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Campbell should recall Leg, James tells UBCM

New Democratic Party leader Carole James used her speech to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention to call on Premier Gordon Campbell to recall the legislature and to outline her party's priorities.

The government should return to Victoria to do what's needed to move up the referendum on the harmonized sales tax. It's now set for Sept., 2011. “That referendum needs to be helds as soon as possible,” James said.

The legislature could also work on growing the economy, creating jobs, addressing climate change, health care and child poverty, she said.

“Let us get back to the work that matters to you and your communities,” she said.

The province has abandoned some responsibilities to cities and towns, she said, citing the example of Victoria where cuts to mental health facilities and services have contributed to a growth in the number of people living on the streets. Disorder on Pandora Avenue in Victoria “fills me with anger,”

Mayor Dean Fortin and the city council are working on it, she said, but “They can't do it on their own. They need a partner with the provincial government.”

She listed four NDP priorities: growing a strong economy, investing in human capital through education and apprenticeships, committing to sustainability and environmental health, and encouraging “strong vibrant democracy” with open government policies and improved freedom of information processes.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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