Sunday, July 21, 2013

MLA's week: July 15 - 18, 2013

A snapshot of some of the talking points from the North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice during this week's proceedings of the Legislature.

The MLA had two issues of note introduced in the Legislature this week, a review of cancer outcomes from Northern BC and the issues of transportation for local residents seeking medical care, as well the MLA provided an update on the fire in Bella Bella which destroyed much of the communities commercial and cultural structures and supplies.

Monday, MLA Rice reviewed the recent statistics that outlined that cancer rates are down across British Columbia and from those numbers reviewed for the Legislature the nature and cost of transportation required for North Coast residents to seek out medical care through the Prince George Cancer Clinic.

The majority of her presentation to the Legislature recounted the struggles of those northern and remote communities  to seek out medical care, particularly in the Northwest where transportation options don't provide for the most workable of schedules for making appointments.

In addition to the accounts of travel issues, she also brought up the prospect of future development, particularly that of LNG development for the region and how local residents will be seeking to gain more benefits from those developments, particularly in the way of better access to health care.

"Similar challenges face the constituents of other rural and remote communities. Even as this government banks on paying off the debt using LNG, presumably by the sweat of northern workers, northerners are asked to pay out-of-pocket to get their medical treatment. We are asked to pay extra if we want to have our partner or another family member present while we're going through chemotherapy...."

"We need people to live in remote and rural communities. It's how we generate our wealth, from the natural resources found in these parts of the province. In particular, if this government's LNG hopes come to fruition, it will be thousands of workers living in the north that generate this wealth for the provincial coffers. So why are we creating barriers to those living in these communities and working in these industries to get medical treatment?" --MLA Rice from the Legislature Blues July 15

You can review her entire speech to the legislature from the Legislature Blues it starts at the 1055 mark on the right hand side.  You can view the presentation from the July 15 Morning session Video Archive at the 10:56 mark on the clock at bottom right.

On Tuesday, MLA Rice provided an update for the Legislature on the destructive nature of the fire in Bella Bella, which has resulted in a number of important structures in the community having been destroyed, among them the only store in the community and the library of which the residents took much pride in.

(Background on the community's efforts can be found from our July 12th item on the blog.)

She outlined how the community had pulled together during the incident, what makeshift measures they have taken in the short term and how they are determined to rebuild the community. She also provided a tumblr site where those interested in contributing to the rebuild Bella Bella fund  can access more information.

 "The Heiltsuk Tribal Council is accepting monetary donations on behalf of the Bella Bella community through a website called Funds raised will support immediate assistance for families in need and will help initiate the process of rebuilding. Any assistance is welcome.    

Another huge loss to the blaze was the Thistalalh Memorial Library, a non-profit community literacy initiative. Jess Housty, a Heiltsuk community leader, tells me today that the library is completely unsalvageable, and they're starting from scratch. Any support would be greatly appreciated. Book donations can dropped off at various locations across the province, including my constituency office in Prince Rupert." -- MLA Rice from the Legislature Blues, July 16.

You can review her entire presentation on the Bella Bella fire from the Legislature Blues it starts just before the 1348 mark on the right hand side. You can review the presentation from the July 16 afternoon session Video archive at the 13:45 mark on the clock bottom right.

In addition to her time in the Legislature during the week, the North Coast MLA was introduced as a member of a Legislature Committee, where she will serve as a member of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth, you can learn more about that committee here.

You can review our past weekly reviews from our Legislature archive page.

There is more background on the North Coast MLA available from our Legislature home page.

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