Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons hosted a public meet and greet last month at his Powell River office, and introduced Rob Hill, his new constituency assistant for the Upper Sunshine Coast area. While meeting with local residents, Simons discussed upcoming legislative matters affecting the Sunshine Coast and the rest of BC.
As the fall session unfolds, Simons said the provincial government will seek to reinstate Anti-SLAPP legislation (strategic lawsuit against public participation) (Bill 32), which he said “would prevent large, well-financed corporations from scaring off legitimate lawsuits from groups and individuals concerned about the public interest.”
He added that the government also hopes to debate legislation that would make the government’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers more straightforward and efficient. The provincial government alleges that some opioid manufacturers misleadingly downplayed the risks of highly addictive prescription drugs and thereby contributed to the province’s ongoing opioid crisis.
As it builds its case, Simons said the government hopes to be able to use aggregate data on patients affected by the crisis rather than information extracted from individual health files.
Also on the legislative agenda is the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, which aims to address strained household incomes and housing affordability across the province. The government has introduced legislation that requires the province to reduce the overall poverty rate by 25 per cent and the child poverty rate by 50 per cent. While meeting with his constituents, Simons noted that regular assessments of the bill’s effectiveness will need to be scheduled.
During the meet and greet, Simons also distributed information about the upcoming referendum on electoral reform, which will take place through a mailed ballot between October 22 and November 20.
The governing NDP and Green parties are calling for a “yes” vote, while the opposition Liberals are hoping the “no” side will prevail.
In regard to matters facing residents and families on the Sunshine Coast, Simons posited what he saw as some of his party’s achievements in government so far.
“Affordability is a key government focus,” he said. “By reducing the cost of child care, limiting increases in auto insurance and hydro, and eliminating the medical services premiums, the government has brought considerable savings for individuals and families.”
Simons added that the government has also reduced ferry fares, a key concern for residents on the Sunshine Coast. Fares have been rolled back 15 per cent on minor routes, and frozen on major routes between Vancouver Island and the mainland.
Shortly before the beginning of the fall legislative session, Simons spent a week touring the province with the finance and government services committee. In the coming weeks, he said he will be sitting in on regular legislative hearings and debates.
Simons’ constituency office at 4675 Marine Avenue in Powell River is open from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Thursday, and can be contacted at 604.485.1249.