I trust that you are all enjoying autumn as we come to the end of our liturgical year. What a beautiful November we had!

I thought that I would review the responsibilities included in this standing committee, especially for our new Legislation chairpersons. As stated in the Executive Handbook:

a) MONITOR and STUDY LEGISLATION at ALL LEVELS of GOVERNMENT Legislation affects everyone and everything we have and do.
The chairperson shall:

  • know the local, provincial and federal government representatives
  • ask to be put on their mailing list to receive information
  • attend public forums sponsored by government and report back to the council
  • keep informed on issues pertaining to government
  • keep informed about resolutions and briefs presented to government
  • be aware that the council president is the official spokesperson
  • ensure all letters to government are signed by the president
  • obtain copies of bills relevant to a resolution being followed
  • work closely with the chairperson of resolutions to review previous resolutions and draft new ones

b) PREPARATION of BRIEFS and POSITION PAPERS on PROPOSED LEGISLATION The chairperson shall be familiar with the process of developing position papers as outlined in the National Manual of Policy and Procedure, Appendix 1: Resolutions” (Executive Handbook, Pg. LEG – 71)

            Provincial: To keep on top of what is happening at the Legislative Assembly in    our province you can go to The Legislative Assembly of BC website, www.leg.bc.ca. It is a very user friendly website; you can check the parliamentary        calendar to see when the government is sitting (this was the last week of sitting for          2019), check the progress of Bills, find your MLA, check the parliamentary            business, look up documents and data etc.

          National/Federal: You can keep abreast of what is happening at the federal level of government by using www.ourcommons.ca. The first sitting of our new government will be on December 5th, then the 6th and then from the 9th-13th. Link to current Members of Parliament https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/search and current Cabinet Ministershttps://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/ministries to write to any Minister, please refer to the Personal Letter Writing Guide which you            may order from the National office:  Address mail to: House of Commons, Ottawa  ON K1A 0A6, no postage is required

c) “Additional resources pertaining to this standing committee are available on request from national office: a) The Legislative Process b) information on how to obtain Hansard, Status of Bills and Motions, and offices of other organizations c) information on writing and presenting a brief” (Executive Handbook, Pg. LEG – 72)

I have mentioned in my last few communiqués and memos the dangers of vaping and how it has become a major public health issue facing our youth. BC Health Minister, Adrian Dix said that ‘youth vaping rates are increasing, putting young people at risk of serious illness, prompting the government to introduce the most comprehensive vaping plan in Canada.’ (Kamloops This Week, November 15, 2019) MLA Todd Stone has been calling for action on vaping since introducing his Member’s Bill in April asking for ‘restrictions on the sale of vape pens and products, as well as toughen penalties for those who don’t comply with standards.’ (Kamloops This Week, September 20, 2019) According to CBC news, “BC has announced new rules on vape products, including higher taxes, restrictions on sales and advertising, limits on nicotine content and constraints on packaging.” (November 14, 2019) Let us be watchful as this new legislation and restrictions on vaping will be launched in 2020.

As Advent begins, here are some thoughts from the Living with Christ, Word Made Flesh, Daily Reflections for Advent 2019. “Advent is a time for us to practice opening the door, inviting him in, making space for him…….Open your heart to whatever you feel you can do. Jesus is not coming to the world as we wish it to be but to the world as it is. May this Advent draw us closer to the manger where Jesus lies vulnerably loving our world today.’ (Leah Perrault)

Sheila Doherty
Chairperson of Legislation