School children heading off to Victoria on field trips will be able to see plenty of interesting sights this year. There's the Royal B.C. Museum, the historic architecture, the scenic harbour. What they won't get to see is this province's MLAs debating in the Legislature.
Premier Christy Clark has framed her decision to cancel any fall sitting in an odd way. She's suggesting that instead of closing her government off in Victoria and imposing legislation from there, the Liberals will be more open by consulting with British Columbians.
Whether this will amount to any real interaction, or will be a series of staged photo ops and supporter-packed town halls remains to be seen.
But we can already say what won't happen: there won't be any question period. There won't be any debate with the other MLAs elected by British Columbians, the NDP and Green ones. There won't be any chance for new regulations to be aired out and amended.
In Ottawa, PM Stephen Harper has also cut the days the Parliament will sit, although he didn't have the audacity to say "See you next spring."
Politicians need to be held to account at all times. The Liberals in B.C. can be justifiably proud of their come-from-behind election win this spring. Nobody, apart from maybe Rich Coleman, saw it coming.
But while it was a convincing win, it wasn't a crushing landslide of a victory, either. Plenty of people still wanted the province to go another way, and while they didn't amount to a majority, it's not a good idea to ignore them, either.
Maybe the Liberals will consult with the public. But they need to be accountable in every forum available. Question period and a full sitting of the legislature are among those mechanisms of accountability. It's wrong to write it off as Ms. Clark has done.
@ Copyright 2013