Trend toward shorter legislative sessions

Just before adjourning the house on Friday, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Bill Barisoff encouraged MLAs to use their time outside the Rockpile to "reconnect" with their constituents, spend time with their family and "re-energize themselves." But the record shows politicians have had more opportunity to do just that in recent years. So far, MLAs have sat for just 24 days in 2011. By contrast, during the late eighties and early nineties, there were two years when the legislature was in session for over 100 days - something that hasn't been repeated since then. Nevertheless, as noted by the Times Colonist's Paul Willcocks, it's unclear whether the public would actually be served by longer sittings.

6 Comments

Of course the public is better served with longer sittings. Each day of a sitting the government can be held accountable. When they are not sitting everything happens behind closed doors. Shorter sitting favor the government, longer sitting favor the people. It is a no brainer.

I agree with Hal but I would add that the short and infrequent sittings of the legislature seem to be a hallmark of the BC Liberals and their fear of accountability. However, the NDP seems to be continuing with its ineffectiveness in using the days it has available "to hold the government's feet to the fire."

Agreed Hal. I'm all for more QPs. A lot more.

Oh and I want to replace the BCNDP w/ the media. Make Sean Holman the leader. Let's even the playing field here so our Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, the Canucks and me has to sweat.

Meanwhile the BCNDP can ask questions of themselves...

If this is all they're going to be allowed to do, it's an outrageous waste of scarce tax dollars - send them all pink slips, rent the Leg out as a tourist attraction (or leasse it to the folks who want $20 million for a new autism centre) and put the money to better use. Slackers like this would never be tolerated in the private sector.

Ditch the overpaid ministers too - most of them have shown they don't have a clue about the portfolio they're supposed to manage and their Deputies would get much more work done without having to babysit them constantly.

Longer sittings also means less opportunities for smirking Christy to show up at events which have nothing much to do with running a government. The woman is fast becoming a joke

At one time the when the legislature sat, the members were paid a allowance but it was only for 60 days of a sitting. If the sitting went longer then they were not paid expenses. This was an incentive not to waste the time and most sessions wound down very quickly after the per diem allowance was stopped.
It was changed to paying the per diem as long as a session lasted. The result was more irrelevant debate until the members discovered people stopped listening. That led to regularly scheduled sitting brought in by the liberals. This gave them th power to manipulate sittings by introducing closure on bills whenever things were not going their way. They took away any power the opposition had to filibuster and draw attention to issues getting the public worked up. The NDP under James didn't see it coming.

Go back to some form of the old system and besides saving money the taxpayer is better served. Simple really.

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