This week I travelled to Victoria to be sworn in as MLA and I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to the people of Kootenay West for my re-election. I am honored and I will do my very best to represent all constituents and take the concerns of this area to Victoria and the legislature.
I will be an active member of the Official Opposition Caucus and in that role I have a duty to question government and to make sure that my constituent’s views are heard. I take this responsibility seriously and will continue to do so. My new critic position within the opposition caucus will be seniors and seniors Health and I’m also the critic responsible for the Columbia River Treaty, Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Trust.
We will be returning to the Legislature on June 26th and one of the main pieces of legislative business we will be dealing with is the passing of a budget for the province. When we last sat in Victoria in February, the Liberal Government introduced a budget that they claimed was balanced. The Opposition Caucus has grave concerns on the legitimacy of this claim. As we see it, the only way the budget can be balanced is to use the deferral accounts from BC Hydro, sell large numbers of government assets and bring in significant reductions in government services.
Any government service reductions hit rural BC particularly hard. As we know in the Kootenays, we have very little left to cut. Funding for health, education, and transportation have all been dramatically reduced and we have already endured many cut backs in this area. Our social safety net has been reduced and many are falling through the cracks now.
As we start a new four-year term, I am committed to trying to protect our region from further cuts, advocating for more funding for local school districts, Selkirk College, healthcare, local transportation, seniors care, local parks and environment. I will also be very involved with gathering information and attending meetings regarding the Columbia River Treaty.
As always, you can reach me and my staff through my constituency office in Castlegar. Even while I am away in Victoria, I have two staff member who are there to assist with questions or government programs. You can also coordinate through my Castlegar office for setting up meetings or invitations to events. I will continue to be accessible to constituents through a variety of ways, including my toll-free phone number, email, a website, Facebook and twitter accounts.
I look forward to working with the residents of Kootenay West over the next four years.
Katrine Conroy, MLAKootenay West