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MLA Sturdy wraps 'tumultuous' 2017

Transportation, marijuana legalization to take precedence in 2018

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It's easy to sum up what kind of year it was in British Columbia politics — at least for local MLA Jordan Sturdy.

"Tumultuous, in a word," Sturdy said with a chuckle, over the phone from his office in Horseshoe Bay.

The tumult was mostly due to May's provincial election, which eventually saw the NDP and Greens team up to oust Sturdy's Liberals.

Before the Liberal government was defeated, Sturdy was named Minister of the Environment — a role he didn't hold for long.

"I am glad to say, though, that I think that I won't make the Canadian political Trivial Pursuit question — I think that will be reserved for Steve Thomson, the shortest sitting speaker of the house in the history of the British commonwealth," Sturdy joked.

When all was said and done, the re-elected Sturdy found himself in an opposition role for the first time, and in August he was named critic of transportation.

"Sitting in government is making difficult decisions, and with limited resources. It's essentially a job of resource allocation in many respects. It's a lot harder governing than it is opposing everything," he said.

"My job (now) is to hold government to account, and criticize decisions, make suggestions for improving pieces of legislation and initiatives, point out missteps and errors and that sort of thing."

But ultimately, the real role of an MLA is to work on behalf of their constituents, Sturdy added.

He encouraged residents of the riding to keep him in the loop by email (jordan.sturdy.mla@leg.bc.ca) or phone (604-922-1153).

Looking ahead to 2018, issues around transportation will unsurprisingly play a big role in Sturdy's agenda.

Regional transit for the Sea to Sky corridor remains a priority, with a goal of having something in place by early 2019.

A pilot project testing the feasibility of a third highway lane between Function Junction and Village Gate Boulevard in Whistler is also still on tap for summer.

"We don't have a date on it, but I know that the (Resort Municipality of Whistler) is working with (the Ministry of Transportation) on when to try and make this thing happen, but MOTI tells me the summer is what the target date is," Sturdy said.

There's also the issue of ride-sharing, which Sturdy will be working on as part of the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations.

"I've been focusing on this for quite awhile, and obviously it will be coming to a bit of a head over the next couple of months," Sturdy said.

"The committee is to report back to the legislature in mid-February."

But with the federal government still eyeing a summer 2018 date for marijuana legalization, much of the legislative work in Victoria will likely be focused on that.

B.C.'s solicitor general has said there is an expectation that about 15 different pieces of legislation would need to be amended to accommodate recreational marijuana, Sturdy noted.

"The spring sitting generally would comprise of maybe 30 pieces of legislation — if you think 15 or more of them are going to be taken up by one issue, then one would expect that this would push back on what else gets accomplished," he said.

Then there's the provincial push for a referendum on electoral reform, a process Sturdy said he has little faith in to this point.

"How we're going to educate people to what the options are, and the implications of each of the options, all within 10 months, when we know nothing at this point, I really am suspicious of the whole thing," he said.

"I have no particular objection to revisiting this yet again, but I want process, and I want it to be an informed discussion."

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