2007 Legislative Session: Third Session, 38th Parliament
HANSARD BLUES


This is a DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY of debate in one sitting of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. This transcript is subject to corrections, and will be replaced by the final, official Hansard report. Use of this transcript, other than in the legislative precinct, is not protected by parliamentary privilege, and public attribution of any of the debate as transcribed here could entail legal liability.


Official Report of

DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Blues)


HANSARD BLUES DRAFT TRANSCRIPT

MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2007

Afternoon Sitting


MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2007

           The House met at 1:34 p.m. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [Mr. Speaker in the chair.]

Introductions by Members

           Hon. G. Campbell: The government side of the House is joined today by constituency assistants from all over the province. I know members of the opposition as well as the government will agree that our constituency assistants are really the backbone of a lot of the services we provide to citizens across British Columbia. I hope the House will make them all welcome and say thanks for their contribution. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           M. Karagianis: I'd like to make an introduction today of someone who actually is not in the precinct with us. It is my granddaughter, who was born on Saturday at 4 a.m., and she is watching her first question period today. I'd like you all to congratulate my daughter Devyn Flesher and her husband Kurt Flesher and welcome Indiana Flesher to her first day at the Leg.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. S. Bond: Today all of us had the pleasure of welcoming a number of excellent schools here to the Legislature as part of Education Week. We are celebrating excellence in education, and today I know that all members of the House would want to recognize those schools that are here with us.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1335]

           From Coast Tsimshian Academy today, there are winners in the aboriginal education category; from Salmon Arm West Elementary, winners in the early learning category; Bowen Island Community School and Nechako Valley Secondary School, who won in the environment category; Ecole Austin Road and Oceanside Middle School, winners in the healthy schools category; Tatla Lake Elementary-Junior Secondary School, our literacy award recipient; and A.L. Fortune Secondary, who was recognized for their trades and skills development programs. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Mr. Speaker, these are outstanding schools, and we're so thrilled to honour them today. I would ask the House to make these guests very welcome.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           G. Coons: Visiting today from the Nass Valley we have a group of young people from Youth Organizing Youth, a project of the
Nisga'a Lisims Government. In the precinct we have their project leader Paul Mercer Sr., along with Kyle Azak, Dorothy Mackay, Nick Azak and Jeffery Stanley. They are looking at post-secondary options and seeing the provincial government in action. Please make them welcome. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. R. Thorpe: It's my pleasure today to welcome some very special guests to the House. They happen to be neighbours of the Speaker. Would the House please welcome Wilfred and Eveline Klein. They are joined by their three sons Ian, Phillip and George. Would the House please make them feel very welcome.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           D. Chudnovsky: We're joined today in the chamber by Ray Rogers, a friend from West Vancouver. Ray is a retired Vancouver firefighter. He provided much service to our community as a firefighter, and he continues to provide service to the community and the province as a kind of citizen watchdog. I know the Minister of Transportation will be well aware of Ray. I think he's his best customer. Would you please welcome Ray Rogers.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. T. Christensen: Today is the start of Social Work Week in British Columbia, and it's an honour for me to ask the House to join me in welcoming a group of individuals who are making a tremendous contribution to children and families and the well-being of vulnerable children and families in communities throughout the province.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I had the privilege of joining a number of social workers from around the province for lunch today. Here representing the more than 2,300 MCFD social workers are Alan Doll from Smithers, Bill Yeung from Surrey, Pamela Parmar from Pemberton and Leah Hilt from here in Victoria.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Representing the Nisga'a child and family services is Georgia Campbell, and representing the Desniqi Services Society is Jennifer Houde. Each of these social workers makes a tremendous contribution to the communities that they live in, the vulnerable children and families in those communities and the province. I would ask the House to please join me in welcoming them to the precinct today.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           R. Fleming: It's a pleasure to introduce to the House today three guests in the gallery from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. ACORN Canada is a community-based organization. They're focused on improving consumer protections for low- and moderate-income families in the pursuit of social justice. Here with us today from that organization is Cindy Ransom, who is an ACORN member of the Guildford chapter in Surrey. She's chair of the B.C. board, and she sits on the Canada board as well.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Persia Sayyari is here as well. She's a lead organizer for the organization, and Erica Yablonkski is a community organizer for B.C. ACORN. Will the House please make them welcome.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Tributes

KELOWNA WOMEN'S CURLING TEAM

           A. Horning: Kelowna's own Kelly Scott and her rink were on a mission to represent Canadians at the World Women's Curling Championship in Aomori, Japan. Now they're coming home as holders of the world women's title. Scott and her rink beat Denmark 8 to 4 in a nail-biter of a game. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I would like to ask for a round of applause in congratulating Kelly Scott and her team of third Jeanna Schraeder, second Sasha Carter, lead Renee Simons, alternate Michelle Allen and coach Gerry Richards for their tremendous victory, of which we are very proud. [Applause.]

[1340]

Introductions by Members

           B. Simpson: Hon. Speaker, I'm happy to welcome today a large group of United Steelworkers union that are here to lobby MLAs with respect to log export and forest policy. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In the House today are Dennis Deveau, legislative director from Ottawa; Scott Lunny, a staff member; Kim Pollock, a researcher; Dale Johnson, a member of Local 13567 and a sawmill worker from New Westminster; Doug Morgan, a member from Local 180 and a local rep from Duncan; Rita LaJeunesse, a member from Local 185 and a logger from Port Alberni; Ken Bayers, from Local 12171 and a logger from Squamish; Donny Iwaskow, Local 1424 and a truck driver from Prince George; Jeff Bromley, Local 1405 and a sawmill worker from the Kootenays.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Please make these guests welcome in our chamber today. I hope we open our hearts and minds to what they have to say to us over the week.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           R. Hawes: I have two introductions today. The first one is Mr. Ross Butcher. He is a good friend and supporter and also is the husband of one of my constituency assistants.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Also in the gallery today is probably my biggest supporter, my best friend and my "she who must be obeyed" for the last 37 years, my wife Alma. Could the House please make them welcome.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           S. Simpson: I'm very pleased to introduce to the House today a good friend of mine, Cheryl Hewitt, who is with us here from Vancouver. Cheryl has a long and distinguished background working in the health care sector around health care policy as well as in the co-op sector. In many ways and most importantly, Cheryl played a large role in getting me here, as my campaign manager in the last election. Please welcome Cheryl.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. M. Coell: I would like the House to make welcome a friend of mine who is also a former mayor of Nanaimo, Graeme Roberts. Would the House please make him welcome.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Tributes

JENNA SPRING

           B. Bennett: One small correction and one tribute. The small correction is to the introductions made by the member for Cariboo North. Jeff Bromley is actually from Cranbrook; he's not from Prince George. It'd be okay if he was from Prince George. That would be fine, but he's not. He's from Cranbrook. Jeff, welcome to the House. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I also wanted to pay tribute to a young woman from Cranbrook, Jenna Spring, who is graduating from Yale University this spring. She made the list of academic all ivy recognition in winter sports. To be eligible, she had to have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and I know it was considerably better. She is in the top ten in goals, assists and points at Yale University for women's ice hockey. Join with me, please, and recognize Jenna's accomplishments.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

B.C. ATHLETES AT
WORLD POLICE AND FIRE GAMES

           H. Bloy: I'd like to congratulate the B.C. team, all 161 members who competed at the 2007 World Police and Fire Games in Adelaide, Australia. The games are about competition, and they're very competitive, but they're also about friendship among law, fire and customs services around the world. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           One of the winners, from Burnaby, of eight gold medals was Cathy Van Staalduinen. Our over-35 soccer team won the gold under the honorary manager Jim Byrnes, legendary blues singer and actor.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I would like to congratulate all the competitors at the games, and I look forward to British Columbia hosting the 2009 World Police and Fire Games.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Introductions by Members

           Hon. B. Penner: It's my pleasure today to ask the House to please welcome Danny Gerak, operator of the Pitt River Fishing Lodge. He provides wonderful service in the Pitt River. I know the Premier has enjoyed fishing there under the careful guidance of Mr. Gerak, as have I and my father as recently as last summer. Would the House please make him welcome. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1345]

           Hon. I. Chong: Joining us is Dr. Shawn Cafferky from the University of Victoria, who is teaching a class, UVic history 344, the political history of Canada. He is joined by his students, too many to name. I hope the House would make him and his students very welcome. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: It's one of those days where I think everybody was introduced. If you weren't, welcome. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Introduction and
First Reading of Bills

PAYDAY LENDING ACT, 2007

           R. Fleming presented a bill intituled Payday Lending Act, 2007. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           R. Fleming: I move that the bill intituled Payday Lending Act, 2007, be read for a first time today.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Motion approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           R. Fleming: I'm pleased to introduce the Payday Lending Act before the House today. The Payday Lending Act addresses the urgent need for reform of the payday lending industry in this province. It will establish the groundwork for an industry that provides services to people in a manner that is both legal and fair. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The current unregulated, unlicensed state of affairs for the payday loan industry does not ensure this. It does not protect the interests of B.C. consumers in a fast-growing industry whose presence is visible on the main streets of our towns and cities.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Payday Lending Act will protect vulnerable borrowers while allowing the industry to be fairly and transparently compensated for the risks of this financial product. Payday lenders typically loan money at a rate greatly in excess of the annual rates allowed by the Criminal Code of Canada. Throughout the industry, violation of the law is a common matter of daily business practice.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Unlike five other provinces, B.C. has no licensing requirements for payday lenders. Our lack of regulation hurts vulnerable people and also deprives the industry of stability and certainty. That is why not just consumer groups favour this legislation, but two-thirds of the payday lending industry also want regulation.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Recently Manitoba gave assent to payday lending legislation. At the federal level an act to allow provinces to twin their consumer affairs responsibility with the power to regulate interest rates is at the final Senate state. By adopting this act, B.C. will transform an unacceptable and criminal interest state of affairs into an orderly and fair industry that protects consumers. This bill protects vulnerable consumers from harmful and predatory practices like the rollover of loans, and debt traps for individuals with insurmountable debt levels.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is an important step to protect the consumer interests of all British Columbians. I ask all members to review and support this bill. I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Bill M209, Payday Lending Act, 2007, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Statements
(Standing Order 25
B)

100TH ANNIVERSARY OF
INDO-CANADIAN DISENFRANCHISEMENT

           H. Bains: On March 26, 1907, legislation was passed in this very chamber to disenfranchise people from India and put them in the same class as the Chinese and Japanese, who were disenfranchised earlier. This law denied them the right to vote for the next 40 years. It was as harshly as any elected body could treat the people whom they were elected to represent. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Today, exactly 100 years later, we say: "How embarrassing." The question comes to mind: what were they thinking?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What followed was a period of 40 years of long and painful struggle to bring back sanity and justice in this province and this country and Darshan Singh, and the CCF who worked with the Khalsa Diwan Society to convince the politicians of the day to right the wrongs that they have committed.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           As a result of their efforts, in 1947 people from India, China and Japan who chose Canada as their new home were granted the right to be equal and, therefore, granted the right to vote.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           As we sit here and reflect back and as embarrassed as we feel by certain decisions made by those who sat in these chairs before us, we must pause and pay tribute to those great souls such as Indar Singh Gill, Hussain Rahim, Dr. D.P. Pandia and others from different backgrounds for working unselfishly to build a society based on equality where no one is left behind, where no one is jailed for exercising their basic fundamental democratic right — an inclusive society where we celebrate and learn from our diverse cultures, where we find unity in diversity.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There's a lesson for all us legislators to learn from this very sad and unfortunate event in our history. That is that before we pass any legislation, we must ask ourselves these questions. Will a decision pass the test of time in the future? Will our decisions embarrass our future generations?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1350]

           D. Hayer: Last Wednesday was the first day of spring — a time for new beginnings, a time for new awakening. Last Wednesday, March 21, was also a time of awakening across the globe for people from all nations to recognize International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Discrimination in any form is simply not acceptable. Yet through ignorance it continues today and will continue unless we all work relentlessly to educate and enforce the universality of equality and respect.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Remarkably, 100 years ago the B.C. government of the day took away the right of Indo-Canadians to vote. It took 40 years of the hard work of our pioneers from many different backgrounds to end this shameful practice of the British Columbia government of the day.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           One week from today we will mark the 60th anniversary of this return to democracy. It was not until April 2, 1947, that Canadians of East Indian, Chinese and Japanese descent and even our own first nations people were given what we take for granted: the right to vote. On that day our province decided that discrimination has no place in our society.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           British Columbia now has one of the most racially, culturally and ethnically diverse populations in the world. For us to continue to grow and prosper, we must not only embrace all those persons of different races who are living here now, but we must encourage people from throughout the world to come here by providing a discrimination-free society.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We are a province of immigrants, and everybody must learn that differences in colour, race or religion are not just to be tolerated but should be celebrated and welcomed. Each and every one of us has an obligation to repeat that message loud and clear and to work tirelessly and lead by example.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

B.C. ABORIGINAL HIV/AIDS CONFERENCE

           J. Kwan: I rise in the House today to recognize the opening of the 11th annual B.C. Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Conference entitled "Honouring the Circle: Our Ways, Our Traditions." The conference will take place between March 26 and 28 here in Victoria. It is co-hosted by the Coast Salish first nations. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We all know that HIV is not simply a health issue. It's also a social justice issue. All around the world the people who have the least ability to control the risks of HIV/AIDS are those who are on the periphery of society. The people most at risk for HIV are also dealing with poverty, racism, abuse and many other forms of oppression.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We know that aboriginal people, youth, prison inmates and women are most at risk in Canada today for developing the disease. Low income levels, social status, gender and culture are also contributing factors in the proliferation of this disease.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There are many alarming trends that we must address as lawmakers. How many of us are aware of the fact that 26.5 percent of new HIV infections in Canada are among aboriginal youth under the age of 30? We know that some persons or groups face additional health risks due to a social environment largely determined by dominant cultural values. These values can contribute to the marginalization or stigmatization of minority cultural values and lead to a lack of culturally appropriate health care, especially amongst first nations.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This annual conference is vitally important in breaking down barriers and in creating a space to discuss these issues in a serious and straightforward manner. The Leader of the Opposition and I will be there tonight to welcome the participants of this conference, and I ask all members of this House to join me in welcoming the 11th annual B.C. Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Conference to Victoria.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

MUSIC PROGRAMS IN SCHOOLS

           I. Black: I rise on this the first day of Education Week in B.C. to highlight the importance of music programs in our schools. I come from a musical family — well, at least on my dad's side. He's a piano player like I am — more Oscar Peterson than Elton John, I suppose — and there are a few others of us in this House who have on occasion subjected our colleagues to our talents. For my part, I use that term rather loosely. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           While my boys are learning on the family piano, not all kids are exposed to music in the home, making school music programs even more important. A well-rounded and balanced school education includes exposure to quality programs and music — whether traditional band, choir, percussion or vocal jazz — and this exposure often creates a lifelong interest in and passion for music.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Through this exposure and instruction, students learn more than just how to play an instrument or hit a high note. Music programs allow students to explore their creativity, and for the tall, skinny kids like me with little athletic skill, they often lead to a new-found confidence.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1355]

           One of my music teachers, Zane Zalis, had an enormous impact on my life, and now as a good friend, he still does. I'm envious of his command of this area of human expression and proud of his passion to instil it in so many different forms to thousands of students through the years — and counting. He also proves every day that music teaches extraordinary self-discipline and a unique form of teamwork and is a highly effective vehicle for students to push themselves to attain and exceed standards of excellence. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           These programs came under threat recently when a rather zealous individual pressed our courts to call into question the validity by which we've seen both music programs and students themselves flourish for decades. I for one look forward to the legislative changes that will give reassurance to music teachers and reaffirm if not reinstate the choice and flexibility for our students in pursuing the joy of music.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

200TH ANNIVERSARY OF
ABOLITION OF SLAVERY

           B. Simpson: This past Sunday marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the United Kingdom. Without a doubt, William Wilberforce was the driving force behind the English Parliament's concession to abolish the slave trade. His heroic efforts have now been documented in the movie Amazing Grace, which I highly recommend to members of this House. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           For Wilberforce, two great objectives were central to both his political and his personal life: the abolition of slavery and the reformation of society. He remains a testament to activism in its purest and most honourable sense. His political energy was directed at the betterment of society as a whole, not for the advantage of the privileged few.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           However, the abolition of slavery in the U.K. was also accomplished by one of the very first modern protest campaigns. The campaign was engineered by a group of activists led by Wilberforce, which at the time included women and ex-slaves — two groups that had no political voice. The campaign used most of the now familiar public protest devices — public education, book tours, petitions, letter-writing campaigns and political debate in the House of Commons. It was the most comprehensive and tactical public pressure campaign undertaken to that point in history, and it still took years to persuade the politicians of the day to do the right thing. Some things are slow to change.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           With this year's 200th anniversary of abolition, there is a renewed call for the abolition of slavery worldwide. It is estimated that 20 million people still live in some form of slavery. Modern slavery includes bonded and forced labour, forced marriages and human trafficking. There are an estimated 126 million children who are forced to work in inhumane conditions. Many are forced to become child soldiers.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The modern anti-slavery movement is now challenging every elected official to become a modern Wilberforce and join the fight to abolish slavery worldwide. I trust that each member of this House will assist in this campaign by educating themselves about modern slavery and by joining the fight to abolish it once and for all.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION PLAN

           B. Bennett: I live in the Rocky Mountain Trench, which was historically a fire-controlled ecosystem. Every five to 15 years hot, fast-moving ground-level fires would sweep across the open range and remove the millions of lodgepole pine and Douglas fir seedlings that were trying to establish, leaving species of plants, birds, insects and animals that often are unique to natural grasslands. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When European settlers first arrived in the area and joined the Ktunaxa people, the Rocky Mountain Trench was open rolling grasslands interspersed by gigantic, thousand-year-old western larch, fir and yellow pine. Today, after 100 years of fire suppression, the trench is overgrown with unhealthy stands of spindly fir and pine. Ironically, it is a terrible fire hazard. There are more endangered species of flora and fauna in the rapidly disappearing grasslands of B.C. than in any other ecosystem type in the province.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Recently the government created a provincial ecosystem restoration program, a provincial director for grasslands recovery and an annual budget of $2 million a year. This is a first for British Columbia. Every year the trench loses 3,500 hectares of grasslands to forest ingrowth.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The new ecosystem director for the province, Greg Anderson — who just happens to be from Cranbrook — has established an aggressive grasslands restoration target of 8,500 hectares a year, which will finally allow us to catch up. But natural grasslands cannot be restored simply by taking the trees away.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The areas must all be slashed, the debris removed and the remaining materials burned to replicate the actions of Mother Nature. We're finally headed in the right direction with this initiative not only for the Rocky Mountain Trench but for other important grasslands in B.C.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My thanks to the Premier, who has been out to the East Kootenay many times and is familiar with this file. My thanks also to the Minister of Forests, who, as is his practice, recognized there was a problem and went about fixing it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1400]

           I also want to thank those in the region who have taught me about this problem over the last six years and who never let me forget about it: Maurice Hansen, Faye Street, the East Kootenay Wildlife Association and of course the B.C. Grasslands Council. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Oral Questions

SAFETY UPGRADES ON NORTHERN FERRIES

           G. Coons: It's been over a year since the sinking of the Queen of the North and two months since the release of the Morfitt safety audit, and today's internal report from B.C. Ferries does not address the serious issues identified in the Morfitt report. British Columbians still have many questions that need answers. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Morfitt report had 41 recommendations that indicate major problems with the safety management system, risk management, handover procedures, bridge management training and fire drills as well as many other critical concerns.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My question is to the Minister of Transportation. What is the minister doing to ensure that all the Morfitt recommendations will be acted upon to protect passengers and crew members?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. K. Falcon: First of all, I think it's important to point out to the member that B.C. Ferries actually committed to implementing every single one of the Morfitt report recommendations, as they should do and as we would expect them to do.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I think one of the important things here — and it's appropriate this member asked the question — is, as I said from the very beginning, that we not jump to conclusions or try to form conclusions on what you think may have happened before you had all the facts.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I recall that after the very tragic sinking of the Queen of the North, that particular member consistently tried to suggest there were huge safety problems at B.C. Ferries. Actually, the Morfitt report points out very clearly that that is not the case.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The internal divisional inquiry that was just released today again points out that this appears to be a case of human error. It's unfortunate that there's human error, but, again, there were no mechanical or equipment breakdowns or flaws whatsoever. I think it's important for that member going forward…. I would hope that this could be an instructional lesson to actually wait until you have the information before you form conclusions that are premature.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           G. Coons: Yes, I do. I find it quite appropriate that the minister wants to talk about lessons. Perhaps he should have read the Morfitt report and looked at the 41 recommendations to see that the operational safety and the objectives of the B.C. Ferries Corporation are in conflict with one another, but maybe that's something he can delve into with his homework.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My supplemental is dealing with the internal report released today. Something that jumped out is a serious concern with lifeboats. The Queen of the North was equipped with open lifeboats exposing passengers to the north coast weather. It's over a year later, and the other vessel still plying the northern waters has open lifeboats.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Queen of Prince Rupert is not expected to be retired for another two years. There's no plan whatsoever to replace the lifeboats. At the same time, the minister responsible is pumping over $140 million into B.C. Ferries next year.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           So my question is to the minister. When will the minister use the leverage he has to make safety a priority and ensure that northern ferries get the upgrades they need to keep people safe?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. K. Falcon: Well, I've got to say I'm a little surprised to hear the member ask these questions.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Morfitt report…. Read the executive summary at least, Member, because what it says very clearly…. This is the Auditor General speaking, not the Minister of Transportation. He says there is a high commitment — not a modest commitment, not a somewhat, you know, not quite sure whether it's a strong commitment. It is a high commitment on all of the members — the board of directors, the management of B.C. Ferries and the staff — to safety. It is a high commitment through….
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           And you know, the member shouldn't confuse the fact that when you have a tragic incident like the sinking of a ferry — something that has never happened in the history of B.C. Ferries — there should be recommendations. You should always look for ways to improve safety. That's exactly what the divisional inquiry has done. It has made recommendations.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That is a positive thing, and going forward they will continue to ensure that B.C. Ferries has the best safety record in the world — which it does.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1405]

FUEL REMOVAL FROM
QUEEN OF THE NORTH

           S. Simpson: After more than a year, there are still as much as 200,000 litres of fuel sitting on the bottom of Wright Sound as a result of the sinking of the Queen of the North. The residents of Hartley Bay as well as the rest of British Columbians are concerned about the status of these tanks and whether they constitute an environmental and marine catastrophe waiting to happen. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           While the Coast Guard may have responsibility for this matter, it does not excuse the province from protecting British Columbia's environmental interests. My question to the Minister of Environment: after a year of no resolution to this issue, what is he doing to get action for the removal of this fuel from the ocean floor now?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. B. Penner: As the member should know, within hours of the unfortunate sinking last year, Ministry of Environment staff were on site despite the remote location. Within hours of that and their arrival, booms were deployed to help contain the spread of the diesel fuel. A lot of work went on for a number of weeks to contain and remediate the site.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In the meantime, we have been working with the Canadian Coast Guard. The member will be aware that under the constitution of Canada, navigable waters are a federal responsibility. However, our staff is working closely with the Canadian Coast Guard, because I'm sure we in this House would all agree that we would not like to have the unintended consequence of a complete discharge of the remaining fuel on the vessel if the fuel removal is approached in an unsafe manner.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           S. Simpson: It's not hours anymore; it's over a year. This government has demonstrated a remarkable amount of inaction and lack of leadership when it comes to dealing with Ottawa. We saw that in the federal budget that just passed where British Columbia got screwed, quite frankly, on federal spending.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Member, withdraw it. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           S. Simpson: Withdraw.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Continue. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           S. Simpson: I will. We lost out because of a lack of leadership from this government. Our concern now is: are we facing the same inaction and lack of leadership when it comes to this environmental question here? B.C. Ferries is accountable for this accident, and the government can't shed its responsibility for the result.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           While we may have had to wait for a year to get the internal report, there's no reason why we should have had to wait for a year to get action on the fuel sitting at the bottom of Wright Sound.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My question to the minister is: does this minister really believe his government has no responsibility to the people of Hartley Bay or the rest of British Columbians to stand up for our province, to take action and to get this mess properly cleaned up now?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. B. Penner: I would caution that member and every other member of the opposition against being an armchair engineer if they don't have the credentials to back it up. I don't think the member does have an engineering degree, so I'll take my advice from people that do.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Under the constitution of Canada, navigable waters are a federal responsibility. The Canadian Coast Guard asserts responsibility over sunken vessels. However, we have been working closely with the Canadian Coast Guard and B.C. Ferries to try to put together a plan that would not result in the unintended release of the remaining fuel. That would be an environmental disaster that none of us wants to see in this House.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1410]

AUDIT PROCEDURES IN
TRANSPORTATION MINISTRY

           G. Gentner: On the government purchase card entries for 2005-2006, the Ministry of Transportation spent $300 at Honey Gifts Inc. On its website Honey Gifts specializes in adult sex toys, lubricants and lingerie. My question to the Minister of Transportation is: why was the ministry's credit cards used to purchase such items? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. K. Falcon: I think it's important to point out that I have an operating budget of a billion dollars a year. I'm not aware of that specific item. As you know, I am doing estimates this afternoon. I'd be happy to have the answer for that member during estimates.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. Member, continue. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           G. Gentner: The minister fails to realize how serious the matter is. To go line by line in your ministry with the use of a credit card, the credit card that basically represents the people of British Columbia, is something this minister should be on top of. Strictly….
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           G. Gentner: The minister should therefore know whether or not it is true that his ministry has been involved with dating services, another expenditure. Would the minister like to comment?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. K. Falcon: These members have every opportunity during estimates to ask me about any part of my billion-dollar-a-year operating budget. That member knows that very well. For him to try and pull out little bits and pieces in question period and try and suggest something untoward is going on is irresponsible.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That member also knows that we have internal audit functions in the province of British Columbia that go through my ministry and every other ministry budget in great detail and report out publicly, and the reports have all been positive.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           M. Farnworth: There are internal audits in place, but what we're questioning are the policies of the cards used by government ministries in terms of how they're used and how the charges are made on them. It's perfectly appropriate to ask when there seem to be some issues being raised, and I don't think that should be treated lightly.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The member raised a question about dating services so the minister can look at it and have an answer for estimates this afternoon. I will give him the specific name. It's JDate dating services, and it's an expenditure of $191. He may not like the question, but it's our right to ask the question. If he can have an answer for estimates, that would be much appreciated.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           While he's at it, he may also want to look into expenditures in Nelson. Skiing — $3,263.43 at the Village Ski Hut in Nelson. But what I really want to know is: how often are the audit procedures reviewed, and when was the last time the minister personally asked to see whether or not they had been updated and how audit procedures were happening and being managed?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. K. Falcon: You know, this is a classic example of where they will try and take a little bit of information and try and smear the professional public service. Again, as I have said before: wouldn't it be nice just for once to actually get some facts — maybe to come and even ask the minister?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The minister could tell you, for example, that we did have a case of credit card fraud last year. I suspect this probably has to do with the credit card fraud, where someone stole a credit card and used that number for e-commerce and made these types of purchases.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1415]

           Rather than trying to insinuate that there's a pattern within the ministry of going out and making irresponsible purchases, trying to smear the public service, why don't you actually come to the minister and ask the minister for that information? I'd be glad to give the answers. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           M. Farnworth: Well, when you review the expenditures and find out, for example, that $85,000 is being spent on pizza and that $20,000 is being spent on doughnuts, you do start to ask questions about what the government's priorities are. So it's only fair for the opposition to ask questions.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Once again, my question to the minister is: when was the last time he had a briefing on the audit procedures in his ministry and whether or not they were working the way that they should be working?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. K. Falcon: Again, as I say to the member…. You know, they like to bring this up in question period. I believe this is an incident, which was actually identified through internal audit, where there was a case of credit card fraud. As a result of the credit card fraud, individuals who are not public servants may have made purchases that were inappropriate.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I hate to break it to the members opposite that this kind of stuff actually happens, unfortunately, every day in the world that we live in. What I really object to is that those members would try and take a case like that and stand up in question period in this House and malign public servants without actually knowing the facts.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           One simple visit to my office, one phone call, one e-mail. I would have been happy to get that information back to that member or any of those members immediately, and I'm just really disappointed that they wouldn't do that.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

FUNDING FOR
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

           J. Kwan: I hope the Premier and the Minister of Finance are satisfied with that answer. Let me just say this. The government is on record as saying: "We're making it a priority to increase opportunities for people with disabilities to participate more in their communities.... We want persons with disabilities to enjoy opportunities in the workforce, confident in the knowledge that our programs and services will continue to support them." This is what the government said. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My constituent Miss Dale Labatt tried to secure a place for the community volunteer program and was told there's a one-to-two-year wait-list. The regional office in Vancouver–Mount Pleasant advised that there's not enough money in the budget to support the need of this program.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           To the minister: will he commit to fully fund the community volunteer program so that Miss Labatt and others like her could get access to this program within one to two months of application?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. C. Richmond: Yes, we go to every length possible to make sure that people with disabilities can enter a volunteer program in their community. It isn't always possible to place them, as sometimes the organizations that we place them with are full and have no vacancies. I can assure the member and everyone in British Columbia that we do our very best to place disabled people in a volunteer program.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           J. Kwan: Well, the government's very best is showing a one-to-two-year wait-list in the region of Vancouver–Mount Pleasant. It's almost a year in the member for Powell River–Sunshine Coast's area in terms of the wait-list. Quite frankly, the very best from this government is not good enough. The government sees fit to spend thousands of dollars on questionable spending in areas that my colleagues have just raised earlier today.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           To the Premier: how is it possible that the community volunteer program is not being funded sufficiently so that disabled people can access the work programs that they desire?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. C. Richmond: To get people with disabilities into the volunteer program is quite often a stepping stone into getting them into part-time or full-time employment. Last year we increased their monthly allowance by $70, and we increased their employment exemption by $500 — something that was far in excess of anything done by the previous government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1420]

           Our record is excellent at getting disabled people into the workforce, and our 10 by 10 Challenge has been picked up provincewide by municipalities and is going to be an unqualified success. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

CLOSING OF DENI HOUSE

           C. Wyse: As seniors in Williams Lake are being forced to move from Deni House, the issue of safety has been raised. Families and seniors along with the local fire chief have raised the concern about staffing levels being inadequate to safely move the individuals in case of a fire. Four staff members would be expected to move 113 seniors should a fire occur during the night. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My question: how does the minister justify seniors being forced to move against their will with this concern not being satisfactorily addressed?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. G. Abbott: The place where people will be moving, the Williams Lake retirement village, is far superior to the building that they are departing. There is wheelchair accessibility, there are private rooms, and there are wonderful recreational and social amenities. It is a far better facility than the one they're leaving.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In fact, if I may quote briefly from a letter of March 18, 2003, to the Williams Lake Tribune from the member who is now the member for Cariboo South. This letter not only seems to contemplate a P3 to replace Deni House, but it contemplates conversion of that Deni House facility into a mental health facility. What's changed since 2003, Mr. Speaker?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. The member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Wyse: One of the changes that has occurred is a change in the MLA for Cariboo South since that…. But it is time to return to the actual important issue that is here at hand.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Interior Health has used inaccurate information to justify the closure of Deni House in Williams Lake. Deni House is less than 20 years old with an ability to be expanded. Interior Health has failed to demonstrate that any modification that Deni House may require to meet new standards is more expensive than its total contract with a privately owned facility.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The need for more spaces for seniors has been shown. It is estimated that with the average of about ten seniors receiving care in Cariboo Memorial Hospital, 28 acute care beds will continue with the closure at Deni House. Most of the seniors and their families are challenging the closure of Deni House.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My question: on behalf of the seniors and their families, will the Minister of Health finally intervene on behalf of these seniors and keep Deni House open?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. G. Abbott: I absolutely support Interior Health in the changes they are making. It is a great improvement, both quantitatively and qualitatively, for the frail elderly of Williams Lake. Williams Lake retirement village is a wonderful facility and is superior to the facility Deni House.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Again, since 2003 P3s are no longer acceptable to the member. Apparently it was back in 2003. Apparently the conversion of Deni House to a mental health facility was okay in 2003, when he was a councillor, but is no longer acceptable when he is an MLA.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Further, Mr. Speaker, the Williams Lake retirement village is not the only facility in the province that has more than one floor. The reason why we have sprinkler systems, the reasons why we have construction to fire code are to contemplate that possibility of actually having a facility on more than one floor in this province.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

LOGGING PRACTICES ON PRIVATE LANDS

           B. Simpson: Over a year ago the Minister of Forests committed in this House that he would visit Port Alberni, meet with the people in Port Alberni and see first hand their concerns about the logging practices on private lands that are damaging their watersheds. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1425]

           The minister has not fulfilled that promise, and this week the people of Port Alberni are now camped out on the Ministry of Forests property, hoping that the minister will show up and meet with them. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           So my question to the Minister of Forests is this. Will the minister commit today to go up to Port Alberni this week, go to his own ministry offices and meet with the people of Port Alberni who want to speak to him about logging practices in that valley?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. R. Coleman: I've been to Port Alberni, number one. Number two, the Save Our Valley coalition, which is the group that's at our office today, asked for a report and a study to be done in the Port Alberni region. That study has been ongoing. I met with them at the Legislature not too long ago.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In addition to that, they asked for a log export review to be done. That's done. There's now a log export plan coming forward, along with a coast forest recovery plan. Actually, everything these people have asked for in Port Alberni, we've delivered.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           B. Simpson: I certainly do, Mr. Speaker.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Again, if the minister would actually go to Port Alberni, meet with the people in Port Alberni, rather than flying in, spending ten minutes with his staff and flying out…. Nobody in the community even knew he was there. If he would go to the community and meet with them, rather than them having to come here and force a meeting with him….
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Member, just take your seat.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Continue.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           B. Simpson: The minister would actually find that the issue of concern in Port Alberni is the same issue of concern in the Cowichan Valley and in the Comox Valley. That is the logging practice on private lands — private lands that this government released to their Liberal donors; private lands that this government promised would be managed sustainably; private lands now that people throughout Vancouver Island are saying are not being managed sustainably, and watersheds are being damaged throughout the Island.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           So my question to the Forests Minister is this. This government promised, when those private lands were released without public consultation, that they would ensure they were managed sustainably. The people of this Island do not believe that to be the case. Will the Minister of Forests commit the Forest Practices Board to do an audit of forest practices on the private lands that have been released, to see who's right?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. R. Coleman: I really thought the drivel at the front of the question was actually useless to any part of the discussion, because it shows how uninformed the member is. However, the member is also completely uninformed in the fact that I don't direct the Forest Practices Board to audit anything. They're an independent auditing body, and that's why it's successful. They go ahead and do the job independent of me as a minister. I will never interfere in the Forest Practices Board being able to do their job.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

FORESTS MINISTRY CONSULTATION
WITH FIRST NATIONS ON
RELEASE OF PRIVATE LANDS

           C. Trevena: When the former Minister of Forests released the private lands from tree farm licences 39 and 44 in 2004, the Supreme Court concluded he failed to consult and accommodate the first nations. The minister was in fact reprimanded by the court for effectively dishonouring the Crown. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That minister, as we know, is now the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. I'd like to ask him why he didn't stop the current Minister of Forests and Range from repeating his mistakes when the private lands were released from TFL 6 this January.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. M. de Jong: I've waited patiently for an opportunity to engage with a member of the opposition on what the government is doing in the era of a new relationship. The member has correctly pointed out that we were the government that signed Forest and Range opportunity agreements with those first nations, which got them involved in the forestry economy for the first time. This is the government — in recognizing, as we say in The New Relationship, that we are truly all here to stay — that has effected that reconciliation in agreements with the Kwadacha and the Williston reservoir right here on the very grounds that this Legislature sits — a reconciliation agreement. I could go on about the….
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1430]

           Interjections. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. M. de Jong: I'd like to talk about the three final agreements that are awaiting pending ratification. But curiosity prevents me from doing that because now, three months after those agreements have been initialled, we still can't get an answer from the Leader of the Opposition. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Does the opposition stand with us for reconciliation, for the new relationship, for these final agreements, or do they have some other? What's the answer from the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker? Where do they stand? Where are they on these final agreements?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [End of question period.]

Orders of the Day

           Hon. M. de Jong: In this chamber I call committee stage debate on Bill 13, Supply Act (No. 1). In Committee A, Committee of Supply, and for the information of members, debate is continued on the Ministry of Transportation estimates. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Committee of the Whole House

SUPPLY ACT (No. 1), 2007

           The House in Committee of the Whole (Section B) on Bill 13; S. Hammell in the chair. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           The committee met at 2:34 p.m.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Section 1 approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1435]

           On section 2. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           B. Ralston: Looking first at clause 2(a), Schedule C, I wonder if the minister could briefly explain the mechanism here. There are four ministries mentioned: Advanced Education, Education, Health and Transportation. I take it that they're for ongoing capital projects, but I just want to confirm that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. C. Taylor: Yes, that's correct.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Sections 2 to 4 inclusive approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Preamble approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Title approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. C. Taylor: Hon. Chair, I move that the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Motion approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           The committee rose at 2:36 p.m.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Report and
Third Reading of Bills

SUPPLY ACT (No. 1), 2007

           Bill 13, Supply Act (No. 1), 2007, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. C. Richmond: I call adjourned debate on second reading of Bill 11, Community Services Statutes Amendment Act, 2007, for the Minister of Community Services.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: We'll take a short five-minute recess until the minister gets here. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           The House recessed from 2:37 p.m. to 2:39 p.m.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [Mr. Speaker in the chair.]

Second Reading of Bills

COMMUNITY SERVICES STATUTES
AMENDMENT ACT, 2007

(continued)

           C. Wyse: It indeed is my privilege to pick up debate from where we were approximately ten days ago on Bill 11. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           For those who may have forgotten where we were at within the debate, I had spent a fair bit of time acknowledging the very good attributes contained within this particular bill and commended the minister for the work she has undertaken upon this particular item. However, I did also draw to the attention of the House concerns that we on this side of the House have with some sections in particular in the act — sections 14 and 15.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1440]

           I'm going to concentrate the majority of my comments this afternoon, in the time that I have left, on section 15. I will leave more detailed discussion on section 14 to third reading. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [S. Hammell in the chair.]

           What we find in section 15 is an ability for the cabinet to circumvent the wishes of local government. It allows for the establishment of a resort designation based upon some very limited restrictions. "An area may be designated as resort region only if (a) the area includes a municipality, and (b) the area does not include a portion of a municipality." That is a very dramatic and drastic change in method of implementing such an item. It is with that that I wish to begin my discussion today.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What we find here is that the government in actual fact is breaking its word — its promise, if you like — when we look at a specific example, Jumbo Glacier Resort, a proposed development in the Kootenays of British Columbia. I would like for the record to draw attention of members here in the House to the history around this particular proposal.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When we go back — well, it's more than 15 years — to 1991, that was when the Jumbo Glacier proposal was first put on the table here in front of us in British Columbia. In 1996 the regional district voted in favour of asking the province to create a mountain resort municipality for Jumbo if it received environmental approval along the way. In the 2004 throne speech there was an indication of an intent to open up B.C. to further resort development. As we moved into October of 2004, the environmental assessment was announced, and the minister's support for the resort…. But the press release claims: "The province says the ultimate Jumbo decision is up to the region." As we move along to 2005, the same regional district of East Kootenay voted to retain control over the decision of Jumbo.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Now we end up with this particular legislation here in front of us. This proposed piece of legislation carries on in direct contradiction of the Community Charter, signed in 2004 with local governments, in which there was an agreement in writing signed by both the local government and Victoria to recognize the individual powers and authority of the two levels of government and, likewise, to ensure that these arrangements would be honoured and carried on.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Since that agreement has been signed there has been a constant and consistent reduction of the independence that had been assigned to local government. Once more, we have contained here in section 15 an amendment that was stuck away in a miscellaneous bill — maybe 50 words on several typewritten pages — that disguised, if you like, Madam Speaker, the intent of this particular amendment to the bylaw. This is something of concern when we consider it within the context of the government breaking promises on dealing with such items.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Likewise, the second major reason for concern around this item is the dismissal of the authority of local governments over such important issues. Once more, it carries on with the practice that we found in section 56 under Bill 30, where local governments had the ability to respond to local issues around independent power-producing projects, where local issues were now removed from having a fair, open and transparent hearing.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1445]

           Once more we find in section 15 in Bill 11 the same concerns — grave concerns to this side of the House. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Now the third aspect that comes into the debate for concern here is the environmental concerns, in particular around this one example of Jumbo Glacier Resort. I will leave it to my colleagues who come from that part of the province to elaborate in greater detail the concerns that they have around the potential use of this part of Bill 11, section 15.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           However, I don't wish this debate to simply remain focused upon a particular example. There is no limitation contained in the legislation for how often and when this particular piece of legislation may be moved. It may be enacted upon, of course, when any government in the future, any cabinet in the future meets those very bare minimum conditions. That cabinet then unilaterally may move upon that particular item.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           One of the tragedies that this side of the House finds itself in…. In a piece of legislation that contains so many well-thought-out items, so many items contained within it that are beneficial and known and seem to be beneficial across so many different parts of the province, to have this one item contained in it that has such wide-ranging, unhealthy consequences concerns us when we eventually come around to have to vote upon this particular aspect.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I wish to return at this time to some comments that have been made around the Jumbo Glacier project. This particular project has been strongly opposed by the local community for the past 15 years. Polling has consistently demonstrated the community's strong opposition to this project on environmental, social and economic grounds. The Jumbo Valley is located in a remote wild area adjacent to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy and 55 kilometres from Invermere, the nearest municipality.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Access to the Jumbo Valley is 35 kilometres beyond Panorama ski hill via dirt and gravel mountain road with over 18 avalanche slide paths and multiple single-lane creek crossings. The first nations have registered strong opposition to the project. The Purcell Mountains ecosystem, of which the Jumbo Valley is essential, supports a viable population of grizzly bears, a species that would be in direct conflict with any human development.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           According to government biologists, it is not possible to mitigate environmental impacts without the unpopular prospect of closing off all surrounding drainages to public access. I refer to the government biologists as being the experts here. So there, if you like, begins to give you somewhat of a flavour of the concerns that exist around section 15 of Bill 11. It also gives you some concerns around a particular example and how it may be used in order to circumvent the wishes and desires of the local residents of a part of British Columbia.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Local MLAs from this part of the province, upon discovering, much to their surprise, ten days ago, section 15…. Those individuals have been in touch with the MLAs from that area in huge numbers. They have brought forward their concerns about how section 15 may be used and the possibility that it opens up for the use of the cabinet in circumventing the wishes of the local community.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1450]

           I don't wish and do not intend to enter into reading all the correspondence that has come through. However, I do wish to bring to this House knowledge that there have been literally tens — scores, if you like — of correspondence that have been sent in voicing the concerns about this part of the act. However, I am going to read into the record a couple of these particular statements so that the House gets a flavour of why the concern exists here in British Columbia about section 15 of Bill 11. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

To the Premier:

           I feel betrayed by you and your government, because you promised that the Jumbo issue would be decided locally. To go back on your word is despicable. Section 15 of Bill 11, if passed as is, will definitely tell the voters of the East Kootenay, the whole province, that you are not trustworthy. It also tells voters that you and your government will support any resort proposal, especially if the resort is high-end and located in the heartland. The East Kootenay is available to whoever has the most money. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I feel ashamed and heartbroken if the Jumbo Glacier Resort promoter is given real estate rights in the Jumbo Valley. In light of the growing awareness of global warming, it is hard to believe that your government would ignore all the science and make decisions that go totally in the opposite direction. But money talks, and who cares about our grandchildren and future generations when rich tourists want to ski the glaciers and golf the wetlands? Please do the right thing. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

And they extend their thanks to the House for listening to that particular concern. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Another very short statement about section 15 of Bill 11, again from the same general part of the province:

           "I would like to state my strong opposition to section 15 of Bill 11 in that it gives the power to cabinet to designate resort regions. I am particularly concerned that it will allow cabinet members to make a decision regarding the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           "Premier, you have promised that the decision regarding this resort proposal would be left in the hands of our regional district, and we will hold you to your word. Please support our local decision-making process." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Those two bits of correspondence, for me, contain the flavour around this part of the act of where the concerns exist. These are concerns that are deeply felt by residents here within our province. The concern rests, then, with a change here proposed in a miscellaneous bill, an item that requires much further discussion and debate before any decision in actual fact is made. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I wish to emphasize that it was in November of 2004 that B.C.'s Minister of Sustainable Resource Management of that time passed the buck by deferring the decision-making responsibility to a small regional government ill-equipped to review the matter, the regional district of East Kootenay. The article goes on to describe and emphasize how the minister ensured that the local decision would be left with the local government, with the local people, and that point was made on numerous occasions.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It becomes of paramount importance that this particular item is lived up to, that the members opposite…. Most were here during that same period of time. It is important that local government retains this issue, this responsibility.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1455]

           We consistently encounter the situation of any government, with their cabinet ministers' responsibility, of being too busy to visit all regions of the province and see all the actual issues first hand and how they are affecting the local residents, as well as the population of the greater region and, in actual fact, the entire province. We encounter that time in and time out. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When it is appropriate, we hear from government, whoever government may be, that we listen to our experts and we follow their advice. Well, the government's own experts, the biologists, recommend leaving this area pristine — leave it pristine.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We have, then, with this type of legislation, a situation that opens up cabinet to go off in secret and consider such an issue and make their decision in the privacy of how cabinets make their decisions and then make the announcement. There's not much chance for input and little to no chance for the local issue to actually have been seen and viewed. That is where the government was so accurate in 2004 when they promised that the local residents would retain the right to deal with issues of this nature — so right.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Now, there are numerous other people that I know wish to speak on this particular bill. I'm rapidly approaching the period of time in which I will turn over that opportunity to other members of the House that wish to speak on this bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Madam Speaker, as I begin to close, I do want to acknowledge how pleased we are on this side of the House for the vast majority of the proposed amendments that she has brought forward on behalf of all of us here in the Legislature. They show reason. They show they have listened. They show that they have shown the adaptability to make changes on issues affecting very small parts of British Columbia but that are important to them and on other issues of a much larger nature, affecting greater and larger numbers of persons.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           But as this legislation stands with section 15 contained within the bill and possibly with some answers to questions we get around other sections — for example, section 14 — it is going to present great difficulties for us on this side of the House, without having some changes made to this bill, to be able to give our unilateral support to this piece of legislation.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           With that, Madam Speaker, I thank you for your time, and I thank you for having provided me with the opportunity to bring forward these very important concerns, on behalf of all British Columbia, about restricting the number and type of decisions that can be made in secret by cabinet behind closed doors without the full input of the residents of British Columbia.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           J. McIntyre: I'm delighted to rise today to speak in support of Bill 11, the Community Services Statutes Amendment Act, 2007, because I happen to actually see this through positive eyes and not through the negative lens that the NDP and the former speaker from Cariboo South seem to dwell on. This bill will provide a variety of tools that will help — actually help — local governments around the province build vibrant and sustainable communities.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1500]

           In my case, I'd actually like to focus on resorts — specifically, the benefits that this bill provides to Whistler in my riding of West Vancouver–Garibaldi. Vibrant, sustainable resort-oriented communities like the resort municipality of Whistler, known as RMOW, provide tourism and economic development opportunities — in this case, for the entire Sea to Sky corridor. In turn, these activities support our government's aggressive goal of doubling tourism in this province by 2015. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           As the Minister of Community Services points out, this bill helps resort-oriented communities meet their unique challenges and better provide amenities for visitors and residents alike. That's what I call a win-win.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Allow me to expand on the resort municipality revenue-sharing program that's contained in this bill, which I am particularly in support of. What is this program? What are the parameters? What does this mean?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We know that resort communities must provide high-quality services and amenities, infrastructure and local and international marketing programs to attract and then host large numbers of visitors. This is usually from a relatively small tax base. In the case of Whistler, there are 10,000 residents trying to support an infrastructure for 50,000 people at any point in time.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           With the resort municipality revenue-sharing program, qualified communities such as Whistler will get a portion of hotel tax funds from the province that were generated in the resort region. That can help pay for approved resort-oriented municipal projects such as capital amenities or events such as festivals and the like.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           At this point in time, the revenue-sharing program is anticipated to be worth approximately $10 million annually to these communities around the province. That is a significant amount of money that the province is forgoing in hotel room tax that will be in favour of local governments.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Currently there are 13 resort-oriented communities that could apply for this resort revenue-sharing — all of them quite diverse. They are Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The criteria are based on the demonstrated support of the resort sector related to the number of commercial accommodation units or bed units in the resort area relative to other B.C. communities. There also has to be agreement to collect an additional 2 percent local hotel room tax, and an agreement with the province outlining how the funds will be used and how the success will be measured. That's accountability.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The revenue-sharing program will be effective July 1, 2006, so it's effectively retroactive to last summer. The annual amount could range from something like $600,000 for a community like Tofino to almost $7 million for Whistler, a mature resort with a comparatively large number of bed units. It's also important to note that this total may vary if there are increases to the hotel room tax collected by participating communities. These agreements are for five-year terms in which each resort will receive between 1 and 4 hotel room tax percentage points in addition to the 2 points they already collect to be qualified.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I'm glad to report this program has built-in accountability mechanisms. The agreements with resorts allow for annual reviews. For example, funding can increase if the number of beds increase in the resort as it grows, so the better the performance, the better the return. All resorts must report annually using the same accountability provisions as required under the Community Charter. And as the program is results-based, resorts will have to develop performance indicators, measure performance and report on the outcomes achieved as a result of this program. The program is also going to be monitored by the Ministry of Community Services and administered by the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I'm particularly pleased that this government has reached a positive, progressive arrangement with local governments flowing from the B.C. resort initiative that supports our resorts and provides them with financial tools and resources to assist in building necessary, top-class infrastructure. The resort municipality of Whistler has been a leader in B.C. and in North America. They are the great example of what can happen when we empower municipalities to create first-class international resorts capable of hosting major events like the 2010 Olympics and capable of taking a lead in environmental sustainability.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I really want to point out that if the opposition votes against this bill, which from the comments of the speaker before me seems like where they may be headed…. I don't want to prejudge, but if they really vote against this bill, I want to remind the public, all the people in this House and listening at home, that the NDP will be voting against every one of those resort communities receiving an opportunity to engage in revenue-sharing to benefit their own local residents.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1505]

           That would mean that the NDP is not supporting the aspirations of the elected officials and residents in all of those communities. I'm going to repeat them again. It means the NDP would be voting against the aspirations of resort communities like Fernie, Golden, Invermere, Harrison Hot Springs, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Those are 13 resort communities around this province that would be able to take advantage of this program. I know first hand from Whistler's experience that this has been a number of months, if not years, in the making through the resort initiative. This was a very complicated formula because it had to address new resort communities that were just coming on board and more mature communities like Whistler that had a large number of bed units and commercial accommodations.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It took hard work and much negotiation to come up with this formula and with a plan that would work for newer and older resorts. The NDP, if they vote against this, will be voting against all that work, all the efforts that went into this. I just want to make sure that the public understands and knows that.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Now I'd also like to talk briefly on another aspect of this bill, the "Phased development agreement" amendments  in the Local Government Act. As you may remember, this is a multi-phased…. I think there are six or seven different parts of this bill. Right now we all know that B.C. is booming. People are moving here once again, as the census just showed us, and communities around the province are engaging in developing long-term projects of significance. So I'm pleased with this part of the legislation that provides consistency, certainty and accountability with regards to developing and building for the long term.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When a company commits to building a project over many years, they of course rely on the zoning that is put in place by local government. With this amendment, local governments can provide certainty to abide by zoning through all phases of a large development, ensuring that future councils or boards uphold the original agreement with the developer. In exchange, local governments can also likely negotiate greater or longer-term benefits for their communities.            Before the opposition starts to jump up and down further on this, I want to note that there are protections for taxpayers, unlike what the member for Cariboo South suggests. This legislation includes important mechanisms to ensure transparency about the arrangements between a developer and local government in a phased development agreement. For example, the local government must publicize the key details of a phased development agreement and must hold a public hearing before they may enter into such an agreement.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In addition, if they want to amend an agreement in any significant way, they need to follow the same process of providing notice and holding a hearing. All the details of any agreement, including amendments or any related documents, must be available for public inspection at city hall. So keep in mind that these phased development agreements are voluntary — the operative word being "voluntary" — and they are between two parties, each of which will bring something to the table.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I also understand that the Ministry of Community Services will be developing advisory material for local governments to ensure phased development agreements are used appropriately. I believe this is an important amendment to allow large-scale projects to move forward with more certainty, and I don't think anyone will disagree that certainty is an important factor in attracting investment to this province.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Finally, I want to comment briefly on another part of this bill, the "energy utility system" amendments, as they will apply to the Vancouver Charter. This legislation authorizes the city of Vancouver to establish, operate and regulate a municipal energy utility system and imposes levies and fees for such service. This capability exists in other B.C. communities, and this amendment will respond to Vancouver's request to do just the same.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This planned energy utility system will provide space heating and hot water to new residential and commercial buildings. The city will be using renewable energy resources, either biomass energy or municipal sewage heat recovery, consistent with our government's aggressive green targets as outlined in our throne speech.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1510]

           The city's planned energy utility is intended to serve a limited geographical area — just the Southeast False Creek area — and will serve new subscribers in the area. It's the area where the athletes village for the 2010 Olympics will be constructed and will showcase to the world yet another example of B.C.'s commitment to leading the way in sustainable practices. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to speak in favour of this bill that I believe will be instrumental in providing local communities with expanded tools and opportunities to reach their full potential. I only hope that the NDP will have the political courage to join us in supporting local government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           N. Macdonald: I rise today to speak about Bill 11.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There are elements, as the speaker that preceded me said, that are accurate around the Hotel Room Tax Act. That's something that's been done properly, in the sense that there was communication between the local government…. It was a local government initiative that was worked through the ministry and will benefit local government. The communities that I represent will benefit a great deal from those changes. In the list of the 13, Kimberley, Invermere, Radium, Golden, Revelstoke are all taking advantage of that.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I'm not going to speak very much about that because within it you have another action that I think has strong implications for two key principles. Buried amongst the amendments to existing legislation are sections 14 and 15. Sections 14 and 15 are not particularly clear in what they say, but in the comments that have come out from the minister and from the member for East Kootenay since this legislation was put forward, they raise a number of concerns.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           They amend the Local Government Act, essentially, as I understand it — and we will use the committee stage to clarify exactly what this section means — to give cabinet the ability to unilaterally create resort regions. What a resort region is, is not really given any explanation in the bill itself, other than to say in section 14 that a resort region is what is created by section 15.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I have two very strong objections to both section 14 and section 15. In giving cabinet the ability to unilaterally create resort regions, it will impact a resort that has been contentious in my area for over 15 years. It will create the ability for cabinet to do two things, and two things that it should not do.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Firstly, it will break a very clear promise to the people of the Kootenays. Secondly, it is going to remove locals from the decision-making process. Neither of those is in any way going to be acceptable for people in the Columbia Valley, nor in the Kootenays.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           While I will be focusing on Jumbo Glacier Resort and how this impacts that particular resort, there are implications for the whole province. The implications are these. We should insist on a high standard from our government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is going to be another case from a long list where the government was very specific. The Premier, his ministers were very specific in giving a commitment to citizens, and they are going to break that commitment. They are going to break it, and in a way it looks like they at no time intended to keep that commitment, because as soon as the election was finished, the effort was made to undercut this commitment.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We need to insist that local decision-making has to be strengthened, and this does not do this. Instead, it removes the local community from a decision that impacts it. So the Local Government Act is going to be amended, and it will give cabinet the ability to unilaterally create resort regions.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1515]

           I'll just read back from the press release, and we'll go one at a time. In terms of breaking a promise, let's just be clear on the promise that was made. It was made by the current Minister of Health, and it was made on October 14 of 2004. This was just prior to the election. The government knew that it was going to be an unpopular decision, so they clarified for the people of the Columbia Valley exactly what was going to take place. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [S. Hawkins in the chair.]

           There was a press conference here in the Legislature, and a press release that said this, amongst other things: "The government recognizes that there are strongly held views surrounding this project. The final decision will be in the hands of those closest to the project. Those who will benefit most directly and who most directly understand the costs will have the final say here. The project would not be able to proceed without the approval of the East Kootenay regional district." A very clear commitment from government and a commitment that, with this section, the government moves away from.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Jumbo Valley and Jumbo Pass sit 55 kilometres to the west of Invermere. It is a spectacular wilderness area. It is not pristine. It has seen logging and mining, and there have been commercial interests active there to this day. I came from Winnipeg in 1982 to work at Panorama, which is on the way to the Jumbo Valley. I was first up there with my wife and friends to camp back in the early 1980s, and the last time I was in that area was this summer, camping.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Since moving to Golden, I've spent most of my camping time in the area around Golden, but what I do know is that to the people of Invermere and the people of the Columbia Valley that area is important. It is an area that they go up to, to hunt. It's an area that they camp and hike in. It is an area that they snowmobile in. For them, they feel it is important that it stay in the state that it is.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There is no question that this is a longstanding issue. The reason the government in 2004 clarified that the regional district was going to make the decision is because they knew it was contentious. It has been for 15 years. From the moment it was proposed to put a town up in the wilderness that is Jumbo Valley and to build ski lifts around it and to create a resort, it has been contentious. Many people — in fact, by every indication a majority of people — do not support that resort. They don't support it, even though others from the outside have thought that it might be a good idea.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You're going to hear the minister say that Premier Harcourt was in favour of the idea, and Premier Clark. They were far removed. They did at times indicate support, but they did not push it through because they knew that there was strong, strong local opposition to any sort of a project that would change that area.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When the Premier had his chance, he indicated to the public that he would not impose a decision that ran contrary to the wishes of the people in the area, that he would allow their locally elected representatives and the regional district to make that decision. I've read into the record exactly what the news release was. I can remember the member from the Shuswap, the present Minister of Health, making a speech here at the Legislature indicating exactly what was going to take place. But what you have now is a change and a change that fundamentally breaks that promise.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I've known about the controversy at Jumbo for a long time. When I was mayor of Golden in the 1990s, the proponent of Jumbo Glacier Resort, Mr. Oberto Oberti, came to Golden to do another project. He came there to do Kicking Horse Resort, which was a $200 million project that I worked for as a mayor. I worked with local residents; Area Director Crandall; and the MLA at the time, who was Jimmy Doyle. We worked for it because our community wanted it. We held a referendum.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           At the time Mr. Oberti was concerned about that, but I told him that on the Kicking Horse project there is support and that it is a referendum that he would find is successful. But we felt obliged to make sure that the community had an opportunity to have a say and that they would decide whether it was a project that would go ahead or not. And 96 percent of the people at that time for that resort voted in favour of it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1520]

           What I can tell you is that even though you had a variety of people from a variety of political backgrounds…. Area Director Crandall, who was very involved and who was one who insisted that we have a referendum, was a former Social Credit MLA. Jimmy Doyle, of course, was an NDP MLA. What all of those people, including me, would agree on, if we agreed on one thing, is the right of rural residents to have a say in land use decisions that are going to impact them. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I can tell you that if we had lost that referendum, as mayor I would not have supported the project. You would not have had the area director supporting the project. You would not have had the MLA at the time supporting it. We fundamentally believe in the right of local people to make decisions about their area. When you read the literature that is put out by the Ministry of Community Services, they say that they believe in that too. But what is consistently happening with this government is that the things that are said are different from the actions.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When I was running to be the MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke, in the lead-up period I was asked, especially when I came into the Columbia Valley, about my position on Jumbo. What I said at the time was that I did not believe there was community support.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I still do not believe, from any indication that I have been given, that there is community support. I came to that conclusion from the number of people that took the time to speak to me. I came to that conclusion from the fact that the mayor and council of Invermere, the closest community, did not support the project. The locally elected area director at that time did not support the project. My view was that if it was to go ahead, it needed to have the support of the people in the area.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It was subsequent to that that the minister who is currently the Minister of Health came forward and said that this is the way it was going to be handled. It was a difficult political problem for Wendy McMahon, who was the MLA at the time. She was from Invermere. She knew it was unpopular, and she said that she would not take a position on it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That's something I don't agree with. I think she should have taken a position, but she said she would not take a position. She knew that while perhaps she wanted it to go ahead, to do so would be politically damaging in the lead-up to the election. So she said clearly that she would not make up her mind on it, and what you had instead was the government saying that the regional district would get the final say. To back away from that now is deeply, deeply problematic.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You have a situation where rules are made about how a decision's going to be made. Those rules are now, with this act, going to be changed. It is something that is going to cause problems in a number of areas. First off, this is an issue that longtime residents have been putting money towards, putting activity into.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           They have done everything that they democratically can to express an opinion, and there have been limited opportunities. I can tell you that there has been one opportunity where they were given a chance — during the environmental assessment process, I think — to indicate their support one way or another. In that short period of time you had 15 percent of the population of Invermere participating.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           They were invited at some point in the process to give their opinion, and about 15 percent of the people participated. What 90 percent of those people said is that they didn't want this resort to go ahead, so they indicated it in that way when that opportunity was given to them. Since then they've written letters, thinking that that makes a difference.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In fact, the Minister of Community Services will have received, as I did, copies of over 150 e-mails that have gone through to the minister and that have been cc'd to me. They have gone to the Premier as well. Some of them are form e-mails, but about half are individuals just hearing on CBC what's being talked about here or reading in the local newspaper and taking the time to indicate that they did not agree with the government breaking their word on this decision-making and removing them from the decision-making process. About five or six said this was the right way to go.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1525]

           Every way that I have to indicate where the public sits on this in the Columbia Valley indicates to me that they do not support the project. Even those that do support the project…. I have an e-mail here from someone who says: "Well, I haven't really made up my mind on it, but I sure know this: when the government tells me something, then I expect them to do it." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           They're not naive. They know that politicians don't always have the greatest reputation for that, but the standard they set is that if you tell me something, I want it to be followed through on. Yet here what we see is the intention to break a clear promise.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Resorts can go ahead. They went ahead in Golden. They went ahead quickly in Golden. It started in 1996 because the public wanted it. We were able to convince the government to do what they needed to do to make sure the project went ahead quickly.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Look at the example of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. It is a front-country resort. It is a resort that the local government wants and is working for. It is widely supported by the public, and it moves forward quickly.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I think that what people need to understand in this chamber is that they do not understand the situation fully, and you will not have a cabinet that fully understands all of the things that need to be considered.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           If you cannot convince the regional district of East Kootenay to approve this project, then it must in some way be flawed. If it is not flawed, then the facts will speak for themselves and the project will move ahead. In every way, that is the proper way to approach it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           For the minister to come in and put before us legislation that will change it achieves two things. First, it makes a population already cynical about politics more cynical. And there is much about this to be cynical about.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           As soon as the election was finished, the mayor of Radium was down here meeting with government and looking at how to move this project ahead. It's his right to do so, but it's the obligation of government to say: "No. We have agreed on a way that we are going to move forward." It was the government's word; it was the government's plan.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It's fine for people to come in and lobby to do it differently, but the government has the obligation to say: "No. This is our plan." But they did not do that. Instead, coming back from that, you had the mayor of Radium, who is the chair of the regional district of East Kootenay, calling a meeting that was difficult for everyone to attend. That was contentious. That's the first point that the public sees, and they wonder: well, what's going on here?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Since that time there have been a number of things that make it certainly appear to the public that there are conversations — and in fact there have been conversations — behind closed doors that do not involve the public about how to move this project forward. I would say to you that the culmination of that is this legislation.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The people in the valley know that there have been discussions — that the mayor of Radium and the mayor of Invermere have had discussions about how this is going to be moved forward. The idea — and it's quite openly discussed in the local newspapers — that you would set up a situation where the village of Radium would annex part of an area 60 kilometres away and create this new resort region is, quite frankly…. It boggles the mind how that would work.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I certainly look forward to the committee stage, where we can actually ask some specific questions about what a resort region is. How is this going to work? And how are you ever going to apply this to the rest of the province?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Every indication that I have here is that this is a poor way to proceed. It is poor to break promises to people, and the e-mails that the minister received will reinforce that. You have people talking about cynicism and, "All politicians are liars," and "I knew he wouldn't keep his word" — all of that. She has it, and she sees it. There are over 150 of them, and they have that same theme. That is never a healthy thing.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1530]

           Secondly, you cannot have a rural MLA who is going to support the idea of taking local government out of the decision-making process on land use decisions such as this. The argument that it is done with mines or something else is not an argument that I would accept. You have communities that are going to be impacted by settlement up in an area that is remote. There are considerations. There are impacts for the communities that border it. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           How is the road through Invermere going to be handled? Who's going to pay for that? How is the road up to the resort going to be handled? Who is going to pay for that? If money is spent there on roads, where is it not being spent? Now, all of those may have answers, but the due diligence, the questioning and, ultimately, the decision-making on that zoning needs to sit with the regional district.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I'll just read you a few of the e-mails the Premier and the minister have received. This is from a resident in Invermere.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           "We're shocked that a government which is supposedly advocating democracy has included section 15 in proposed Bill 11. The section, which allows so-called resort regions to be established by cabinet, strips local voters and residents of the right to protect wilderness areas. No wonder people are cynical and despise politicians. It seems that when the rhetoric about democracy and green government is over, it is money that talks and democracy that is subverted. Your government made promises that the Jumbo decision would remain local. Not surprisingly, it's broken." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           All politicians are included in that cynicism, and I think that leads to that bigger issue. What is the standard? Where is the line for politicians and for government? If the line that we set is so low that anything goes, then you are taking this province on a dangerous path. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is a clear commitment that was made in the most public, most unequivocal way about what would happen, and from the moment it was made, as soon as the election was finished, the government worked to do something different. This resort and resorts like it seem more important to the government than what the people of the East Kootenays think, more important to this government than risking the cynicism of the people involved in this political process, more important to this government than keeping its own word.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It is a huge backwards step. It is one that people in the Kootenays will not accept. It is something that I can tell you will not be the end of it if this legislation passes.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You have before you Bill 11 — with many, many aspects and many examples of how to do things properly — which you denigrate by inserting sections 14 and 15.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Deputy Speaker: Member, through the Chair. Give your comments through the Chair. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           N. Macdonald: By "you," I meant the government as a whole. When the government chooses to do these things, you need to understand the consequences that will follow.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I look forward to the committee stage. I look forward to delving into how much thought is being put into this. The scenarios that I have heard put forward are scenarios that I cannot imagine working. The bad taste that this will leave in my area is profound. The fact that you will then take that scenario and apply it to the rest of the rural areas of British Columbia is, I think, going to be profoundly troubling.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I do say that there will be a number of things put forward as arguments that try to legitimize what's going on here today, but in each and every one of them there is an answer. For each and every argument that is made, there is an answer.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1535]

           For people who say that these projects had to move along, this one has gone slowly because from the beginning it was contentious. Many of the timing issues are issues that the proponent had control over. To this day the regional district has not made a decision because it has not been put in front of the regional district. So these are things that they control. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I give you example after example in other parts of the province, under both governments, where if there is public support and it's the right project, it moves quickly.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The standard of breaking promises is not acceptable to people in my area. I don't think they're acceptable to anyone in British Columbia. The standard that we would not be included in decision-making as residents of rural British Columbia is so deeply offensive that I cannot understand how a rural MLA would possibly allow this to take place. That we are somehow second-class citizens in this and that people far removed with no understanding of the issue would make a decision — it is beyond comprehension that that would be acceptable.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I intend to use the committee stage to question carefully exactly what is planned. I intend to make it clear that I find this approach to an issue incredibly disrespectful to the people of the Columbia Valley and to many families and individuals and many young people who have worked on this for a long, long time, believing that there was some democratic process that actually worked and who will instead walk away from this thinking that all politicians are liars and that somebody can stand up and say something and then do something completely different.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That's something that I think all of us should be concerned about, because if writing letters doesn't work, if going and voting doesn't work, if sending e-mails to the Premier and the minister doesn't work, then what are people left with? What does work? How do people participate in the political process? I think that's a bigger question, because many, many will leave this thinking: well, there really is no way.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           My intention is to reinforce the positives about how this minister has handled the hotel taxation issue. There you had local government coming up with an idea, pushing it and having it properly thought through, and it is one that local government supports. In stark contrast, you have sections 14 and 15 stuffed in here to make it as politically difficult as possible, firstly, to spot and as politically difficult as possible to oppose, but I will oppose it. I will oppose this sort of standard for the honesty in government. I do not accept that this is acceptable to Columbia River–Revelstoke. I don't accept that it is acceptable to the people of British Columbia or Canada.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Secondly, I will not accept that we are removed from important decision-making. We have to watch the pattern that we allow a government to set — where it moves into a state of mind, where there's an arrogance. There is a sense that whatever is the easiest thing to do, if they can get away with it, they will move in that direction.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It is a slippery slope for the government to do that, and it's our responsibility as opposition to hold them accountable and make sure that they are constantly pushed to move to a higher standard. There are a number of issues that I've been dealing with that have raised questions about that higher standard, because as the minister is aware, there's another issue that I have in front of her related to bylaws that need to be passed. They instead are sitting on her desk, and the issue there is around expediency. They wish to move around a process and to do something that is expedient rather than the proper thing to do.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In this case I see the same thing. There was a result, there's a willingness to be expedient, there's a willingness to break their word because they think they can get away with it politically, and there's a willingness to remove the say of locals. And that can never be acceptable.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I thank you for the opportunity to speak here. I do look forward to the committee stage, and I would be very happy if the minister stood up and just said that I had it wrong and that the regional district is going to have final say. I invited her to do that on the CBC, and I would be pleased if she would stand up and do that and say: "Hey look, you misunderstood all of this, and the regional district is going to have the final say." That's the appropriate thing to have happen here, but I don't think it will.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1540]

           Instead I think a trade-off has been made. The feelings are that what the people of Columbia River–Revelstoke, and the Columbia Valley in particular, think just doesn't fit into the big picture for this government. I find that deeply offensive, and we'll do everything in our powers to make sure that that changes. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           B. Bennett: I fundamentally disagree with the member for Columbia River–Revelstoke on his opposition to this bill. I do support this bill. My fundamental disagreement with the member who just spoke is probably quite typical of the debate around the Jumbo Glacier Resort, and that's not likely going to change. We all have a right to our opinion, and it's my turn to express my opinion. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I do support this legislation for three main reasons, one of which is that I believe that the legislation, including the sections that seem to offend the opposition, is in the best interests of the people of the East Kootenay. I believe that; otherwise I wouldn't support it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I support the legislation, in addition, because what this legislation does is it provides to existing resort communities the capacity to go out to market their towns and to market their regions. That's very important, and I think the opposition has indicated they support that part of the bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I also support this legislation because of the section or sections that seem to offend the opposition. They create, or it creates, a new authority to create a resort municipality, just as older legislation in this province allowed the provincial government of the day to create what they called, at the time, instant towns. I have two of them in my riding, — Sparwood and Elkford. They were created by instant town legislation, and that's what this section does in this proposed bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I have to say that in my opinion, the opponents of Bill 11 are off base, even so far as the sections that they have identified they oppose. I've not heard them mention section 16 at all. They seem to be opposing sections 14 and 15. Those two sections allow a resort region to be created. In the case of my riding, that will allow the city of Fernie to go outside the city of Fernie and include the adjacent ski resort in the resort region so that they can qualify for the hotel tax funding. Otherwise they won't qualify for it. I'm not sure why all of the opponents to this bill seem to be focusing on sections 14 and 15. It is, in fact, section 16 — just for the benefit of members in committee stage — that you should be focusing on.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [S. Hammell
in the chair.]

           The opponents of Bill 11 are not only wrong about the section that they're opposing, but they're wrong in terms of their misleading comments about Jumbo Glacier Resort, that whole project. They're essentially saying that with this new bill that the Jumbo resort will just go ahead, and it will be a slam dunk. Not necessarily so.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There are four options for the proponent in this case, some of which are in the legislation, some of which already exist. Firstly, the proponent can work within an adjacent community to extend the boundaries of that municipality to take in Jumbo. I know of at least two communities, both of which exist in the Columbia River–Revelstoke constituency, that are interested in extending their boundaries to take in this resort.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Secondly, a proponent can apply for a new mountain resort improvement district under section 18 of this new legislation. Thirdly, a proponent can simply contract to get their services directly from the regional district. Fourthly, the proponent could ask the province to use section 16 of this new act to create a resort municipality.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The main opposition to the Jumbo project over the past 16 years has focused on the alleged pristine status of the Jumbo Valley. I heard the member for Cariboo South use the word pristine. When you drive up into the Jumbo Valley — and yes, Madam Speaker, you can actually drive right there, right up into the valley — you drive on a paved road to one of B.C.'s largest, fastest-growing resorts, Panorama.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           To me it makes more sense to put another ski resort on the same road in the same area than it does to go into another valley that might, in fact, be pristine. That seems to be good management, good land use planning. In any case, you drive up Toby Creek Road, and the first thing you see when you get up by the resort is clearcuts on both sides of the road. You see roads zigzagging the mountain faces adjacent to the Toby Creek Road.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1545]

           As you drive in the Jumbo Valley, the first thing you see is a large slag pile, which is from the Mineral King mine. Yes, there is a mine in the Jumbo Valley, an old mine closed up with a slag pile that you can still see from the road. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           As you continue up the decades-old road into the Jumbo Valley, the next thing you see is a large sawdust pile. Your best low-elevation view of the Jumbo Valley is actually standing on top of that sawdust pile. Yes, a sawmill operated in the Jumbo Valley for many years.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You will notice that the opponents of Jumbo, after flogging that horse for 15 years — I've heard a lot of talk about democracy and democratic process and all that kind of stuff — talked about how pristine the Jumbo Valley is. They've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars on that horse, but you know what they say about flogging a dead horse. You don't hear them talking about how pristine the Jumbo Valley is anymore. The new mantra of these opponents of Jumbo Glacier Resort is: we must let local government decide.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Let's examine that claim. Local government, as well as the environmentalists, participated in our land use planning process called CORE. That lasted for two years. The participants in that land use planning process, including local government and including the environmental associations, signed off on the Kootenay-Boundary land use plan, which specifically designates the Jumbo Valley for responsible resort development.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The CORE process was all about listening to local people, and local government had a seat at that table for two years. The former ombudsman and the leader of the CORE process, Stephen Owen — a completely disinterested and unbiased observer in this — actually sent a letter in 1994 to two B.C. NDP ministers, urging the province to get on with the assessment of this project. This is interesting. In 1996 the RDEK — that's the regional district of East Kootenay — board voted yes on a resolution to support the project. The resolution stated that once an environmental certificate was obtained by the proponent, the project should proceed.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Eleven years later, in February of 2005, the proponent had finally gained an environmental assessment certificate with 200 conditions imposed on it. Seeing that only 1.4 percent of the region's residents actually took the time to express their opposition to this project…. I hear percentages and numbers and that people of the Kootenays are against this, but only 1.4 percent of the people in the region took the time to express their opposition to this project. I don't believe that the people of the Kootenays oppose this project.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Here we have a situation where the proponent of a tourism project of international significance — because of the elevation, because of the fact there are glaciers, because of the fact they'll have summer skiing — is supported by a land use designation, spends 16 years working diligently in government processes, embraces years of public consultation, receives the formal support of two NDP Premiers — we have the letters — receives the support of local governments from time to time and agrees to more than 200 conditions on the environmental certificate.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I heard my colleague from Columbia River–Revelstoke say there's much to be cynical about. I can't believe that this proponent is still interested. They have to be cynical about all governments and about how long it takes to actually get a project going in this province.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           After successfully refuting the claim that this valley is pristine, after countless studies have shown that the project will have minimal impact on grizzly bears, after all this the opposition says: "Well, let's encourage local government to duplicate an assessment process that took over a decade. Let's encourage local government to do it all over again." The NDP is no friend of local government. The NDP would gladly subject the RDEK to an enormously expensive and divisive assessment process that has already been completed just to make political points. This is mumbo-jumbo.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The people of the East Kootenay can't eat bumper stickers. The people of the East Kootenay want jobs. They don't want bumper stickers. They want jobs. Taking this province on a dangerous path — that's what the member from Columbia River–Revelstoke said.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           With respect, let's get on with passing this very positive legislation. Let's get on with supporting our rural resort municipalities, and let's get on with the business of making good decisions for the benefit of all British Columbians. That's what leadership is all about.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1550]

           L. Krog: I suppose some may question why I would stand to speak to Bill 11. This is after all, in most respects simply what I would call the ordinary business of government — changing legislation in appropriate ways, the end results of the typical consultation processes that often go on. But what brings me to my feet today are those sections that have been much discussed in this House this afternoon, which essentially give the power to cabinet, once again, to make decisions that impact significantly on local people, to override locally elected politicians who represent their constituents, their voters, their electors. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is, after all, a section to amend the Local Government Act. I suppose it begs the question: if we have local government, why do you want to pass legislation that gives you the power to override it so consistently, particularly around a proposal for what the government likes to see as a job generator and symbol of new economic development, etc.? If that is the most important factor for the people of the area, then one would have thought this project would enjoy overwhelming support. Contrary to what some suggest, it appears that this project does not enjoy overwhelming support.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The member for West Vancouver–Garibaldi went on at some length today in her remarks suggesting that, oh, if the opposition votes against this bill, they're voting against all kinds of things. It reminds me of the silliness of some of the press releases that were issued by the members of the government benches after the vote on the budget speech. They accused the opposition of voting against tax cuts for people, accused the opposition of all sorts of heinous crimes.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Of course, they never bothered to explain the truth of it, which is simply this. In the history of this province, I defy a member of this House to stand up and tell me that any opposition has ever voted in favour of the government's budget on the budget debate.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           D. Thorne: Ever.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: Ever. That's the reality, but those are some of the games that get played in politics, and those are, frankly, some of the games that disappoint people and drive people out of the electoral process.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There are two great philosophies clashing here in this section. This is part of a larger debate, and I must admit I've had some concerns thinking about, for instance, the agricultural land reserve and its importance to British Columbians with respect to my comments that I intended to make around these particular sections and this bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When Dave Barrett brought in the Agricultural Land Commission with Dave Stupich as the Minister of Agriculture, they understood that the best way to preserve agricultural land was to ensure that those decisions would be made by a provincial body not subject to the kinds of pressures that local politicians are subject to.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I never sat in local government, as did many of the members on both sides of the House, but certainly my experience dealing with local politicians and talking to members on both sides of the House is that they're always referred to as those politicians who are closest to the people, closest to their voters and are therefore obviously subject to the greatest political pressure to succumb to whatever a particular pressure group is driving forward, which is often development projects. It is unusual, very unusual, that this particular development project faces not only opposition in the public but opposition from local politicians.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It is one thing to support an agricultural land reserve and insist that it be decided by an independent provincial body because it protects a core value for all British Columbians. I've satisfied myself and my own inner turmoil, perhaps, around this issue. One can consistently support a provincial body that makes decisions around the agricultural land and the preservation of it in this province and at the same time step back and say in this kind of instance: surely, the right thing to do is to respect local governments who have made it very clear that they don't support this proceeding, to pay attention to those local politicians who have made their views known and have, I gather, been fairly consistent in their opposition to this proposal.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1555]

           The fact is that we have a number of ski resorts close by this proposed new resort, and if they were all working at capacity, if their employees were all getting top wages because management couldn't possibly find any workers to work there, if their lifts were jammed and their parking lots and their rooms were full every night, one could say that perhaps we need this kind of capacity, if you will, for the creation of tourism. We need that kind of capacity, this opportunity to fulfil an obvious public need and want. But I haven't heard any evidence in this House that that's in fact the case here. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Indeed, notwithstanding the government's newly found interest in climate change as outlined in the throne speech, I think we have to look seriously as a society at where we're going to develop so-called ski resorts. We have to think very carefully about the longevity of that as an economic opportunity when it is fairly clear, for instance, that some European resorts now are in danger of closing down. We know that that kind of climate change is taking place around the planet and will impact on British Columbia, just as it impacts on Colorado and other jurisdictions in North America that are heavily dependent on winters to provide snow to sustain ski resorts.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is, I am afraid, a typical act of this government. It is, on the one hand, the government that says: "Big government is a bad thing, and we want to deregulate and pass off responsibilities and create corporations independent of government that won't take direction from government. Big government is a bad thing." Yet at the same time, they want to be able to say: "Oh well, notwithstanding that we support local government, when it comes to an independent power project or when a ski resort is proposed, somehow the independence, authority and legitimacy of local government are something that we can happily override."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It is a corporatist mentality. It is the CEO of the company making decisions and to heck with what the workers think or lower management or middle management or anybody who might have a contrary opinion. We get to make the decision at the top of the power scheme, and you just have to live with it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That is essentially what sections 14 and 15 of Bill 11 are doing. It is taking away the rights of local government in order to allow the cabinet to make decisions about what gets designated and again, as is so typical of this government, without ever having to come back to this Legislature and face public criticism or comment. The decision that may be made if this bill passes in its entirety…. The vast majority of it, I think I can say safely, has the support of the opposition. When this bill passes, it's not as if the cabinet is going to come back to the opposition and say: "Well, on the Jumbo resort, by the way, we're going to put a specific bill in front of the Legislature." No. It's: "This decision we've made at cabinet meeting" — maybe one of those famous open cabinet meetings if they think it's politically useful.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjection.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: One of my colleagues says: "Good luck." Yes, these open cabinet meetings seem to have fallen by the wayside lately. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           But the decision will be made by cabinet. It will be imposed on local people who, regardless of their opposition to this, are going to have to live with the consequences, let alone all of those businesses, all of those other ski resorts, who may face economic ruin as the great sucking sound of this new development draws away their economic lifeblood. It's so typical of this government — not concerned about small local entrepreneurs but more concerned about big investments and luring people with lots of money.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This, I would suggest, is again just a further example of a government that doesn't want to operate within the confines of a legislature. This is a government that wants to reserve to itself and its cabinet the opportunity to continue to make, and make even more, decisions that affect local people without having to face genuine criticism in this place. It shows, in my respectful opinion, a disrespect for the whole process of government and legislation.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1600]

           So I can say safely that the bill will receive general support. It will no doubt pass at second reading, but when it comes to committee stage, this government's going to have to explain to the members opposite why sections 14 and 15 represent good policy. In my respectful opinion, they represent anything but good policy. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Notwithstanding the remarks of the member for West Vancouver–Garibaldi, no, the government will not face opposition around this bill. The government will, however, and does face opposition around sections 14 and 15. That is the opposition's job. It is to protect the rights of local communities and local citizens to make decisions about their own livelihood.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Quite frankly, we cannot continue to think in an incredibly shrinking world that big decisions made by outsiders, essentially, are good for local economies or good for local people. It is time to figure out and understand that we must act locally.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We must do the right thing locally, and putting another big resort in the middle of a province that already has more ski resorts than it can handle does not make economic sense. It probably doesn't make environmental sense, and frankly, the people of the Kootenays, who moved there, I don't think wanted to move there to a resort municipality. If they wanted to do that, they would have moved to Whistler. They've all had that opportunity.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           They are talking about an attitude about the environment and lifestyle that is important. It deserves the respect of the people who work in this place, who enjoyed the privilege of getting elected here. Sections 14 and 15 don't respect those wishes — anything but. Hon. Speaker, I urge the government to reconsider its position on 14 and 15 of this bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           N. Simons: Well, we're back in the House debating legislation that takes away the authority from other levels of government — obviously, levels of government that are regional or municipal. What we have here is an example of how to sneak it into a large piece of legislation.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Two references to minor sections that allow cabinet to determine when there's a resort area. That doesn't sound too scary. It sounds innocuous, in fact. It sounds like the vanilla-flavoured ice cream in a way. Nobody really notices it. You don't often order it, but when you get to it and it's all you've got, people seem to lick it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The issue here is that we have a piece of legislation that is fundamentally flawed. It's either fundamentally flawed or everybody who reads it thinks it's fundamentally flawed except the 46 people who sit on the other side of the House. When they're standing up, they might actually look into this legislation more closely and realize that the same arguments they're making to pass this piece of legislation they used to pass the Significant Projects Streamlining Act, Bill 75, in 2003.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We all know that Bill 75, the Significant Projects Streamlining Act, which was spoken about in such high terms as a necessity for this province, to take away all the hindrances that seemed to be blanketing investors and those who want to invest in the province and make this the best place on earth…. What happened? Not once has that act ever been used. The Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council realized how pathetically inappropriate that piece of legislation was.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It was introduced by the now Minister of Transportation, who may have learned since then. The Minister of Transportation at the time, the Minister Responsible for Deregulation, the minister responsible for handing out awards to such ministries as the Ministry of Children and Family Development for cutting red tape and safeguards for children is the minister responsible for the Significant Projects Streamlining Act. Because that was such a failure — an absolute failure in terms of public opinion — they have decided to alter course.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Madam Speaker, and to those watching at home, instead of making one big piece of legislation to say we have final say on everything that the regional or municipal government wants to do, instead of saying we're going to use this Significant Projects to stop you, we're going to sneak it into every piece of legislation in this province, and while we're sleeping. They're going to use the little section 15 that nobody ever noticed before and say: "Oh, we got that through."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1605]

           We know that this is the intent of the government. A cursory review of the Hansard, which I might add is the members from government's sole way of finding research in order to make up funny little stories about the '90s. This is their way of doing things. I've found a significant numbers of quotes from Members of the Legislative Assembly who are still in this House, who happen to rail on about the importance of bypassing duly elected regional officials in the approval of processes that they like. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Let's figure it out. They like certain projects more than other projects, and when their favourite projects don't go through, they pass legislation to make it easier. That's just inappropriate in a democracy where we have fulsome debate about every piece of legislation that comes through here.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What have we happened upon on this funny day — this sunny day and a funny day, too? We have come across this piece of legislation that was probably introduced in the late hours at the end of five weeks of sitting in this exciting chamber.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Finally, we have a piece of legislation — oh, by the way, one of 25 pieces of legislation introduced in the fall, in this session when there wasn't anything to do in the fall. So let's just assume that they started thinking about this after the fall session, which was cancelled. That would explain some of the superficial and apparently badly thought out sections 14 and 15 in this act. Either that, if I may, or this was wilful.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjection.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           N. Simons: Oh, my heart is barely strong enough to put up with some of the things I hear in this House. I now am told that this piece of legislation might have actually just been enacted for the friends of the party in government? No.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Well, it seems to me that the cynicism that my friend from Columbia River–Revelstoke mentioned, the cynicism that exists among the population of British Columbia, is now being shared by at least one member of the official opposition who believes the government has lost its way, that the government is implementing policy that they feel is just desperate, in order to maintain the grasps of the donors, I suppose, to the party. We have no other explanation for this apparent attempt to pull the rug out from underneath the regional districts and municipalities of this province. What other explanation is there for that?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I will point out that in 2003 when the debate over legislation that had the same effect as this legislation…. When the members opposite were speaking boldly in favour of Bill 75, saying how it was going to improve investment, that we couldn't live without it, that we need to override regional government…. Well, they never had the guts to override regional government. They didn't have the guts to do it, because they knew the entire province was against them on that. They knew it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           They passed the Significant Projects Streamlining Act in 2003. It hasn't been used once. Ah, better not use that big one. Slice it up into little pieces, and insert it into every piece of legislation in this province. If it's something to do with mines, forestry or even child welfare — in this particular case, the rights of communities to determine their future — throw it in there, and make it like the trap door of legislation, the spit valve like the brass instruments, the place where, yeah, we make this rule and have this little exception. We pull it out of our pocket. I'm sorry. I have this piece of legislation that overrides everything else, you know.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I don't think the members who have taken the time to read this legislation, who have taken the time to talk to their regional governments in their home communities, will actually be able to say with a straight face, or at least with a pure heart, that their local governments think this is good legislation — unless we're reading it wrong.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           But nobody's been able to explain. Nobody's been able to explain who asked for this. Who asked that the cabinet be allowed to designate regions as resort regions, and why? In the absence of a logical, reasoned explanation — despite the fact that it's our job anyway — for sections 14 and 15, it makes us a little bit suspicious. I'm not naturally a suspicious person, but I'll investigate if I need to.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What I've investigated seems to indicate to me that, yes, they're wilfully enacting legislation that will take away responsibility, rights, authority and jurisdiction of regional government, and I am not going to stand here and tell my regional districts in Powell River or the Sunshine Coast, the municipalities in my area or the regional Sechelt Indian Government district that I've supported legislation that took away their rights to have a say into what is happening in their territory — perhaps their traditional territory but in the jurisdiction of their regional government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1610]

           One member from the government side stood up and denounced, in his polite but emphatic way, that the Significant Projects Streamlining Act took away regional government authority. Perhaps it was that, and perhaps it was just the inappropriateness of that legislation which resulted in it never being used, but the concomitant result is that here we have new legislation being introduced to take up the slack where the unusable section of Bill 75 would otherwise be used. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I have spoken to regional districts in my area, and I represent them. We don't always agree on things, but I'll make sure that their views are known. Their views on this particular piece of legislation are: "Well, why was it enacted? What purpose was it…?" Well, not why they weren't consulted. That's probably another question that they should be asking. I would recommend regional governments ask the minister: why weren't we consulted? Why were we not given the full gamut of possible repercussions of this act on our jurisdiction?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We have developers going into communities and planning entire resort communities. My question at committee stage will be: do the regional governments have any say anymore over what happens? Maybe it's in their watershed. Maybe it's in their viewscape. Maybe it's in an area where people have to take the same form of transportation to get there as everybody else. What responsibility do you leave with the people of the province when the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council designs legislation to give it more and more and more power? That is a scary thought.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           If you think about the genesis of this kind of legislation and the potential path that it will take, the destination is a government that has managed to make all authority rest in its lap. Nothing against the lap of this government; I will remind people of this province that the best interests of this province will be determined ultimately by people that we represent. The people that we represent are telling us that good legislation should derive from debate, from consideration of all issues.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In this particular circumstance I can find very little to debate or to argue with in this legislation, except two huge sections that essentially gut regional districts' authorities. These are the regional districts that could be purveyors of water. They have the jurisdiction over land use in some circumstances, over the future of their geographical areas in many ways. When they see that there's a piece of legislation that's being scurried through the House, it does not engender feelings of trust, and it makes them question the intent and the purpose of this government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I can speak on behalf of the regional governments that I represent that this section 14, creating a definition of resort area — I would add, a superficial definition of a resort region — and then section 15, which essentially says notwithstanding everything else, you can do what you want….
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I urge the members opposite to speak to the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council, being their colleagues in cabinet, and to recommend that prior to the passing of this legislation, the offensive sections be removed. I don't think that the British Columbia population should ask for less.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We elect our regional governments to represent us on a regional level in the areas to which they have been duly given jurisdiction, and all of a sudden the government has decided on its own to remove that. The people of British Columbia haven't asked for that. The people of British Columbia want some local control over things that happen in their area. In this particular circumstance we see just a slap in the face to regional government, I think I can say — if not a slap in the face, a complete ignoring of regional government, which is equally neglectful or inappropriate.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1615]

           Members opposite have spoken in favour of preserving jurisdiction for regional governments. The member for Peace River South stated very clearly that he thought legislation that removed regional governments' authority was regressive. He may not have used the word "regressive." I'll ask him to correct me if I'm wrong. I'll actually ask him to correct me if I'm wrong and to say, perhaps, where he stands on this piece of legislation, because that's what we're all here elected for. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We're here to speak on behalf of the people who put us here and the others who are in our communities who may not have voted for us. In the totality, there will be disagreement, but nobody can argue that the basic fact here is that the cabinet is trying to streamline and steamroll due process by concentrating authority at the cabinet table.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The cynicism that that evokes in people can't be measured. All we can do is look to things people say when they write to us, and they write to us in droves. They write to us about the government. They write to us so that they don't have to write to their government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Sometimes we get letters from people in other jurisdictions, outside, in different constituencies, because their MLA hasn't responded to their concern. If a few dozen letters to MLAs in the opposition constituencies are any indication, the statement that nobody from the government side has received concerns about this I would find incredulous.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjection.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           N. Simons: Sorry, I was thrown off there. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Madam Speaker, I think that the ministers opposite even know that this legislation looks badly on them. It shows that the regular people in the constituencies that are rural don't really have a voice at cabinet table. It's not just a slap in the face. It's insulting, and every member opposite who reads it and who knows that regional districts are upset with this legislation and who votes for it anyway is insulting the people that have put them here.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I would advise members of this government and members of the party that's represented by this government to have a good, close look at this legislation and consider whether or not it would be appropriate on their part…. I would go further than appropriate. It behooves them to have a look at this particular section — these two sections — and consider their removal.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Then harmony will once again come back to this chamber, and we'll see this act perhaps for what it's meant to be and actually not just what it is. With that, I cede the floor to my hon. colleague from Nelson-Creston.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Evans: I think that it might be somewhat difficult for people watching this event in the gallery or at home to fathom what's going on here. So I would like to take a minute and try and explain what I think is actually happening. Events in this building are sometimes kind of arcane and somewhat stilted for people at home to understand, so I'd like to back up.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Today is Monday, March 26, 2007, and it's 19 minutes after four in the afternoon. We are debating what is called in this House a miscellaneous bill. It's Bill 11, called the Community Services Statutes Amendments Act, 2007. For the benefit of people at home, what a miscellaneous bill does is it tends to amend previous statutes to upgrade them or make them better.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You make a law, just like making a house. You make your house, and a couple years later you're living in the house. You find out that the plumbing doesn't work just the way you want it, or the electrical system, or you want to change the lights, so you upgrade your home. The same thing happens with legislation. We make laws. Then when we put them into effect, we find out there are flaws in the laws, so we fix them with a miscellaneous bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1620]

           Historically, miscellaneous bills are often voted for by everybody in the House — both the government side and the opposition — because they're just fixing up legislation. Everybody agrees that it's good to make your legislation better, just like your home. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In this case, Bill 11 is 25 pages of, essentially, corrections to the community services statutes — quite a few statutes — on issues like hotel tax and the like. I and others who have spoken tend to support those miscellaneous statutes. What is traditionally not done and what is seen as poor form is to actually create public policy in a miscellaneous bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Public policy needs the exposure of the province, the people at home. They need to be able to see what's going on. Are those guys changing how we live? Are they changing the control of the land base? Are they changing my taxes? Are they changing who has power? They want to see public policy. In a miscellaneous bill you don't usually put points of public policy because it receives almost no oversight. People tend to vote for it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What's going on here on this Monday in the Legislature — Monday, March 26 — is that we're debating an arcane and somewhat hidden, very large issue of public policy that was buried in the middle of a miscellaneous bill last Thursday afternoon. The member for Columbia River–Revelstoke is reading, as a good MLA would, the legislation. I would submit, hon. Speaker, that you know and everybody here knows that bills come before us with such speed and rapidity that most of the members of the Legislature don't actually read them word for word.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I think it's true that historically, year after year, on both sides of the House, the workload is such that you tend to think: "Well, if it's not public policy, let the research department tell me if there's something wrong with it." The member for Columbia River–Revelstoke, unnaturally, doing his job, discovers that in the middle of a miscellaneous bill — not at the beginning, not with the title, but in the middle — are sections 14, 15 and 16 that do something which is unclear. He thinks that the something has something to do with Jumbo Resort.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Hon. Speaker, you've been here quite awhile. I've been here quite awhile, which bears no comment about our age, but we've been lucky to work here for a long time. For the entire time that we've worked here, ever since 1991, there has been an issue of public policy about whether or not to build a resort on top of a glacier in the hon. member for Columbia River–Revelstoke's constituency.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Historically, that subject, like others, has tended to be seen differently by the people who work here and the people who are at home. The people who work here work in a gorgeous marble building, a heritage building on an island, and the people who come to see us in this gorgeous building tend to be those who can afford to get here. They tend to be kind of the lobbyists, the developers, the institutional organizations and individuals who have something that they want from government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The broad public don't tend to come here. Sometimes they bring their kids to show them government, but they don't tend to come here. Since 1991 the people who want to put a resort, essentially a town, on a glacier in Jumbo Creek have been coming here. They have tended to convince Premiers.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What's a Premier's job? A Premier's job is to lead, to create development and jobs and to try and create growth. It doesn't matter if they're New Democrats, Liberals or Social Creditors. It doesn't matter who they are. That's the Premier's job.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Premier meets with the people who want to put a town, a Jumbo, and goes: "Wow, 500 jobs, and build a whole town. That's a pretty good idea." My friend Mike Harcourt is travelling around and meets a guy. The guy says, "Hey, Mike, you need some jobs? I'll build a town for you," and Mike goes: "Pretty cool." He says: "Come on over and meet everybody. Let's talk about it."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Well, talking about it means that it becomes not just the Premier's issue. It becomes available to the people at home. What happened for those of us who live in the Kootenays?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1625]

           When the people at home heard about it, they said: "What a wacko idea. We don't want a town in Jumbo Creek. We've already got ski resorts all around, and we like those ski resorts. Our kids and our neighbours work at those ski resorts, and we don't want to compete with them and put them out of business. Besides, there is a bunch of grizzly bears up there. You're going to put a whole town where there's a grizzly population. What's going to happen? We don't think that's a good idea. Besides, it's right next to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. That's the largest unroaded part of the province where we live." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It's right on the east side of the Purcell. People on the west side are going: "Wait a second. You're going to put this huge resort, this big vacuum cleaner that sucks so that everybody from Calgary drives over on Saturday to visit their condo, on top of the glacier above the conservancy?" Then the developer said: "Yeah. Not only that, we'd like to put a road down the west side of the mountains, down into Nelson and Kaslo, and that's good for business. Everybody will drive down there, and they'll eat in your restaurant in Nelson."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The business community said: "Great." And the people of Nelson said: "Whoa. We don't want a road coming down through or next to the Purcell Conservancy." Then the developer said: "Besides that, it will be good for making jobs, because you guys like to build dams. We'll run a power line up to Jumbo — this new town — from the west side." The people said: "Whoa. We don't want a power line going up Glacier Creek from the west side to the Jumbo."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You had this strange thing going on when Mike Harcourt was the Premier where some of the people here wanted to build a town, and the people at home said no. So it got slowed down and debated and put on hold, and Mike Harcourt went off to go get a different job. Glen Clark came to be the Premier, and then the developers came over, flew over in the helijet, went and sat in the big office and said: "Mr. Premier, we can make a whole bunch of jobs. Let's put a town in a glacier."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Glen Clark said: "That's a pretty good idea. I'm Glen Clark, and I'm for jobs." The people at home said: "Wait a minute. We don't want a ski resort on top of a glacier in Jumbo Creek." So once again we had somebody sitting in the big chair trying to drive a project opposed by thousands and thousands of people at home, and the project, instead of driving forward, started to be slow-walked. It went to environmental assessment.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Then when the developer saw that the government of the day — that I was part of — wasn't going to advance his project and put a town on a glacier and build a road and all that kind of stuff, he said: "Whoa. Let's slow-walk the project. Let's keep it in the environmental assessment process until we see if we can get a third Premier."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Actually, there was Ujjal Dosanjh in between. He was here for such a short time, I don't even think he had an opinion on the project.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           A fourth Premier. "We'll wait. We'll slow it down until we see if we can get a fourth Premier to comment on the Jumbo idea, to see if he can get it past those folks at home, those people in the gallery, those people who don't work here but don't want the project."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The project was slowed down by the developer to the place where the environmental community was banging on my door saying: "Hurry it up." Imagine that — environmentalists saying to hurry up a development proposal on top of a glacier where grizzly bears live. Why did the environmental community want to hurry it up? Because they thought it would never survive.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The developer wanted to slow it down in order to get a fourth Premier over there who might find a way to build it. So then we got the present Premier, who had the wisdom. Good on you, Premier. Good on the Premier, who stood up and said: "We're going to let the local people decide." What a good decision.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is me — opposition member, New Democrat — saying: "Good on the Premier, good on the cabinet, good on the people on the other side for deciding that local control was the way to resolve this problem." Didn't matter what kind of government you had. If they sat in this building and were susceptible to the pressure of money, of corporations, of developers and lobbyists, they were for it. If they were at home, they were universally against it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Then the Premier said, just prior to the election of 2005: "I've got a solution. We'll let the local people decide." What a good idea. What a darn…. We've been arguing for local control in the rural areas for probably a hundred years in British Columbia, and a Premier said: "We're going to let the local people decide." What happened?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1630]

           They actually managed to elect a member based on the Premier's promise. There's a nice guy who works here now. He was elected from Cranbrook, because the Premier said that we're going to have local control, and the people believed in that. That's where we were up until last Thursday afternoon, when this miscellaneous bill, these 25 pages, came in here. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Buried in the middle of the miscellaneous bill, it said: "Well, maybe we won't have local control." But it doesn't say that as clearly as that. It does not actually say, "This is the Jumbo Pass amendment," because it's not that honest. And it doesn't actually say, "We're taking away local control," because it's not that direct.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In two pages out of 25, a lousy 200 words, without using any language that anybody on the outside could possibly discern, it essentially says: "We, the government, have the right to strip this decision." We said the regional district of East Kootenay could make this decision, and everybody at home loved that decision.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           If they hated the project or if they were for the project, it didn't matter. Nobody could oppose local control. That's the right way to decide to flood a valley or log a watershed or build a town on a glacier. Let the local people have an opinion.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Prior to 2005 the regional district of East Kootenay was going to be allowed to make that decision. Unfortunately, the Premier and the developer and the lovely people that govern today discovered that the regional district of East Kootenay would not vote for the project that they wanted to build. Now they had a real problem. They had a promise for local control on an issue which tens of thousands of people have written in on.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When they were holding environmental hearings, they didn't want to come to Nelson. They just wanted to stay in the East Kootenay, which is kind of reasonable. The project was in the East Kootenay. The project was in Columbia River–Revelstoke, and hundreds and hundreds of people were coming out in Columbia River–Revelstoke.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Then they held a meeting in Nelson, and what happened? To my surprise…. I'm a little bit shielded from reality because I work here in a bit of a fairyland. Reality in Nelson — the largest public meeting in history on a single subject. People came out to say universally: "We don't want Jumbo."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           When it went to the regional district of East Kootenay, everybody held their breath, and then the regional district of East Kootenay blinked and said: "We're not going to vote for this." So the project has been in abeyance, as it should be, because local control is the way to go.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Then last Thursday in a miscellaneous bill with 25 pages amending such important issues as the Vancouver Charter, energy systems, the hotel tax…. There are three sections — 14, 15 and 16 — and 200 words that essentially allow the government of the day to remove the Jumbo decision from the people of the Kootenay, from the regional district of East Kootenay and give it to any municipality of their choice.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           They could give it to Fort St. John. They could give it to Dawson Creek. They could give it to Abbotsford. Winlaw, where I live, is not a municipality. They couldn't give it to us, but they could give it to Nelson. All they have to do is cruise the province, find some town somewhere that is for Jumbo and say: "Here. This is an extension of your municipality."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It doesn't even say that you've got to give Jumbo to the closest municipality. It would never say that because the closest municipality is likely to vote it down. It says that the Premier can pick any municipality he wants and attach Jumbo — just like England used to do to Asia, just like England used to do to the Caribbean. It'll attach it as a colony to the town of the Premier's choice, and if he can't find a town, he gets to attach it to himself.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The first time we had four Premiers that were all for this. New Democrats, Liberals — they were all for this. But they couldn't do it because the local people were opposed. Now we've got a Premier sitting right over there and deciding it's okay if he decides — in three hidden amendments to a 25-page miscellaneous bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There are people over there who don't believe me. I'm going to stand here silently. I don't have a watch. I'll stand here silently, if I can, for 30 seconds. Let one member of the provincial council or the Premier shout out that they do not intend and promise not to use this legislation to make Jumbo Resort a done deal.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1635]

           Pretty quiet. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Hon. Speaker, did you notice the silence? Folks at home, did you notice the silence? You can't see it, but nobody in this room spoke up. Thirty seconds went by, and nobody spoke because they're honest people, and they don't want to lie. Because they're hon. members, and they don't want to lie. So nobody spoke up to say…. Nobody….
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Evans: I didn't call them liars. I said they're not liars, so they didn't. They're honest people over there who didn't speak up for 30 seconds, when they could have shut me up and have me sit down and make all of the people of the province happy. They didn't speak up. Why is that? Because that's exactly what they intend to do. That is exactly what they intend to do, hon. Speaker. On a day when nobody's watching, some fall when they don't even a session, they intend to simply slip it through. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           All of you folks at home: you can pound sand. You will have absolutely no way of affecting the outcome of this decision once this bill passes. Here's the sad part. At present the voting ratio in this room is about 40 to 30 — 40-some-odd to 30-some-odd. This bill, in some form, is going to pass. I am here doing my job, attempting to raise the public awareness of what is going on here, but I cannot win the vote. I and all of the people of my team will not win the vote.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You cannot look to the opposition to stop this Premier from doing this thing to Jumbo Resort. You can look to us to raise the issue, but the only way to stop it is for a huge upheaval of you folks at home. The people who are not in this room are now empowered to inform the government that you understand what they're doing, the secret is over, and you're not going to let them do it
           It doesn't matter if you're for or against the Jumbo Resort. It doesn't matter if you've never heard of the Jumbo Resort. Folks at home — whether you live in Vancouver, Dawson Creek or Whistler; it doesn't matter where you live — if you want to manage the land base that you think you own, your patrimony, the land base that you think you're passing on to your grandchildren, and not have the Premier decide for you or turn chunks of the mountains of British Columbia into colonies for the well-being of developers, then you're going to have to speak up, because I can't stop it for you.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You're going to have to bury this building in e-mails over the next week, and convince the Premier and all those folks not that I'm right — because, of course, he has his own opinion of how correct I might be — but that you care about local control and that you think, because you live out on the land, that you or your elected representatives in your regional government ought to have a say and that it's not okay if the big chair takes it away.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It's only a matter of days since the member for Columbia River–Revelstoke, doing his job, discovered the hidden clause in Bill 11. Already, people out there have been burying the Premier's office in e-mails.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Because I think that this thing is about to happen, and it's the folks at home who are the only people that can…. We'll talk. We will slow this down as long as the rules allow, but the present administration has stripped us of the historical opportunity of filibuster. There is now a time limit to everything we do here, and we can't stop it long enough to stop this piece of legislation.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I'm going to read some words of the people at home into the record for the hon. members so that the people at home will know that at least they were heard before hon. members opposite did this thing. I am not sure how to pronounce all of your names. I might get it wrong, but I'll do the best I can.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier:

           I feel betrayed by you and your government because you promised that the Jumbo issue would be decided locally. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Marilyn Crevanger. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1640]

Dear Premier:

           You have promised that the decision regarding this resort proposal would be left in the hands of our regional district, and we want to hold you to your word. Please support our local decision-making process. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Barry Giles, Windermere. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           This move threatens the democracy which we cherish and work so hard to protect here in British Columbia. The cabinet has no right to remove decision-making capacity from those people whose lives will be impacted by local development. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Joleen Timco. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           As a resident of Lumby and a member of local environmental interest groups, I find the very concept of stripping our local government of the right to represent their constituents completely absurd. We need, we deserve and we have a right to say what goes on in our own back yards. Most of all, we have a right to be heard. This is our Canada, our B.C., and it's our back yard. We need to maintain the influence and stewardship over it. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Tammy Parsons of Lumby. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           I do not like the idea that land use decisions regarding resorts in rural areas of our province could be made by the cabinet in Victoria. This is especially troubling when it comes to the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. Your government has explicitly promised that the regional district of East Kootenay and the residents of the area that would be most affected by the resort will have the final say in this decision. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Suzanne Shoyen. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           I am writing to voice my opposition to section 15 of Bill 11, which will permit cabinet to designate "resort regions." It flies in the face of the government promise that decisions respecting the proposed Jumbo resort would be made by local government. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Patricia Boyd, Invermere. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           I am writing to express in the strongest possible terms my complete opposition to section 15 of Bill 11. This section would allow the provincial cabinet to make unilateral decisions on projects that should rightly require final approval by local governments representing the people who would be most affected by the projects. Robbing such people of their rightful decision-making power is a breach of democracy. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Robert Olenik, Vancouver. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Minister,

           I grew up in Windermere and spent a good part of my grade 12 year writing letters to have Jumbo Glacier protected from development, and here we are 15 years later and still the residents in the Columbia Valley are fighting to protect Jumbo. Do not break your promise to the people of the Columbia Valley, and ensure that section 15 of Bill 11 is removed. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Michelle Kirby. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

She's of this town here, Victoria. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           Do not — and this is in big black letters — pass or enact section 15 of Bill 11. Do the right thing. Continue to pursue green and responsibly environmental alternatives. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

From Richard Collier of Calgary, Alberta. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Not even from our province. Remember that this gentleman in Calgary only had three days' notice to send an e-mail to the Premier. Imagine what could happen if your folks at home decided to tell all your friends to help the Premier understand what he is doing here. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           Having very sensibly put the decision for the Jumbo ski resort project in the hands of the regional district of East Kootenay, why on earth would you try to get it back into the hand of the B.C. cabinet? If the regional district of East Kootenay wants to saddle their constituents with hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure costs, then that is their problem. But if you want to spread this across all B.C. taxpayers, it is an entirely different matter. It is a black hole into which an untold amount of taxpayer money will swirl once it gets started. Please don't do this. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Maurice St. Jorie. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Mr. Premier,

Please be advised that I'm strongly opposed to section 15 of Bill 11. Jumbo needs to be preserved, not ruined in the name of money. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Thank you,
Sylvia Walker. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1645]

Dear Premier,

           With the pending Community Services Amendment Act, 2007, Bill 11, those of us who live in British Columbia's Kootenay heartland are once again being slighted. Section 15 of this legislation contravenes your commitment made in October of 2004 when you promised that the regional district of East Kootenay would decide the outcome of the Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal. Are political promises that hollow? Is it any wonder why many people have become cynical about the political process? Please do what is right and remove section 15 from this legislation. Keep your promise to allow the regional district to make the decision. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Ron Wellwood, Nelson. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

That's my constituent. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Here's another constituent of mine.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

I ask that you respect the wishes of the people of the Kootenays regarding Jumbo Pass. With global warming, ski resorts are not a good investment, to say nothing about the collateral damage to other values such as grizzly bear habitat and wilderness. Let Jumbo remain wild. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Susan Holland, Crawford Bay. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Dear Premier,

           I believe section 15 of Bill 11 could be an unconscionable affront to the democracy of our province, and I ask your government to promise that it will never be used for Jumbo Glacier Resort. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Rachel Darville. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Well, Rachel, I just asked and for 30 seconds stood here and said nothing, and not a single member opposite raised their voice. I think you can know, Rachel, that that's exactly what this bill is about. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I have dozens more letters. For folks at home, I apologize. I'm limited to a certain number of minutes. I cannot read all of your letters, but we thank you, and I think it's going to have to escalate over Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of this week, until this law is proclaimed. This building needs to be buried in paper. I'm sorry for all the trees that will consume, but we need to bury this building in paper and e-mails, and the Premier has got to understand that the people of British Columbia, regardless of what they think about Jumbo Pass, believe in local control.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I'm going to close, hon. Speaker, with a little bit of my understanding of what's going on here. Why is this happening? This cannot be happening because the government thinks that people will like it. I think this is happening as part of a long process that essentially expropriates from the people of British Columbia their land, private and public, and their heritage and turns them over to the corporate sector.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It's true if we're looking at B.C. Rail. It's true if you're looking at highways that are being built under P3s, and bridges, and they're going to charge tolls and some private corporation's going to take the money. It's true if they expropriate your land to build railroads or ports. It's true in the expropriation that's going on to dig coal or coal methane. It's true on ranches. It's true all the way from Fort St. John, with the oil industry, to Rock Creek, where people want to dig uranium.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The government of the day has essentially removed the protections that historically were in place for British Columbians to keep their public wealth, to make decisions over public land and to have some rights over their private property. In every case, private and public, they turned it over to the corporate sector.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I think somebody over there must owe some really big dues to be doing this in public, on a Monday, in the light of day, on television. I think there must be some heavy, heavy hand driving behind the scenes that we cannot see, that would make the Premier want to take this action in spite of the denigration that it will bring to his government.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I would encourage everybody in British Columbia…. Understand that we will try to slow it down, and we will try to stop it. We will vote against it, but we cannot make it disappear. You have to do it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Trevena: I am very troubled by sections 14 and 15 in the miscellaneous act. Many of my colleagues have been talking about what the core issues are. I have a couple. One is a matter of semantics. One is that "resort region" means a resort region designated under section 6.8, but there is no definition of what a resort region is going to be.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I know there's been a lot of talk about the specific resort that this is going to be assisting to come into effect, the resort of Jumbo in the Kootenays. I represent an area which is increasing tourism. It's increasingly looking at new ways to evolve, and I start wondering: will these communities have resort regions imposed? We don't know what resort regions are. We don't know what we are opening the door to.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1650]

           It is very troubling when something is put in a piece of legislation, which we are supposed to be debating and then voting on, which isn't defined. We have the reference to resort region throughout this section of the bill without any definition of what we are talking about. Is a resort region going to be a canoe resort, or is it only going to be a ski resort? If it's going to be a ski resort, is it going to be anywhere? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That being said, I think the other issue, beyond semantics, is the one of principle. It's the one of taking away local control. We're talking here specifically about one resort. The Jumbo resort is what is being implied here. But it does have an effect throughout. It has an effect when the government comes in and says that it can designate what should be happening, when cabinet can be designating it, when we are taking this out of the hands of the local communities and the people who are elected to represent the local communities.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We have a multi-tiered and very sophisticated system of democracy, where we are all represented by our local councillors or our local regional district representatives. In turn, we represent many other people, and we are again represented by our Members of Parliament. Each layer of government has a reason for being. Each layer of government has a responsibility.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This section of this bill takes away a huge amount of the responsibility of one level of that multilevelled government. The levels are there for a reason. They are there for safeguards of public interest. So what is being lost in this is the public interest, the public protection.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Like my colleagues, I have seen many, many e-mails and many letters that have been generated in the few days since this became an issue, since it became clear what was happening in this miscellaneous bill. One of them actually sums it up. It's an e-mail to the Premier from Barbara Gagatek from Invermere, and I apologize if I've mispronounced the name. But Ms. Gagatek says: "Public land belongs to all the citizens of British Columbia, and as such its use should be a matter of public discourse." When it comes to land issues, public discourse is a matter for regional districts and for local authorities.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is what is going to be lost in this section. If it's being lost in this section, if it's being lost for Jumbo, for Invermere, where is it going to be lost again? We've already seen this government take away the rights of regional districts and municipalities when it comes to independent power projects. We have seen them taking away the rights in other areas. This is yet another erosion of the rights of regional districts, of local governance. This is why I strongly oppose this section of the bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There are the semantics of what it is we're talking about, and it's very important to know what we are talking about before we vote on it, and that will come out in committee stage. But there is the very simple fact that we are losing our representation. The representation is going to be taken and put in the hands of cabinet.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Cabinet, obviously, has been elected by many people, but cabinet does not know the local issues. Cabinet is not involved in the local issues. The people who know their local issues are those who are there, whether it's this resort or any other area. The people who know what is happening are the local people who elect others to represent them who make determinations on land use.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I am very worried that we are yet again seeing erosion of local authority. We're seeing erosion of democratic principles. We are seeing a groundswell of voices. We've seen this in other issues already in this session of the Legislature, where thousands of people get in touch with the government. They get in touch with ministers, with the Premier, and they say: "We do not like what you're doing." They get in touch with us as opposition members and say: "Please represent us. We do not like what you're doing."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1655]

           I hope that on this section, the government does look at it and does take heed of what people are saying, does take heed of the history that we have of regional districts, local control and local decision-making because by taking away this level — by making this legislation — it is yet another erosion of the democratic rights of thousands of British Columbians, both here, in the Kootenays and with the potential for right across the province. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Puchmayr:
As the member from Creston spoke, many e-mails have been coming in. They're starting to pile up, so I think people are watching and listening. I hope the other side seriously considers this piece of legislation — the amendment and this legislation. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I did nine years on local government, and the one thing I noticed about local government was that it was the government of the people. You were closest to the people. You walked down the street, and people would approach you all the time. They would talk about local issues continuously. Everyone had many local issues to discuss and to talk to you about.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In provincial governance, certainly some of the issues become more legal and more complex. They may not have the same application locally as they do provincially, and so it becomes sort of a bit of a disconnect between the legislation and how quickly it's passed. Some of the legislation doesn't affect you as quickly. By the time you realize that the legislation is having an impact on you, often it can be too late — as we saw in Bill 30 and section 56.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Section 56 of Bill 30, the run-of-the-river power projects, wasn't something that people were concerned about — actually generating clean power. It was how it was being imposed on municipalities and on regional districts without any consultation whatsoever. It is legislation that is extremely flawed and could have major impacts on tourism itself and on the environment itself. So the fact that it was imposed in such a way, so quickly, in a miscellaneous bill, hidden…. I think it was the 11th hour of the last session. It is very problematic to have a bill introduced in that way without having the adequate discussion and dialogue.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This bill here, again, is just another bill where there are…. I think the member said it was 25 pages. My version is 30 pages. Maybe it's a different font. Nevertheless, in those 35 pages there is a lot of the bill that this side will accept. There is a lot of the bill that this side can agree with. But hidden in that is a little golden nugget for friends and insiders of members from the other side.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           To have a bill that's 30 pages or more and to have…. I'm just going to read you the part that really triggers the concern here. There is a section in here that is 45 words. Those 45 words have the greatest impact of this entire legislation and strip local autonomy completely from that decision-making process. It strips the government of the people, the grass-roots governance that is the first line of government, away with a mere 45 words.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You can even break that down to about 14 words, where it says: "…the
Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, designate an area as a resort region." That's all that's required to circumvent municipalities, completely circumvent public process and an ability to have dialogue. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You know, a certain municipality may want that type of development. You may say: why is someone from New Westminster getting up and speaking of concern of a resort going into their municipality or their city? We may want a resort in our city. We may want to turn some of the waterfront into a resort area. But we're very pleased that we have an ability to have a public process where the developer puts together a proposal, comes to council, engages in a process of an open house, talks to all the different resident associations, does presentations there and shows the value of what this may bring to the community.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1700]

           At the end of the day, after that intense process, there's a public process where the members of the public have the ability to come to their council and say: "We want this," or "We don't want this." Then the council has an ability to vote yea or nay. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This strips that away completely. None of that will happen again in this context with this section of this bill. That is very shocking. The fact that we're seeing a trend to this is extremely shocking.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           In my community we have an issue with transportation. We have over 400,000 cars a day that travel through New Westminster. We are the hub of the GVRD. We're the absolute dead centre of the GVRD. We have traffic going through there on a daily basis, and only slightly over 20,000 of those vehicle trips are generated from New Westminster. So over the years there has been a real effort to try to mitigate the impacts of traffic going through the city.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           A bill could very easily be introduced in the same manner, with a few words hidden in it — maybe a bill dealing with TransLink — where the words would say: "The Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council may, by regulation, designate a freeway through any region or municipality with no consultation."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           This is where we're heading. We're seeing alarming signals that are being sent here by this type of legislation that takes away the people's right. It takes away our right to debate it. It takes away the community's rights to oppose it or even to support it or even to amend it, which often happens when bills or resorts such as this come to communities. Often the community may be opposed to it.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The consultants may speak to the community. They may put pieces in place that may be a mitigation. They may finance some affordable housing in the community. There are all sorts of things that a community could gain by having an input and partnering, by virtue of having an input in any type of a development. That's gone. That is absolutely gone.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The city cannot engage in any type of amenity other than…. The only amenity will be that which the developer wishes to do, and that amenity will be for the profit of that development and nothing else. We're losing that. We're losing that ability to build complete communities. We're losing the ability to plan growth. We're losing our ability to have input on growth, and to me, to have decisions made in this manner is quite shocking.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It takes away from the very essence of this place. This is a place for democracy. This is where people come and make laws. This is where we engage. We have question period. There's a little bit of heckling and maybe a bit of laughter, but you know, it's a serious place that we go to every day to make laws. This takes that away.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Where are the laws made? The laws are made in the Premier's office. The law on a resort is made in the Premier's office. The law on ramming a freeway through my community is made in the Premier's office. And for what purpose? Where are the balance and the judgment that make it a good decision versus a bad decision? Where's the input? Where's the consultation? Where does my community have a say in this type of process?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We're losing the value of the Legislature. The Legislature is a place where we go — whether we're happy about it or not — to ensure that there is a public process, a democratic process, a sovereign process, which isn't influenced by what goes on behind the closed doors of a Premier's office.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We need to continue to maintain that if we believe in the democratic process. I'm sure there are members from the other side that would be quite concerned, also, if they weren't in control of this type of legislation and if they had no say in this type of legislation. They would be equally concerned.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1705]

           First nations should be concerned as well. There could be issues where first nations could be looking at developing exactly the type of resort, in an area close to another resort, that may be coming in and competing with that, virtually running the two…. They become non-competitive, and everybody loses on them. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You're losing the ability to plan. You're losing the ability to create positive developments for your community. You're losing democracy. This is a very eerie trend that we're heading down. It is one that we're seeing over and over again in this province. We're seeing an elimination of the public process. We're seeing the elimination of House sittings. We're seeing a situation where too many decisions are being made without public scrutiny.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Once you head in that direction, the damage can be irreparable. Once you head in that direction and create a process where there are some tie-ins from a multilateral trade agreement, you are now prevented from changing that direction without significant costs of litigation. So you're actually imposing on the future of this province, on our children and on our grandchildren, impacts that could be devastating to them.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Someday members on the other side…. Their grandchildren will be talking to them, and they'll say: "Daddy, Mommy, why is this happening in our province? Why do we not have control of our resources anymore? Why do we not have control of public zoning, of community zoning? Who did this to us? Why can't we get out of this and change what has been imposed on us?"
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That's exactly what will happen. But unfortunately, as the previous member said, we don't have the numbers. There are 33 of us. We're outnumbered. What it's going to take is for people from the other side to look at this closely and to say in a non-partisan way — to address it just for the principle of democracy, for the principle of sovereignty, for the principle of why this Legislature exists: do I believe decisions such as this should be taken away from municipalities? That's the question you need to ask.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Then they need to go back to their municipality, if they really believe that, and go to the city councils and say: "I don't believe that you should have the right to make these decisions. I think only the Premier has the right to make those decisions, and I don't care what my community says." That's what I suggest that the members across do. Take it back to your community. There's time. Go to your councils and ask them. Say: "This is the legislation. This is the impact it will have. Do you think that I should vote for it or against it?"
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I would like the member for Kamloops–North Thompson to do that — go into his city council and ask them if that's what they want him to do back here in this House, where we're supposed to make the laws. Does he truly believe that those laws should be taken away?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Does he truly believe that the public process should be taken away because someone has walked into the Premier's office and said: "Mr. Premier, I have a great idea. We've tried this in the past, but the public has come forward and said no, no, no. Help us out here, Mr. Premier. Give us a mechanism where we don't have to talk to the public anymore, don't have to see the public anymore. Give us some tools where we can just bring this through. Don't worry, Mr. Premier. You'll be well looked after or well respected."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We can't go in that direction. I don't think that's why we're here. We're not here to take away the rights of our community. Many of the members on the other side will never walk into my community. They may never go to New Westminster.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Hopefully the Health Minister will come to New Westminster. He has been invited to meet with some of the doctors at Royal Columbian Hospital. But I know that many of the members will not come. It's a large province, and people work very hard on both sides.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1710]

           Often you don't have the time to go into other communities. But it concerns me, because they are not accountable in the same way. The minister for Kamloops–North Thompson will be in his community, and if such a development comes into his community and the community has a problem with it and they have no control over it, he's going to have to answer to his community. That's what democracy is about. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           As I said, the e-mails are coming in fast and furious here. This one is sent to the Minister of Community Services. It says:

           "We cannot understand how you can support section 15 of Bill 11 when the Premier promised in '04 that the regional district of East Kootenay would have the final say on a proposed development of the Jumbo Valley. The majority of local residents have expressed opposition over and over at the Jumbo Resort development. Now your government is trying to take away the decision-making power on this development from the regional district of East Kootenay. Section 15 must be removed from this bill." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Here is another one to the Premier. This one says:

           "I am writing to object to the passing of section 15 of Bill 11, which would allow the cabinet to make a decision on the future of Jumbo Valley. It appears that when your government realized that the local decisions would not rubber-stamp the wishes of our provincial politicians and backers or unrestrained development, your cabinet decided to sneak this Bill 11 through to strip regional and local governments of the power to decide local issues." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It's exactly what I've been talking about. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           A little bit of history on Bill 75, which was the Significant Projects Streamlining Act. The Significant Projects Streamlining Act had a provision where there had to be consultation. That was a very key component. Having to have consultation is very important, because what happened then was that to bring in such an initiative to streamline or to ram a procedure through council, they had to consult.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It's the consulting that raises the elevation of this public issue. It's the consulting that will get people coming out and saying: "We don't want it." It's very difficult sometimes to go forward and consult with the public when the public is saying: "No, you better have some very good reasons, and you better be able to mitigate the issue to the degree that you're able to succeed."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           For instance, in a case such as this or a resort or a casino on the most pristine oceanfront in British Columbia, the community would say: "No, we don't want it — absolutely flat no." Then the developer would have to sit down with the city council and say: "What do we need to do to get this?" "Well, our community centre is dilapidated. We could use a new community centre. We could use a new pool."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What they do is sit down together and say: "Okay, here is what we will do. If we bring this proposal in, we will add some amenities to the city." That's the give-and-take that has basically built this province.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I know that we used it in our city. If someone wanted an extra few storeys on a highrise development, we got an affordable housing group to come in and propose some seniors housing. It was very controversial because of the height of the building — nowhere near as high as the buildings that are built in Vancouver. Nevertheless, people came and spoke in favour. Some came and spoke opposed. At the end of the day, the public had a say, the community received an amenity, and the proposal passed.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That's what it's about. It's give-and-take, and this bill absolutely strips that away — absolutely gone, no say whatsoever.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1715]

           Wow, these are coming in quick, aren't they? It's amazing, and they're already highlighted too. This one here says: "I am very upset at the government's recent proposed changes, specifically with respect to section 15 of Bill 11. I feel that the changes of this bill will make it so that the provincial government can force specific resorts into a municipality without consultation of the local people. The local people are the ones who are the most able to decide what is right for their community." Doesn't that make a lot of sense? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           You know, that's where governments started. In the mid-1800s, when British Columbia was colonized, it was local governments. It was local governments that got together with a set of rules that were given to them, and democracy was born. I think the first mayor in my community was probably the first mayor in British Columbia in the mid-1800s. There was a democracy there, and people voted for their councillors to represent them. If they did something that they didn't like, they were gone. They were turfed.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Here everything is done in secret, behind the iron curtain of the Premier's office. That's shameful. That's shocking. How can we have a democracy? How can we talk about a democracy when that's how decisions are made?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjection.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Puchmayr: Absolutely. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The member for Kamloops–North Thompson likes to get into this debate, because I think he's worried about…. I think the member for Kamloops–North Thompson is concerned….
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Deputy Speaker: Order, Members, please. Thank you.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Puchmayr: It's okay. It shows that they're listening.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I hope they listen to such a degree that they take this to heart, because this is very serious stuff. We can make light of it in some manner, but this is very serious stuff. This has such a major impact on the democracy that we so respect, and we're losing it piece by piece by piece. That has to be a concern to the members across, and I'm sure that's why they're blessing me with their comments and their inspiration.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I'll read another letter here that just came in:

"Dear Premier:
           "I was horrified when I read that there is still consideration of the Jumbo area ski development. I would ask that you do not agree with the development proceeding, as it has been shown without any doubt that the people of the area and surrounds do not agree with the proposal." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

That's from Colin McIlwaine from Nelson, British Columbia. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Here's one from Joe Kaulback. "I have heard about this bill. I am very angry if Bill 11 passes as it now stands. The residents of East Kootenay deserve the right to decide the future of their region, including the proposed resort at Jumbo."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I was quite concerned when a member from our side stood here for 30 seconds and asked if that was actually in the cards and if they would agree that that wasn't part of this bill. It was eerie to hear the silence in this chamber for once, when none of them would deceive the public by saying that that wasn't the intent of the bill.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Here is another one, from Jennifer Chatton. I can't tell where this one is from, but it says:

           "I do not like the idea that land use decisions regarding resorts in rural areas of our province could be made in secret by cabinet in Victoria. It appears Bill 11, section 15, would allow. This is especially troubling because your government has explicitly promised that the regional district of East Kootenay, the residents of the area which would most be affected by this resort would have the final say in this decision. I believe that this bill could be an unconstitutional affront to democracy in our province, and I ask your government to promise that it will never be used for the Jumbo Glacier Resort decision." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1720]

And I ask the province that it never be used — period — that it be stricken, that you maintain the rights of communities to make their own decisions on development, on growth, on resorts. You would never need this bill — period. You can't say that there is a need for a bill that takes away the democratic rights of the people in a region. There is nothing that justifies that. There is absolutely nothing that justifies that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We have countries in the world right now that are fighting for democracy. People are dying for democracy. People are dying for the right to have a community, have an input on policy. People are dying for a right to be able to have a say on the development and the growth of their community.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We're going the other way. That absolutely shocks me. It shocks me that our friends on the other side are willing to go that direction as well. I only wish that they would consult with their councils.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Here is another one from Naomi Miller from Wasa, B.C.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           "I add my voice to the new clause which could permit Victoria to undo the many years of consultation about the proposals at Jumbo Pass in our riding. The developer could have proceeded with a modified development nearly 15 years ago. Instead, he thumbed his nose at the bureaucrats bearing modest requests for changes. Please keep fighting against this legislation, which you have spotted as sneaky and flawed." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Again, this constituent talks about that consultation. The constituent talks about having an alternative proposal or an amended proposal, and that's what it's about. It's about being able to have that different proposal. It's about being able to work with a proposal as it comes forward. And that's going to be gone — absolutely gone, absolutely unacceptable. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Here is another one. This is from a host of people, all from Invermere, B.C. It's the Radd family — Anne, Nolan, Fran, Dionne, Richard, Twyla — and it says: "Campbell must be held on his word. People in the Kootenays trusted this government to allow them to play the largest part in the decision on this development, which will dramatically affect this area. We are adamantly opposed to the Jumbo…."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Deputy Speaker: Member, you can't name members, even if you're reading. You must say their position.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           C. Puchmayr: Oh, I'm sorry. I withdraw those.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           "The Premier must be held to his word." That's what this whole family is saying. They are saying it over and over again. All of these e-mails are saying that the Premier must be held to his word.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Premier cannot make those decisions behind closed doors. That's what people are saying. That's what we are saying. That is what this is all about. It's about the sovereign rights. It's about the democratic rights. It's about the community rights. It's about the grass roots of governance. And it's being stripped away by the members from the other side, stripped away with no consultation whatsoever — none.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           One day the heavy equipment will roll in. People will say: "I didn't see a development sign posted here. What are all these excavators doing here? Why are they surveying here? I didn't see a sign that…."
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1725]

           Deputy Speaker: Thank you, Member. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Seeing no speakers, the Minister of Community Services for closing.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. I. Chong: I appreciate all the comments made by members opposite. I do want to preface my remarks by saying that I do acknowledge that members opposite, those in the opposition, have a role to play, which they know is to bring forward concerns they believe are there. But at the end of the day, I do believe that they have injected some very serious issues into the bill which actually lead to preconceived conclusions, and that's not the case here.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
            I know that some of the members opposite have been in their ridings and have made assertions and assumptions that certain objectives will be a result of Bill 11. Again, I would say that that's not correct, because there will still be a process where local governments and the community are involved to see how regions can be developed.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [Mr. Speaker in the chair.]

           At the end of the day, too, I have to really make it very clear. I heard speaker after speaker offer comments about Bill 11 and the manner in which it was introduced. I want to make it very clear for the record, because there have been remarks made — and they have been repeated by other members after the critic made his remarks — that somehow the bill came in at the last moment on a Thursday afternoon prior to a break. That is absolutely not true. It came in on a Tuesday morning. The member was offered a briefing on the legislation. The member was given that briefing a full 48 hours prior to second reading.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Mr. Speaker, as you know, that is practice in this Legislature. A bill is brought in, introduced. It could be brought forward for second reading the very next day and then for committee stage the day after that. I can tell you that when I was in opposition, a bill was often brought in at two o'clock, and the next morning, literally, we would be at second reading — on a Thursday morning.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I believe that we provided some time. As I say, I had staff offer a briefing to the member, and I appreciate that he took advantage of that, although I guess he didn't read the bill as closely as he should have. In any event, I know that they have now had an opportunity to canvass this area amongst themselves. They will have an opportunity to explore all parts of this bill at committee stage, and I expect that they will do so.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I want to also say that Bill 11 was not a result — in particular, the sections that the members opposite speak of — of not having a plan in place. The Premier's Resort Task Force was established in 2003, as I mentioned in my second reading remarks. The Resort Task Force, as I say, included members of the community and engaged people. In particular, it engaged local representatives, as well, as to what they wanted to see happening in terms of resort development.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           We are living in a different world. The opportunities for year-round resorts are here as they never were in the past. What it means is that communities do want to have an opportunity not only to see resorts being developed year-round but to be able to share in the resort development tools that are being offered — the hotel room tax that is being shared, development tools that will allow for things like employee housing, in particular in areas like Whistler. They are certainly looking for that to take place. I do ask that the members consider what Bill 11 is offering to communities around the province.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I also heard members speak about standing up for local governments. You know, Mr. Speaker, it really speaks of hypocrisy when I hear comments like that. It wasn't our government that stripped local governments of an opportunity to see their regions move ahead. It was that NDP government that removed the local government grants, that breached the Local Government Grants Act in the '90s. It was our government that returned substantial and significant dollars to local government. So when they speak of protecting local governments, I think at times that we have to look seriously into their words and acknowledge that they're disingenuous.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I do appreciate, as I say, comments that have been made. I look forward to committee stage of this bill, and I would at this time move second reading.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1730]

           Motion approved. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. I. Chong: I move that Bill 11 be placed on the orders of the day for committal at the next sitting of the House after today. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Bill 11, Community Services Statutes Amendment Act, 2007, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration at the next sitting of the House after today.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. G. Abbott: I call second reading debate on Bill 15, Security Services Act.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

SECURITY SERVICES ACT

           Hon. J. Les: I recently introduced the Security Services Act in the Legislature in order to help enhance public safety and provide more consistency across the security industry in British Columbia. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           The Security Services Act will replace the existing Private Investigators and Security Agencies Act, which has not changed significantly since 1981, when there were 200 licensed security businesses and 2,800 licensed security employees in the province. Today there are 1,100 licensed security businesses and 12,000 licensed employees in the province. They include security guards, private investigators, alarm services, locksmiths, security consultants and armoured car businesses.
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           Additionally, I would like to point out that this new legislation is consistent with the elements that other provinces — such as Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia — included when they chose to modernize the regulation of their security industries.
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           The Security Services Act will help to enhance public safety and provide more consistency across the industry by extending the application of the legislation to those segments of the industry that were not included when the current act was drafted, such as the Corps of Commissionaires; armoured car employees; bodyguards; in-house security at universities, hospitals, retail stores, banks; and door staff and bouncers at licensed liquor establishments.
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           The new legislation will help to ensure that consistent and appropriate standards are applied across the industry. For example, issues such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, legislative changes, recent case law and jurisprudence will be included in training programs. Similarly, background checks and security clearances will be mandatory for all licensed security workers.
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           We have also introduced a formal public complaints process within this new legislation so that the public has a forum to address their concerns — something that was not included in the current legislation. It will serve to enhance the conduct and accountability throughout the industry by ensuring that complaints against security workers or security businesses are investigated and resolved.
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           The Security Services Act will also include provisions for the direct licensing of security workers, also known as portable licensing. The current act only permits licensing through companies, which has been compared to a lord-and-serf relationship. Direct licensing will make security workers responsible for their own licensing and employment and will provide employers with a more readily available labour pool.
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           The final point is that while the current act regulates 1,100 security businesses and 12,000 employees, the new Security Services Act will regulate a further 5,500 security workers who will be screened, trained and licensed for work within the industry in the province of British Columbia.
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           I move that Bill 15 be now read a second time.
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           Mr. Speaker: Member for Port Coquitlam–Burke Mountain. [Applause.]

[1735]

           M. Farnworth: I haven't even started speaking, and I'm getting applause. I thank my colleagues for that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I thank the Solicitor General for his remarks on this particular piece of legislation, Bill 15, which is intituled Security Services Act. It is an important piece of legislation because, as the Solicitor General has pointed out, the last time this was dealt with, in 1981, there were 200 firms in British Columbia carrying out private investigation and private security work, along with the bouncers that work in nightclubs and bars throughout this province. In the subsequent 26 years that's grown to 1,100 firms engaged in this type of activity.
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           That's a significant rate of growth, and it represents a number of things. It represents increasing concern in both personal security and private security and in terms of homes and homeowners to protect their own property. It represents the increased costs of security for private businesses, and in fact in many parts of the province people have had to engage security because of issues in particular neighbourhoods around petty crime, petty thievery, drug crime and around ensuring that streets and communities and shopping areas are safe for pedestrians and shoppers and that the public feels safe in those particular areas.
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           This is an area of business growth that has increased dramatically over the last few decades. It's important that the legislation is brought up to date, and it's important that legislation is in place that's able to deal not only with the growth in the industry but also with changes in the way the industry operates, changes in the way the industry is run, not only on a personnel basis but also on a technology basis.
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           The sad fact is that in many ways communities have become, in the eyes of the public and many business owners — be they small, medium or large businesses — more difficult and more dangerous places to work and conduct business. That's one of the reasons why you've seen the dramatic growth in personal security and private security, and it's why this particular piece of legislation is important.
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           The other issue in this bill that I think is extremely important — and I'll touch on those other things in a moment in my comments…. The other issue that's important in this particular piece of legislation is the issue of bouncers and people who work in nightclubs and the bar industry in this province. You know, we market this province overseas, to our own people and across this country. As you know, we've done it for years as Super, Natural B.C. The ads often have, besides nice scenery of fish and mountains, people happily dancing away in nightclubs.
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           Interjection.
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           M. Farnworth: As the member for Peace River North says, it's the best place on earth. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Well, that's what we certainly want people to have — the experience we want them to have when they decide to go out for dinner and maybe for a drink afterwards. But there have been disturbing cases of people who have not had that experience. In fact, their experience has left them with the worst-place-on-earth experience. I know that my colleague the member for Nanaimo will be talking about that particular issue after I have concluded my remarks.
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           I draw your attention, hon. Speaker, to articles we've seen in the Vancouver Sun recently about the Granville Street entertainment zone and how it has been described by police as a powder keg. There is all kinds of trouble, and the potential for trouble is just a tinderbox away at any given time down there.
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           One of the key issues down there, for example, is the people who are working in the nightclubs and bars as bouncers and door staff and how they interact with clientele, with patrons — not just going in and checking for ID but also dealing with those difficult situations when somebody is intoxicated, somebody is aggressive and does have to be dealt with. How do we do that?
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[1740]

           There was a time when the attitude was that when somebody got their head smacked on the pavement, well, they probably deserved it. Fortunately, that's not the way we look at things today. We recognize that there are laws in place. There is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in place. There are — what we, as a public, believe should be — standards in place to ensure that. Just as we expect our police to be well-trained and professional, so too should people working in nightclubs as bouncers and doorperson staff have some level of training, some understanding of the law in terms of how it relates to what you can and cannot do, some understanding of professionalism, some level of training so that…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           That could and should include, for example, first aid — some basic sense of some basic first-aid skills. It should include how to talk to people and whether or not you have criminal-record checks. A background check should be done. Too often it's too easy to get someone just because they're 6 foot 10 and weigh 400 pounds. There need to be rules and standards in place, and that's one of the things that we're looking for in this legislation.
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           While we are supportive of this particular bill, we do have questions we want to deal with in committee stage that will explore some of these issues, because they are important issues that we know will give the public confidence that the regulations that are being brought in…. Not only is it important that they're brought in, but it's important that they work. It's important that they will do the job, and licensing and training are crucial.
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           Now, it seems obvious that when it comes to bouncers and nightclub personnel, that would be a good thing to do. I hope that, upon exploration in committee stage, that's what we will find. But as I said, we do have questions about this particular piece of legislation.
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           I know, for example, that in one of the areas where individuals, and we've been approached or have been…. The opposition has had individuals coming forward, asking questions, because this legislation is long overdue. The Solicitor General has been lobbied long and hard to bring this forward. It's been a much-anticipated piece of legislation.
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           For example, loss prevention officers in stores. They have a very difficult job. They are working to ensure that stores are not the result of…. Their employees aren't targeted by shoplifters. They don't suffer the economic ravages that can impact on a small business, a medium-sized business or a large business.
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           Many people think: "Oh, it's just petty crime." It's not. If you're that small business owner, and you are plagued by shoplifters, that affects your bottom line. It affects your ability to hire people. That's a significant cost for many retailers. Many retailers have gone to the lengths of hiring in-store loss prevention officers whose job it is to ensure that shoplifting is kept to an absolute minimum.
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           [S. Hawkins in the chair.]

           It's a difficult job, because there's case law in place. There are laws in place about what you can and cannot do, and they're there for a reason. One of the things that makes the job difficult is the increasing violence that's obviously often employed and the inability to do something as simple as use handcuffs on an individual who has been apprehended. So we want to make sure that they have that ability to do that. We want to make sure they have the ability by being properly trained and licensed to use handcuffs.
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           I'm not sure that they do that in this bill. I think that's an area of weakness. It's one that I'd like to explore in committee stage. I want the Solicitor General to look at that issue. I do think it is a very important issue and will go a long way to helping to make loss prevention officers more effective in their job.
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[1745]

           I think it has some important economic considerations that the Solicitor General needs to take into account. I think he'll find widespread support not only from the industry itself, but from business, particularly from small business and medium-sized business. So I'm going to be exploring that issue in the committee stage with the Solicitor General. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There are a number of other issues that also need to be dealt with. One of the things that the industry has been pushing for and why they've been pushing for this legislation, as the Solicitor General has acknowledged has been the tremendous growth in this particular area of business endeavour — that is, private security firms and public security firms.
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           You have good, established operators and good, established security firms and an industry that is often tarred by those who don't want to play by the rules or who, in the absence of rules, don't want to abide by best practices or the standards that associations themselves may have set up. That reflects on those who are professional, who are good and doing a good job, delivering a quality service and a quality product. It's those bad apples that we want to ensure that this legislation is able to weed out.
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           I will be having a number of questions about one of the sections in particular, and that relates to section 10, dealing with out-of-province investigators.
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           Questions that come to mind and issues that come to mind are: if you have regulated firms here in British Columbia with a level of standards, and the act allows for unlicensed people to still operate in British Columbia, are you then creating the conditions where you can have firms that are operating either just over the border in Alberta or just over the border in Washington State, that are either unregulated and unlicensed or operating on a different set of standards, and that do not necessarily have, for example, the same level of training that the minister is looking at here or do not necessarily meet the same standards that we are employing here?
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           How do we go about ensuring that that doesn't take place, particularly if you're dealing with investigations that are conducted by a client outside of the province or in another jurisdiction?
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           I think that that's an area we need to focus on more in the legislation and at committee stage. I think that that is also something we need to explore. Because I don't want to see us creating a regulation regime that is going to put…. We want a good one in place, but let's recognize that we don't want to be putting our own British Columbia firms at a disadvantage because we're allowing people who don't have the same level of training or the same skills to work in this province through a potential loophole.
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           That's something that I want to address in committee stage. I hope the minister will be able to deal with that and answer the questions and ensure that we're putting in place the right tools and regulations on what is a very, I think, important and timely piece of legislation.
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           The minister also has mentioned a complaints process. Again, I think that's an important part of this piece of legislation. We do need to ensure that the public not only has every confidence in terms of licensing and training and how that training is conducted and how that licensing takes place, but also that if there is a problem and there is an issue with either a security guard or security personnel or bouncer or whatever, that there's a process in place.
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[1750]

           This process must be timely, it must be open, and it must be transparent. It must be able to resolve complaints in a fashion that people look at and go: "Okay, yeah. This process is all of those things. The person doing the investigation or heading up the complaints process is, in fact, independent and has the tools and the resources necessary to do the job." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           One of the questions I know that we'll want to explore for answers is: how will this be funded? Will it be funded solely, for example, by government or through contributions by the industries themselves? That's an issue that I think we need to explore, and it's something that I believe is an important question that needs to be answered.
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           Other issues also concern criminal-record checks. What is the time going to be for criminal-record checks? I know that we have legislation before this House dealing with criminal-record checks for individuals who work with children — teachers and day care workers, for example — where we're now saying that every five years you need a criminal-record check. It's not an area where there is always a great deal of problems. Problems do occur in that area, so we're saying once every five years. We do know from past history….
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           In the private security business — because you are dealing with potentially criminal matters, especially in the case of bouncers at nightclubs — how long and how often does one have to go for a criminal-record background check? If it's once, then that may be too few. If you're hired and you have a background check, that's fine. But should it be done on a regular basis, such as we're asking of other individuals? We said that for teachers it's every five years. That's something that I think we need to be looking at.
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           One of the things I want to also focus on is the level of consultation that has gone into this particular piece of legislation. In terms of private investigators, I know there has been a lot of lobbying taking place. But I also want to know what amount of investigation has gone on, for example, with the nightclub-bar community within the province. How did the minister obtain and go about getting their inputs? Who did the consultations? How much consultation was done?
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           How about with some of the individuals — for example, locksmiths and some of the trades — who are also involved in private security? I think locksmiths, for example, are the obvious ones. What type of consultation took place around this particular piece of legislation with them? Are there any areas that were suggested that should have been left out? Again, those are also issues that I want to be exploring when we're in committee stage.
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           One of the final areas I want to just touch on is around the issue of teeth in enforcement, because, as I said earlier, if this doesn't have the enforcement ability to do the job, then I think it will not serve the public in the way that they expect this particular piece of legislation to work.
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           I'm going to wrap up my comments in a moment and let my colleague, the member for Nanaimo, take his place in the debate. I just want to say that this is an important piece of legislation. It's one that we will be supporting.
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[1755]

           It's one that is long overdue. It's one of those things that many people may not realize its importance. But certainly if they engage a private security firm, if they engage in the security business, if they're concerned about their own small business or medium-sized business and issues around shoplifting and theft and being able to — as they often have to these days — employ their own local security, then this legislation will have an impact to it. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           If in committee stage we get the answers that we're looking for in the different sections, and they prove to us that the legislation will do the job that the minister says it will, then I think that this will be a good piece of legislation.
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           However, if we are not able to get the answers that we need, or if we see that there are areas that have not been covered or have not done the job that they're intended to, then we will have a piece of legislation that I think is a step — one that will continue to have to be worked on, developed and perhaps amended. That's something that I hope is not the case.
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           With that, I will finish my introductory remarks on the second reading of Bill 15, the Security Services Act, take my place and wait to hear the comments of other members in this House or my colleague, the member for Nanaimo.
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           L. Krog: I detect a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the government benches in support of this bill. It's quite surprising, but I'm sure the minister who expects to pilot this legislation through the House will not be not be offended by that lack of enthusiasm. I learned long ago not to look a gift horse in the mouth too often. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           However, having said that, I think it is important to recognize and applaud the minister for bringing this legislation forth, as he knows from my correspondence with him. I'm hesitant to speak at great length about the incident that brought this whole subject of security and bouncers to my attention because it is before the courts, but there was a very tragic incident in Nanaimo involving the death of a fine young man from Gabriola Island — which is part of my constituency — named Michael Brophy. He died during the course of an incident at a local establishment.
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           There are criminal charges outstanding, and there is a community on Gabriola Island that very much feels the loss of this young man. Nothing that we can do in this place will ever give the kind of comfort to his mother that she so richly deserves. I therefore respectfully suggest that the minister does deserve compliments for bringing this forward. Having said that, and respectful of the court process that is in place, I nevertheless have a number of things to say about this bill.
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           The minister indicated in his opening remarks that his intention was to introduce this to enhance public safety. There's no question that it does represent a step forward. I would be less than candid if I didn't say that I have always been troubled, frankly, by the sense of insecurity in the public, if you will. Certainly, during my lifetime in this province, which I suspect is about the average age of the membership of this assembly, we have gone from an era where people who worked in what we think of as private security were a very limited number of individuals.
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           Certainly, in the old days they would have spent their time taking photographs and recording the goings-on to provide evidence so that people could obtain divorces on the basis of adultery. They might investigate some thefts in private corporations. But it wasn't seen as a very respectable sort of occupation. It certainly didn't receive much public interest, and it certainly didn't have a high public profile.
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[1800]

           Over time, however, the growth in the private security industry has been extraordinary. We now have companies employing store detectives — people who wander around with little baskets of food. It's rather amusing. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Both of the establishments that I have shopped at for years for my groceries, the Mid Island Co-Op previously and now a Save-On-Foods in Nanaimo…. Not that I'm advertising for Mr. Pattison, who already has enough money. Because I am a somewhat public figure in my community, they always come up and chat to me about all kinds of things. I know what they're doing there, and I often wonder if they're really performing much of a — how shall I say? — public service for their employers, because they do tend to become known.
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           It's a sad commentary on our society that businesses feel it necessary to employ people on a constant basis who wander their stores to ensure that shoplifting isn't taking place. We certainly know, however, that there has been a traditional occupation involving people who perform that kind of function, and that is in the bars of this province.
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           Most of us here are old enough to remember the days when there was a women's entrance to the beer parlours of British Columbia. When fights would break out, I remember with some interest — and I won't disclose the poor fellow's name — a former mayor of Parksville who was notorious in his early logging days for going into the Rod and Gun, starting a fight, stepping back and watching them tear the place apart for an evening's amusement. But such was small-town life.
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           Bouncers are how we commonly refer to people who are employed in establishments that serve liquor. Bouncers are the people who are supposed to ensure safety, to ensure the place doesn't get torn apart, to ensure that people who have had too much to drink are escorted from there before any damage is done or any violence takes place. That's a good thing. That's a positive thing. We certainly can't expect our police forces, stretched as they are, to attend at every establishment in our community serving alcohol and try and ensure that the public order is always followed.
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           It hasn't been seen necessarily as an important occupation, if you will, or one that deserved much respect perhaps. But I was astonished, as I'm sure many of my constituents were — and that's certainly the indication I got back from them — to discover that, in fact, those who work as bouncers in this province weren't regulated, that there was not some kind of scheme or program to ensure that the individuals hired into these positions — and there are many — would have some kind of basic training.
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           Fair to say that I was shocked. It's not good for members in this House to confess ignorance on issues on which they should probably be aware, but I was, and a number of my constituents were as well.
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           I once again want to emphasize to the minister how pleased I am that this bill, on the face of it, appears to regulate for the first time in British Columbia those who act as bouncers. I come from a community that was a mining town for many, many years. As one Catholic priest I knew and was friendly with once said rather unkindly of Nanaimo, the trouble with it was it was a coal town with a coal-town mentality. I think I knew in his own snotty way exactly what he was talking about. It was a rough community with a number of bars — probably more beer parlours per capita than most of the communities in this province.
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           What went on there wasn't always pleasant, and the people who were hired to maintain order in those establishments weren't always pleasant individuals either. But one sort of assumed that they were trained, had some useful experience, were regulated. They were in a position to exercise the kind of judgment and discretion that is necessary to prevent violence taking place, to ensure that patrons didn't get into trouble, to ensure that property wasn't damaged or individuals injured.
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[1805]

           As I say, I was shocked to discover that that wasn't the case. The individuals who obtained that employment could be literally anyone — I mean this the way I say it — anyone off the street, for that matter. It could be an individual who simply, because of their physical size, their presence, would appear to be a worthy candidate to maintain order in a beer parlour or a pub or a licensed establishment and who could, in fact, have been fresh out of prison, could have a history of violence. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Employers, unless they were smart employers, thoughtful employers, could be taking into these positions individuals who the average person, if they were consulted, would say: "That's not the kind of fella I want at the front door ensuring that public safety and order is maintained."
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           Historically, because we know that a number of establishments serving alcohol have not always been that well run, we've had a liquor distribution branch, a liquor administration branch and government liquor inspectors doing their best. We have known that not every place operates to the same high standards as, for instance, a place called the Windward Pub in my community which operates to very high standards — a very well run operation, respected in the community.
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           The Crow and Gate Pub as well is another respected establishment. Various establishments. There was no question about the quality of staff hired nor the competence of the individuals working there. But in some of the rougher places where the young people tend to go with no more intent than to get drunk, to get into trouble, to create a ruckus, to dance, to exchange drugs, to do whatever…. Those places have had bouncers who, in my respectful opinion, have not always served the public well nor served their employers very well.
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           I think the incident in Nanaimo that brought this matter to my attention suggests a number of things about what we should be ensuring in the hiring of people who will fall under Bill 15, the Security Services Act. Surely, in those places we want people who have a number of skills, particularly in those establishments I've mentioned that are catering to young people, that are associated with the high degree of consumption of alcohol.
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           The lead critic spoke about this just prior to my rising in this chamber. Surely, we should expect that these individuals would have some personal skills, an ability to communicate in a reasonable manner. We would expect that they would have some skills and understanding around Charter issues, around the law that applies in situations with respect to private property, trespass, assault, harassment, criminal harassment — all of those things.
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           Frankly, it's not unreasonable to expect that those individuals would potentially also have some kind of medical experience or training, at least the minimal first aid. Because surely in the course of the kinds of altercations that often take place, particularly in the inner city of Vancouver — not so much, mercifully, in my community…. In those kinds of altercations, violence has become all too common. That violence leads to injury.
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           If you have individuals who are not trained in some basic way around first aid, medical procedures and understanding, then there is clearly the possibility that someone who has been seriously injured, if there isn't blood flowing, may be ignored. We know from incidents involving our own police forces in this province that there have been individuals with serious medical issues that have not been treated in the way that they should have because no one understood what was happening, whether it was the result of a chronic condition, some injury, the level of inebriation, drug consumption or whatever.
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           This has led to some tragic situations. I don't think there's anyone in this province who ever wants to see some individual die as a result of a lack of understanding of some basic first aid or the kinds of indicia that may indicate that someone is in serious difficulty medically, as a result of what happens during an altercation in a pub or a licensed establishment or what happens as a result of a fight that takes place there or whatever.
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[1810]

           Clearly, the incident in Nanaimo points up that it is important, I suggest to the minister that the individuals who are going to be employed as bouncers have some kind of medical training. If they don't, then someone in the establishment should have some kind of medical training and be available at all times to assess people who are being removed for whatever reason and who appear to have suffered some kind of injury, minor as it may be, so as to ensure that no untimely deaths occur and to ensure also that an injury that requires serious medical attention is not in fact overlooked under any circumstances. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I happen to believe that the people who work as bouncers work in a difficult position. I don't see it as some kind of minimum-wage job. It is a position that requires a great deal of understanding and ability, not just mere physical prowess or the ability to restrain someone who's inebriated or strong or high on alcohol or drugs. It requires something broader than that. One expects them to have the skills, training and knowledge necessary to that position.
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           That leads me to one of my very serious concerns about this legislation. Bill 15, in and of itself, in section 3 simply says:

"(1) An individual may apply to the registrar for a security worker licence or renewal of a security worker licence. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
(2) An applicant for a security worker licence or its renewal" — and this is mandatory — "must be
           (a) ordinarily resident in Canada, and
           (b) unless exempt by regulation, at least 19 years of age. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
(3) An application for a security worker licence or its renewal must
           (a) be in the form and manner required by the registrar,
           (b) include authorizations for the registrar to carry out the prescribed checks regarding the applicant, and
           (c) be accompanied by the prescribed application fee. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
(4) An applicant for a security worker licence or its renewal must meet all conditions, qualifications and requirements imposed by this Act and the regulations." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           [Mr. Speaker in the chair.]

           That's where I have some difficulty with this, because if one looks at section 52, it gives the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council…. For those of the listening audience tonight who don't understand what that means, that's cabinet. Section 52(2)(i) gives power to the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council to make regulations as follows: "Establishing the qualifications that must be held by an applicant for each type of licence, including, without limitation, (i) the training standards that must be met by an applicant, and (ii) if the applicant for a security business licence is a business entity, the personal standing and qualifications that must be held by the business entity's members, officers and employees."
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           There is nothing in the legislation that sets out clearly what standards we're talking about, what level of training is required. With great respect to the minister, it's a point I made earlier today.
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           We have a job to do in this place. If we continually pass legislation that simply says, "Here's a very basic framework. We'll toss it to cabinet, and cabinet gets to decide what it means," we are abdicating our responsibilities as legislators; we are abdicating our responsibility as politicians. I can certainly say that those of us on this side of the House are abdicating the fundamental responsibility that put us here — that is, to be opposition — because there is no opportunity to oppose when it's in the cabinet chamber. There is no opportunity for us on this side of the House to stand up and say to the ministers putting their legislation through here that this just doesn't make any sense or that this could be improved.
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           The fact is that these regulations will be passed by cabinet. As much as I have great faith in the ability of the minister working with his senior staff, I'd be a great deal more comforted if this legislation set out exactly what kind of training was involved, what kind of qualifications were necessary. Because as I've read out for the benefit of the members listening, all you've got to be is a Canuck and 19 years of age. That's all you have to be, and you have to satisfy the registrar.
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[1815]

           Now, the registrar…. In section 4(1) it says:

"The registrar may refuse to issue or renew a security worker licence if any of the following apply:
           (a) the applicant or licensee fails in any way to comply with or does not meet the requirements of section 3." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I've just read out section 3. He's got to fill out the application. He's got to be a 19-year-old Canuck. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           "(b) the registrar considers that the applicant's or licensee's conduct, education, training, experience, skill, mental condition, character or repute makes it undesirable that he or she be licensed." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

That's a pretty broad discretion, but it doesn't say anything positive. It says essentially that the registrar gets to look at this, and he can refuse you, but it doesn't set any minimum standards. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           "(c) the registrar considers that it is not in the public interest that the applicant or licensee be licensed." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I would assume that would mean a member of the Hell's Angels, which soon-to-be-retired Justice Ross Lander in Nanaimo described as a notorious criminal organization. One would presume that if you were identified with that, then the registrar would decide that you wouldn't make a good candidate to be a bouncer. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           "(d) the registrar is satisfied that the licensee has done something that
                      (i) justifies refusal to renew a licence to the licensee,
                      (ii) contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations, or
                      (iii) contravenes a condition of the licence;
           (e) the applicant or licensee is charged with or convicted of a crime;
           (f) the applicant is a peace officer." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

So no double-dipping; no overtime for peace officers. It seems perfectly reasonable. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Essentially, if you don't have a criminal record and you're a 19-year-old Canuck, then it's cabinet that's going to decide who gets to be a bouncer, who gets to work in the security industry, who gets to undertake what I see as fairly important positions. After all, there are tens of thousands of individuals and businesses in this province who are hiring people to protect their homes; protect the security of their family and loved ones, if they happen to be wealthy and are worried about kidnapping; protect their establishments from damage; and protect their property. All we're going to do by this legislation is enable cabinet to make those very important decisions around what kind of training is necessary, what kind of qualifications there are.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I mean, quite frankly, if one looks at the legislation, there are precious few occupations in this province that wouldn't require you to be a 19-year-old Canuck without a criminal record.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. R. Neufeld: Is there something wrong with being a 19-year-old Canuck? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: The member for Peace River North, the Minister of Energy, says: "Is there something wrong with being a 19-year-old Canuck?" Well, I might remind the minister that there's nothing wrong with being a 19-year-old Canuck, but in my experience, 19-year-old Canucks aren't necessarily the brightest, and when they get to be about 30, they're a lot smarter. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           There is a level of immaturity that is only fixed…

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: …by the passage of time. If the members opposite are suggesting that merely to be 19 years old qualifies you to act as a bouncer in the kind of establishment that led me to stand up and make those remarks, I'm going to suggest it's not sufficient.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           What we are looking for…

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: …in these positions are people who have appropriate training and qualification to ensure, notwithstanding the crying of the members opposite, that what happened in Nanaimo, which led this government to some extent to bring forward this legislation, never happens again.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1820]

           If the members opposite think I'm being unreasonable by suggesting that those minimal standards are below what I think is reasonable, so be it. I think it requires more. I'm looking for legislation that talks about appropriate training. This is just a broad licence to cabinet once again to set the standards without bringing it before this House and without, frankly, giving the members of the opposition — and, indeed, for that matter, the members of the government back bench — the opportunity to provide their input and make intelligent comment about what those regulations will be. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Now, if the members opposite think it's unreasonable that we on this side of the House think that they should be doing their job and ensuring that what passes through this place receives full public scrutiny, so be it, but those of us on this side of the House happen to believe that what we do here is important.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. S. Bond: How do you feel about 19-year-olds?
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: The member asked me how I feel about 19-year-olds. If the member opposite is suggesting that you're as mature…

           Interjections.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. Do you want to…? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: …at 19 as you are at 30, then that defies common sense.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Interjection.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: Member, Member. If people want to make comments, please be in your own seat. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           Continue, Member.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           L. Krog: Hon. Speaker, let's not get diverted from the task at hand by the comments of the members opposite. The task at hand is this legislation.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           If this government seriously believes that it wants to regulate what is a growing occupation in the province…. The minister's remarks, I believe, indicated that there were something like 1,100 businesses in the province with 12,000 employees, and this legislation will have the effect of increasing its coverage to a further 5,500 employees. If that in fact is the case, and if it is important — and I believe it's important, on this side of the House — then surely we should be looking at an expansion of the qualifications as set out in the statute that say it's mandatory.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           All we're seeing now in this legislation before the House is that you've got to be a 19-year-old Canadian without a criminal record. So if you're a 19-year-old Canuck without a criminal record, you can do the job, subject to the training that is going to be specified by cabinet.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I would suggest to the minister that before we get to committee stage of this bill, he seriously consider…. I'm sure his ministry, in its due diligence, has already looked at the kinds of regulations that cabinet would pass. I would strongly suggest that the government consider, before the opposition does, amendment of the bill so that we in this House can have the full opportunity to outline those kinds of qualifications that we here think are important for this kind of work.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           It's not an unreasonable suggestion. Surely it's better to have, excluding the hon. Speaker, 78 heads looking at this than it is to have just the heads around the cabinet table. It's not an unreasonable suggestion. The minister has that opportunity. I strongly suggest to the minister that he consider that proposal. Notwithstanding what fun the members opposite have had with my remarks about 19-year-olds — if I've hurt the 19-year-olds of British Columbia, I do apologize — this arises out of a serious issue in my community and a serious incident. I expect the government to treat it seriously.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
           I would ask the government to consider my suggestion that they bring forward an amendment so that we can talk about and assess this and do it properly, to ensure that an industry that is worthy of regulation — that hasn't seen a substantial revision of this act, I gather, for 26 years, since 1981 — gets the kind of regulation that will enhance its reputation in the community and the province and ensure that the best people are hired into these very sensitive positions. I leave that suggestion with the hon. minister.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1825]

           Mr. Speaker: Seeing no further speakers, the Solicitor General closes debate. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. J. Les: I appreciate the comments from the members opposite this afternoon. Tempted as I am to come to the defence of all the 19-year-olds of this province, I think I will conclude my remarks at this point as well. I look forward to the debate in committee stage, and I move second reading.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Motion approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. J. Les: I move that the bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole to be considered at the next sitting of the House after today. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Bill 15,
Security Services Act, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration at the next sitting of the House after today. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Committee of Supply (Section A), having reported progress, was granted leave to sit again.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Hon. G. Abbott moved adjournment of the House. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Motion approved.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           Mr. Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

           The House adjourned at 6:26 p.m.
[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


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