Independents join for democratic reform

Vicki Huntington and Bob Simpson are calling on premier to deliver on promise to rebuild public trust

B.C.'s independent MLAs are calling on Premier Christy Clark to renew her past commitments to democratic reform.

Vicki Huntington and Bob Simpson feel Clark should be doing more to deliver on her promise to "rebuild public trust and reconnect people with government."

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The independent MLAs believe the cancelled fall session of the legislature is part of a trend that has moved political decisionmaking away from the public sphere.

"We have a fixed parliamentary calendar so we can hold the government to account, and yet we're not coming back until February," says Simpson, MLA for Cariboo North.

"Some of the committees will continue working during the fall, but most of them rarely meet.

"There's a review of Crown corporations going on right now, and that committee hasn't met in years.

If we reinvigorate the committee system and increase the power of individual members - which the premier proposed during her leadership bid - we'll have a stronger decision-making process."

"For decades, the capacity of your local MLA has been reined in, while the power of parties has increased," says Huntington, first-term MLA for Delta South. "This week is Democracy Week in Canada, an excellent opportunity to reflect on the nature of good governance.

Is good governance a slogan or is it the direct result of informed, accountable, and effective elected representatives?"

Arthur Hadland, independent candidate for Peace River North, says improving democracy is the reason he hopes to join Simpson and Huntington as an independent in the legislature.

"The current party system destroys the fundamental concept of democracy that is by, for and of the people."

Hadland ran as an independent in the 2009 election. He intends to run again in 2013.

Simpson and Huntington hosted a Twitter town hall yesterday to find out what changes British Columbians would like to see in B.C.'s democratic system.

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