With one full session in the Legislature under his belt, Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok says he has never worked so hard in his life, but the overwhelming take away from his first six months is what a privilege it is to serve there.
“It amazes me what a privilege it is. Such an honour and a privilege to be there. Less than 900 people have ever served there. The real work you do is in the constituency, but there is really valuable work being done in Victoria.”
Clovechok says that while Question Period can provide a lot of theatre, he has found that behind the scenes, regardless of party lines, the MLAs are there to serve the people of British Columbia.
“You can get a lot done for your constituents behind the scenes,” he said. “If you sit down and talk to the government Ministers, they are there to help people too.”
For example, Clovechok says he had a recent, very productive meeting with Minister Doug Donaldson of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.
“We talked about wildlife management issues, and I encouraged him to continue what we (BC Liberals) started. We talked about the Recreation Access Management Plan, which is very big in the Columbia Valley. He was concerned about First Nations involvement and I assured him the Shuswap have been very involved up to now.”
They also spoke of assisting people affected by the wild fires.
Meetings like this, Clovechok says, encourage him to believe it is possible to get things done, despite political differences.
“These are things you can work on together. Obviously, we want to be back in government but in the meantime, we need to work together.”
Before the session ended, Clovechok attended the Ministers’ estimate meetings. These are opportunities to ask questions of the Ministers — hard questions, he says.
Of particular concern to Clovechok was questioning the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. As well as being his critic portfolio, Tourism will be dealing with the Resort Municipality Agreement renewal in the coming year.
“There are 14 Resort Municipalities and I have five of them in my riding,” he said.
Upcoming next week is a meeting on RMI in Vancouver.
Clovechok also attended the Premier’s estimates.
“I was able to ask questions around the Trans Canada Highway, safety at Three Valley Gap and conservation officer numbers in Revelstoke. He gave me his word that these things were a priority. So he’s on the record on that.”
Overall, Clovechok said it was a positive first session.
“It was a great experience and I worked harder than I ever have. I was a Social Studies teacher at one point and I thought I knew everything. I was wrong. It’s a really steep learning curve, but we’re doing okay, getting some problems solved for people. I can’t thank my constituency assistants enough.”