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BC Liberals cancel fall sitting of Legislature

The British Columbia Liberal government has canceled the fall sitting of the provincial legislature which was scheduled for six weeks starting October 6.

The government house leader and MLA for Abbotsford-Mount Lehman, Mike de Jong, made the announcement today on Vancouver's CKNW radio, arguing that there's no need for the sitting since the BC Liberals have no legislation to pass.

NDP leader Carole James said there is a long list of issues the public wants premier Gordon Campbell's government to address. They include concerns, she said, about care for seniors, poverty, the economy, forest land giveaways and run of the river power projects.

“The public has important issues they want discussed,” she said. “Instead he's just thrown it aside and insulted the public.”

The fall sitting, de Jong said, was always optional. “We always said that the fall session would depend on whether or not there was a need,” he said. “Unlike Carole James and the NDP, we as a government don't think . . . the government should be out passing laws for the sake of passing laws.”

The Liberals have cut much of the manipulation from provincial politics by setting dates for legislative sittings, throne speeches, budgets and elections well in advance, de Jong said. “The manipulation has been removed,” he said. “I'm not going to be lectured to by the leader of a party that practiced manipulation of the political process at the highest level for 10 years.”

With recent polls showing the NDP closing the gap with the Liberals, Campbell may have decided he had too much to lose during the scrutiny that comes with a legislative session, James said. “I'm certain it wasn't a pleasant summer for the Liberal MLAs,” she said. “Just because you get tough questions you don't run and hide.”

James said she will spend the fall touring the province and raising issues.

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