Huntington talks about democratic reform on Twitter
Delta-South MLA Vicki Huntington along with fellow independent MLA Bob Simpson took to Twitter last Thursday to call for commitment to democratic reform.
The Twitter Townhall meeting, as it was called, was a first for Huntington, who has 350 followers on the social media website.
"It moved quickly," she said. "An hour goes by so fast you realize it should have been a two hour townhall."
Twitter users were able to interact with the MLAs by using the hashtag "#bcdemreform" to make comments and ask questions.
"MLA votes in leg need to be secret with voting history made public prior to election," tweeted Julius Bloomfield, of Penticton.
Huntington tweeted that it sounded like a good idea, but suggested people would demand to know how their MLA votes on issues.
"In my mind it's simple (not just me). Only those who vote can donate," tweeted the Prince George Free Press newspaper account, suggesting corporations and unions shouldn't be allowed to contribute campaign donations.
There were also discussions on things like the perils of having a party whip, proportional representation in the legislature, and encouraging more independents to run for office.
"It was somewhat chaotic keeping up with all the comments but it was very interesting at the same time," said Huntington, who intends to try the format again in the future with a focus on Delta.
The meeting filled a void left by the BC Liberal government's announcement Sept. 13 that it would not be calling the fall legislature, choosing to wait until February to reconvene. As the legislature took the summer off beginning in May, it would be nine full months between sessions in Victoria.
"I think generally the public expects legislators to be in the legislature doing the job," said Huntington. "There's often been no fall session and I think it's become a habit in this province."
Huntington called it a cynical move so close to an election, saying it's obvious the BC Liberals are avoiding public scrutiny and accountability.
But she said it didn't surprise her, given that the government pushed through about 15 bills just prior to the close of the spring session.
"You knew then that we were likely not having a fall session because there was absolutely no excuse for it. It was chaos in the legislature. You had 30 minutes to debate and go into committee on a piece of legislation."
So, how will MLAs keep busy during the intervening months before the legislature goes back into session in 2013? Huntington isn't concerned she'll have too much free time.
"We get drop-in traffic on this wonderful corner like nobody's business," she said, laughing in reference to her office situated on the corner of 48th Ave. and Delta St. in Ladner. "So, every time you start working, somebody's in here. And my door's always open, so I'll chat with them.