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Liberals cancelled legislative sitting to shut out dissent, says NDP's Horgan

The British Columbia government is unlikely to sit in the legislature again before 2014, finance minister and government house leader Mike de Jong said today. The NDP's house leader, John Horgan, said the BC Liberals cancelled the sitting to suppress dissenting views.

"The government doesn't anticipate at this point recalling the house," de Jong told reporters this morning while presenting the first quarterly update on the province's 2013-2014 budget.

The government is busy with various things, including creating a new tax regime for the liquid natural gas industry, he said. "The house sat in the summer in the aftermath of the election and we want to take the time to prepare for a robust spring legislative sitting," he said.

Some years there have been fall sessions and some years there haven't, de Jong added. "In this particular instance and in this year, we have engaged in the ultimate [test] of accountability called an election."

The NDP's Horgan said cancelling the session takes away the voice of the 56 per cent of people who did not vote for the Liberals. "Vast tracts of B.C. are not represented in the Liberals' caucus," he said. "It's about shutting out dissent in my view, and the best way to do that is to not come here."

By the time the legislature comes back in February it will have almost been a year since Premier Christy Clark sat in the legislature, he said.

After the election, the NDP agreed to a quick summer session on the understanding the house would sit again after a short break. "I agreed on behalf of the official Opposition to truncate debate on the budget because I believed we were coming back in the fall," Horgan said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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