Provincial Liberal MLAs won't be given leave to attend events in their riding while the legislature is in session, Public Eye has learned. In an email to riding association presidents, government caucus whip Randy Hawes wrote "our member numbers have decreased over the past few months" - as a result of Stan Hagen's death, as well as Lorne Mayencourt, Richard Neufeld and Carole Taylor's resignations. Furthermore, according to Mr. Hawes, "there are several members suffering illness that will or may cause their absence over the next month."
As a result, "leave for all but family emergency and illness has been suspended" because of the need to ensure the government's majority in the legislature - which has been reduced from 14 to nine members. The following is a complete copy of that email.
From: BC Liberals Issue Alert
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 10:00 AM
Subject: Notice - MLA Availability for Events
Attention BC Liberals Riding Presidents and Provincial Executive
Randy Hawes, BC Liberal Whip, asked us to pass along the following:
As you know our member numbers have decreased over the past few months and currently there are several members suffering illness that will or may cause their absence over the next month while the Legislature is in session.
Given that, leave for all but family emergency and illness has been suspended. Members will not be given leave for riding events and Ministers will not be attending speaking events at either the riding level or in conferences while the house is in session.
Based on the above information, ridings are asked to be mindful that their member, or potential guest speaker, will not be attending riding events while the house is in session. Events should therefore be considered for Fridays, weekends, or during the break week in March commencing on the 16th.
This may cause some inconvenience, however, we all understand the importance of ensuring our majority in the Legislature.