In British Columbia, the Eby government starts at full speed

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In British Columbia, the Eby government starts at full speed

The seat of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, in Victoria.

Funding to recruit and train RCMP officers, measures to improve public safety, bills to address the housing crisis: since being sworn in as Prime Minister , last Friday, David Eby multiplies the announcements. Is the New Democratic Party (NDP) doing too much, too fast?

I have the impression that he made more announcements in a week than some can make in a year, analyzes political observer Nicolas Kenny, for whom the desire to present the new Prime Minister as a man of action also raises questions.

“Were certain situations in the province allowed to worsen for the political benefit of David Eby? This is a question raised by the opposition and by some commentators… still, what we mainly remember is a kind of emergency ;to act. »

— Nicolas Kenny, Political Observer

Throughout the week, both the Liberals and the Greens struggled to make themselves heard, due to the abundance of press briefings by the new Prime Minister, sometimes even late in the afternoon.

The Leader of the Official Opposition, Kevin Falcon, has even come to label his opponent unflattering nicknames, such as Deviant and Mr. Competent, attempting to paint him as a bad manager, due to a crisis at the company. BC Housing State, under David Eby when he was Housing Minister.

For Nicolas Kenny, this urgency to act is reminiscent of the New Democrat government of Dave Barrett, in the 1970s. At the time, the government was criticized for doing too much, too quickly.

Already, flaws are emerging regarding certain public safety announcements. In an interview with The Globe and Mail this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former justice adviser, Benjamin Perrin, sharply criticized David Eby's new policies to combat criminality.

Until now, the Crown has not sought remand for defendants whose crimes were not punishable by imprisonment. The Prime Minister announced an end to this policy on Sunday.

That's like saying we should put people in pre-trial detention, even for acts that don't lead to jail if found guilty, it's a big problem, believes the professor of law at the University of British Columbia.

Premier David Eby during his public safety press conference in Vancouver.

In the province, where a disproportionate number of Indigenous people are incarcerated, the lawyer fears that these new guidelines exacerbate systemic racism within the judiciary.

When you get [people] off the streets because they're in crisis – whether it's homelessness, drug issues or mental health issues – and you put them in jail, that worsens these crises, explains Benjamin Perrin.

These directives would go against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Other measures, to be introduced in the Legislative Assembly in the spring, aimed at making it easier to seize the properties of individuals suspected of participating in criminal activities but who have not yet been convicted, or even charged, call into question the #x27;the very idea of ​​the presumption of innocence.

In Victoria, the accelerated debates on bills announced that morning displeased the opposition. Tabled on Monday, the Housing Supply Act and the Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act received Royal Assent in just four days.

I know that for some, it seems to be political contests, but it is extraordinary, explained Kevin Falcon in an interview. We have limited debate in the past, but the difference is that we give notice of the bill in question. Introducing bills one day and closing debate the next is unprecedented.

Official Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon has attacked the government over the management of Crown corporation BC Housing.

Both Liberals and Greens fear laws have been adopted without fully understanding the potential repercussions.

In the space of a week, due to the housing crisis, 300,000 owners of condominium apartments were deprived of rights that had been vested in them since 1964. The government thus believes it can free up nearly 3,000 vacant apartments for offer them on the rental market.

During prolonged sessions until late in the evening, several Liberal MPs denounced in broad strokes the short time devoted to debating the two bills.

BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau and her MP Adam Olsen have tried to pressure the government into increasing benefits for people with disabilities.

More discreet, the Greens also seem overwhelmed by the last week, as well as by the lack of notice or consultation from the government. It does not bode well, said the leader of the Greens, Sonia Furstenau, on the sidelines of a press conference. It is undemocratic.

Regarding the law on condominiums, we are inundated with messages from people who have all kinds of concerns, deplores Kevin Falcon. These concerns relate in particular to the arrival of non-occupant investors who could take control of buildings, to the potential challenges related to the recruitment of volunteers who manage these buildings, or even to the real estate speculation that this sudden opening could lead to.< /p>

This is not the time for debate, say New Democrats. We are tackling the crisis head-on, Attorney General and Housing Minister Murray Rankin repeated several times this week.

This sense of urgency seems justified, explains Nicholas Kenny. David Eby faces a series of crises as we are not used to seeing. All the big issues are in crisis: housing, the health system, public safety, inflation, the cost of living, all that!

The new Prime Minister has two years to show that his reforms can bear fruit before appearing before the voters. We are talking about fundamental problems that will not be solved overnight, ”he adds. “David Eby needs to get the ball rolling, to show, by the next election, that there is at least some progress. He has no time to waste.

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