Letter: B.C. Green Party wants to collaboration with BC Liberals

Greens want to work with Liberals on developing and improving legislation

Letter: B.C. Green Party wants to collaboration with BC Liberals

Editor,

This is an open letter to Mike de Jong, House Leader for the Official Opposition, BC Liberal caucus.

We are writing to express our caucus’ desire to collaborate with yours on improving legislation.

As you know, advancing good public policy based on evidence is a core goal of our caucus, as is working across party lines.

Our parties have a history of collaboration on this front, for example working together under your past government to pass vital legislation that requires post-secondary institutions to have sexual violence policies, and to improve labour regulations to prevent employers from requiring their employees to wear gender-specific footwear.

We request that when your caucus has amendments to legislation that your members follow the following two processes so we can pass the best public policy for our province.

First, we request your members give adequate notice of amendments by putting them on the order papers in a timely fashion. Even small amendments can have significant and sometimes unanticipated implications.

To responsibly consider amendments, our caucus may need to consult with your caucus, experts, staff and each other.

We need to consider the impacts on our constituents and on existing policy, as well as whether the proposed amendment is constitutional. For this very same reason, bills are rarely debated the same day they are introduced.

Second, the government has recently made legislative drafters available to Opposition members for the first time. As you know from your days in government, it is imperative that new laws be crafted in accordance with proper legal language and in consideration of existing statutes and amendments.

We, therefore, request your caucus take advantage of the legislative drafters, so we can be assured that any proposed amendments are legally sound.

During our debate over Todd Stone’s amendment to Bill 15, we raised concerns that the amendment had not been placed on the order papers and had not been written by legislative drafters.

Shirley Bond stated that it was improper to focus on process when debating policy. However, we believe that for the reasons discussed above, proper process is indeed a prerequisite for good public policy.

We understand Opposition members have the right to introduce amendments without following the above processes.

However, leaders of both our parties have acknowledged this minority government is a message from British Columbians that they want us to work together.

In order to do so, we must not accept the bare minimum standards that are technically required of us. Instead, it is incumbent upon us as elected representatives to make use of all opportunities available to us to ensure we advance good public policy that is in the best interests of British Columbians.

The agreement we signed with the BC NDP is grounded in a relationship of trust and built on a foundation of good faith and no surprises.

Our approach has been to work with your caucus from this same foundation. We hope you will see this as a reasonable request so that we can have a productive working relationship, and so that we can deliver better outcomes for the people we represent.

Andrew Weaver, Leader

Sonia Furstenau, House Leader

Adam Olsen, Caucus Chair and Whip

B.C. Green Party