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Time with city winding down for MLA

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing is working on government apology for Chinese head tax. - News files
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing is working on government apology for Chinese head tax.
— image credit: News files

It will be nine months after Doug Bing’s surprising election win last May before the MLA finally has a place of his own.

The first-term Liberal MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows moves into his new office at 20130 Lougheed Hwy. early in the new year, after sharing office space with Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton.

At the same time, he’s moving into his new MLA office, Bing will be leaving Pitt Meadows council, on which he served almost nine years.

“I am getting nostalgic. I do sort of feel like it’s the end of an era.”

Bing has said he’ll resign from council in January to spare the expense of calling a byelection. He hasn’t been drawing council pay since he was elected to the B.C. legislature.

He counts the new Pitt Meadows library, South Bonson Community Centre and the seniors’ centre as progressive accomplishments during his three terms.

“I think we’ve got a great seniors’ centre.”

He is also excited about a future project in Pitt Meadows – -the approval for the North Lougheed Connector, a road linking Golden Ears Way to Lougheed Highway. It will facilitate a shopping centre built on the north side of the highway.

“That sort of economic activity doesn’t come through very often.”

Moving on from Pitt Meadows business will allow Bing to focus more on provincial affairs.

He’s on both the government’s strong economy committee and the health committee, and his experience in the health care field as a dentist makes the latter easier.

“I’m enjoying the posting.”

He expects the city budget to be passed in the new year while he’s serving as deputy mayor for Deb Walters, who will be on vacation.

Pitt Meadows’ controversial 2014 budget, which calls for a 1.9-per-cent increase in residential taxes, is up for final reading at that time. Council is deadlocked with three councillors both for and against the financial plan.

“We have to get the budget through,” Bing said.

This spring, he will also be tackling a project for the provincial government which has personal meaning. He will help International Trade Minister Teresa Wat draft an apology for the head tax charged to Chinese immigrants in the late 19th Century. He’s been asked to help compose the apology, and to explain it to the non-Chinese community.

“I’ll be taking a small role, and with my history and background, explaining what it’s all about.”

Bing’s father and grandfather each paid the $500 head tax when they came to Canada in 1910.

His uncle also had to pay the tax and his aunt received $20,000 in 2006 as part of the federal government apology. The B.C.. apology committee is stopping in cities in B.C., mainly on the south coast, inviting the Chinese for their input on the apology.

“It’s just a statement in the house about something that happened,” Bing said. “There are some people who are lobbying for compensation and that’s not on the table at all.

“We’re talking about people who are mostly gone.”

Bing admits it’s a touchy topic. “How much is the current generation responsible for bad things that their grandparents did?”

But the government wants to have the apology completed in the next term, which starts Feb. 11.

As progressive as Canada has become, there’s still racism in the country.

“We still have a little ways to go.”

 

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