In early April, along with my colleagues on the UBCM Executive, I had the honour of working on behalf of communities across BC, to meet with provincial MLAs and Ministers on creating a stronger fiscal future for BC local governments.
The strong fiscal futures initiative has been unanimously endorsed by the UBCM convention and it's got some really interesting and important elements that you can read above through the link above.
I wanted to focus on something a bit different here. It was huge learning experience for me to go to Victoria and help with this effort. It was an amazing honour and I really didn't want to screw anything up.
Just before we arrived in Victoria, we received information about the MLAs we would be meeting with and which of our UBCM executives we would be working with at each MLA meeting. We were each given specific parts of the report to talk about in the meetings. It was really interesting to work with people I have never really worked with before. We all did pretty well although the transitions from parts to part, for me, felt sometimes (perhaps naturally) a bit clumsy.
Sometimes meetings were changed quickly due to unforseen circumstances and we all had to be quite nimble in responding.
All the MLAs I met with were interested and gave great guidance on how potentially we could secure provincial government support.
I was quite struck by how many rules the MLAs have to follow. They have to be in the legislative chamber to vote no later than 5 minute after bells start ringing throughout the building. They have to get leave from the whip to be excused from voting. I saw a cabinet minister running through the hallways before they locked the door to the chamber after the 5 minutes.
This was also a situation where the generally multipartisan nature of our local government world met with the generally partisan world of the provincial legislature. We have people on the UBCM executive with good links to all parties represented in the legislature and we met with MLAs from every party. When we met with MLAs, it was almost always in their party groupings.
It's a little intimidating to walk the halls of the legislature and realize the important work that gets done and the important work we hopefully were doing. I am not sure it would be good to become to comfortable with the opportunity. I hope I always a feel humbled if I get future opportunities to serve and participate in these efforts.