Friday, May 29, 2020

MLA Rice on Legislature return which will feature a hybrid of In Person / Virtual models

The BC Legislature chamber has been empty for much of the last two months
MLA's return to their duties June 22nd, though with a new process in place
 for Legislative business in Victoria

While she's been quite active working out of her Prince Rupert constituency office during the COVID-19 period, next month North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, as will all MLA's in British Columbia, will begin the process of returning to legislative duties.

On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan announced that the return of the Legislature will take  place on June 22nd, outlining a hybrid plan  that will feature members in the Legislature along with those participating by remote methods.

Whether she will be working out of Prince Rupert or Victoria, or what kind of rotation will be in place remains to be determined to this point, but either way the MLA is looking forward to the resumption of legislative work.

Yesterday, we reached out to the North Coast MLA  to see if she knew what her plans may be as the revised Legislature project gets underway.

For he part, Ms. Rice noted that as flights won't be resuming out of Prince Rupert until the 22nd of June, she may not be present for the first day if she is one of the MLA's to be present in Victoria for the launch of the new normal for BC Politics.

 As for how it all will work, Ms. Rice provided the following overview:

"At this time, which MLAs will be participating remotely and which ones will be physically present in the legislature is not known. It may well be a combination of certain weeks MLAs are physically present in the legislature and some weeks they participate remotely over the course of the 6 week session. 

We will be sitting 5 days a week versus the normal 4 days/per week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays we will be debating legislation and Thursdays and Fridays will be focused on budget estimates. 

 A typical sitting day will pretty much look the same – Monday morning private members time, members statements, Question Period etc. I’m looking forward to trying out the new model for the legislature." 

Ms. Rice also observed as to how the new format will make for a significant shift in how the business of the Legislature takes place, as well as to how it may make for a new atmosphere for the Chamber.

"It is such a change from the norm that it’s hard to imagine how it will unfold but I am enthusiastic about trying new ways of doing things. 

 With the gradual reopening of the Province, British Columbians are working hard at adapting to get back to work in innovative ways and it should be no different for elected representatives. 

The uncertainty of it feels a little uncomfortable admittedly but I’m equally curious and open to the possibilities. Question period will certainly have a different tone to it without the audible heckling and desk thumping but perhaps that’s all for the better. We will see . . ."

You can review Premier Horgan's introduction of the plan for the resumption of the Legislature below:

For more notes on the work of the MLA see our archive page here.

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