Because there has been a break from the work in the legislature in December and January, I’ve had the ability to spend more time in Oak Bay and Gordon Head, hearing about what matters to people in our community.
I know some people have been facing struggles with health care and housing, and that’s why they’ve been priorities for Premier David Eby and our government.
While I’ve been talking to people about the work our government has done to tackle these issues, I’m also looking forward to the continued work we have to do for our communities as we head into the first legislative session of 2023 which begins this month.
In 2022, we faced challenges with affordability, health care, and multiple public health crises, and these are issues that remain on the front burner for our government to address in our upcoming session and throughout the year. While we faced challenges, we also saw a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and communities working together to support each other, like in Oak Bay, where individuals and organizations sprung into action to help get Ukrainian refugees into B.C. and support them to settle into our communities. I’m proud to now have Ukrainian refugees living in my constituency, who have been welcomed warmly by the province and their neighbours.
One of the projects I was most honoured to present in the Legislature in 2022 in my role as minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation was the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) Action Plan – this outlines 89 concrete actions for our government to take in both the short and long terms to meet the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which we committed to in 2019. As we begin a new legislative session, I look forward to working with my cabinet colleagues to continue this work.
On a local level, I was pleased to see progress on many fronts to serve our community. As we work to address the compounding issues in health care, we opened the Luther Court Community Health Centre last spring, which has attached many patients and is caring for their health needs. We also celebrated over 300 childcare spaces in our community becoming $10-a-day spaces in 2022, as well as exciting new housing and dining facilities at UVic that serve hundreds of students and have helped students in need of reliable, affordable housing during their studies.
I cannot look back on 2022 and look to the months ahead without mentioning the changes in leadership we’ve recently seen. First in our municipal elections, as my constituency traverses three different municipalities, there are several new mayors and council members that I have been happy to get to work with, and as we continue to prioritize issues like the housing supply and affordability, I know that our work together among municipal and provincial representatives will be key. We also welcomed a new premier, David Eby, who has quickly shown his commitment to progress as premier. I’m looking forward to this new legislative session with David at the helm.
As we move into a new legislative session, we’re committed to continuing the work to make life better for people in our community and across B.C., and championing priorities of housing affordability, cost of living, and health care for all. My community office staff and I look forward to connecting with you throughout the year.
Murray Rankin is the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.
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