opportunity to share some of the long drives between the Kootenays and Victoria.

This summer, I plan to be working hard throughout the constituency. If you see me, I hope you will stop by to share your perspective, ask questions about the provincial government, or simply say hi! You can also send me an email, phone the office, or drop by.

I hope you all enjoy a safe and beautiful summer.