Out of the black hole

Column from MLA Bob Simpson talks about the legislature, a.k.a. the "black hole."

Spending too much time in the legislature in Victoria is not a good thing for MLAs, for the staff who serve them, and for the reporters who cover what happens inside its hallowed halls. It’s euphemistically called the “black hole” for a reason.

The legislature is a world unto itself. It has its own history. Its own code of conduct and its own measure of what constitutes acceptable behavior — some of which would not be acceptable in any classroom in any of the province’s schools.

During a long session, like the one we had this past spring, it’s too easy to allow one’s thinking to be distorted by the political machinations that go on day in, day out within the confines of the legislative precinct. To allow oneself to believe that people really pay attention or care about each jot and tittle of a bill. Or, that the attempts to manipulate public opinion through Question Period or through dueling press releases actually affect public opinion.

That’s why it’s always such a tonic to get back into the constituency for an extended period of time; to get quality time with the people who elected me and to tour the communities I was elected to represent. It’s the only way for any MLA to get grounded in the reality of the people they are supposed to be representing.

This week I brought my Victoria staff up to the Cariboo to give them the same opportunity to spend some extended time in the constituency, so they too can get grounded in the reality of the people whom they serve. Together with my constituency office staff, we spent time touring the riding and meeting with the people whose interests we represent in the BC legislature.

Having my entire team understand the geography and the needs of the people of Cariboo North is critical to my being an effective voice for you in Victoria.

Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.