It’s great to have Quesnel as my home base again after the long spring session of the legislature. The end of session does not mean MLAs go on vacation, however. They simply move their base of operations back to their communities.
I’m always taken aback by people who believe that MLAs don’t work if the B.C. Legislature isn’t sitting. I had someone come up to me this past week and tell me they think we get too much time off now that the legislature supposedly sits in accordance with a fixed calendar.
“Must be nice to be off till the fall,” the person quipped.
The reality is that when the legislature sits MLAs simply add the burden of their Victoria workload to their ongoing constituency obligations.
Once the Victoria workload disappears, MLAs re-orient their focus back to full-time constituency work.
Ministers don’t have it that easy. They must carry on with their ministerial obligations (equivalent to those of a CEO of a small, medium, or large corporation, depending on the ministry) as well as their constituency responsibilities.
I don’t envy ministers when we’re in Victoria and they have to add estimates and legislative debates to their workload, while being lobbied by every MLA because of their increased accessibility when the House is sitting.
So, no, I’m not on vacation now that the session has ended, but I do have the luxury of being more focused on constituency matters and in getting around to the various communities in the riding. Constituency work is the most enjoyable and fulfilling part of this job, and I can’t always say the same about the nature of my work in Victoria when the legislature is in session.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.