Bob D’Eith and Lisa Beare celebrate NDP win during May 9 election.                                THE NEWS/files

Bob D’Eith and Lisa Beare celebrate NDP win during May 9 election. THE NEWS/files

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLAs open offices soon

Transition begins to an NDP government

The high drama and suspense Thursday in Victoria involving the outgoing and income premiers is over. Now it’s time to do the domestic chores, such as opening an office and getting the phones working for the new NDP politicians representing Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

Bob D’Eith, Maple Ridge-Mission, and Lisa Beare, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, will both have their offices open within a week or two.

D’Eith described Thursday as historic, while Beare said she was confident the agreement between the NDP, with 41 seats, and the Greens, with three seats (to the Liberals 43), as the result of the May 9 B.C. election, will last four years.

“We’re just excited that we get the chance to help people,” said Beare.

“Obviously, the pressing issue on everyone’s mind is the tent city in the community.”

Beare added that there’s also the opioid crisis, education funding, the import duties imposed by the U.S. on Canadian softwood, transportation and housing.

“All the school boards have been frozen while there hasn’t been a full government in process,” said Brease, still a school trustee.

“There were schools that were unsure of their funding because they didn’t have a stable government, everything to do with transportation projects moving forward.

“There’s no ranking. Everything needs attention.”

D’Eith said ministers first must be appointed for housing and mental health and addictions before any decisions are made on homeless shelter in Maple Ridge.

“It’s a big issue. And then we’ll work with them [ministers]. That is the correct process, how it should have been done in the first place. It is a ministerial issue … and we want to support the ministry.”

Both departments have to come with the best plan for the shelter issue in Maple Ridge, after consulting the MLAs.

“We feel it’s potentially an all-three-levels of government, cooperative matter. We’ve met with Dan Ruimy, we’ve met with the mayor, we’ve met with council. As soon as we can brief the minister, we will,” D’Eith said.

Both MLAs have also met with the citizen’s committee appointed by the outgoing Liberal MLAs to find a shelter location in Maple Ridge.

D’Eith said that last week showed that New Democrat MLAs know the importance of being in the legislature with only one more vote than the Liberals.

The transition to a new government will start in the next few weeks with a cabinet to be named this summer.

“That was an extremely, exciting historic day,” D’Eith said of Thursday, when NDP Leader John Horgan was asked to form government.

The suspense dragged on for hours after a lengthy conversation between Premier Christy Clark and Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon.

“We haven’t had a no-confidence vote defeating a party in a minority government since 1883. It’s a big deal. There were helicopters flying over the lieutenant governor’s house. It was pretty exciting to be part of that,” D’Eith said.

Former Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing congratulated both D’Eith and Beare. The first thing for the new MLAs to do is to get out of election mode and realize they’re under a microsope, he added.

“It’s very tempting to think you have the answers to everything. I think they have to be very good listeners. They may not agree with everything they hear. People have a right to express their views. They need to be diplomatic. That’s the job, really.”

Maple Ridge Coun. Bob Masse wants the NDP to live up to its promise of re-opening Riverview Hospital for the mentally ill.

“Everything that’s already been approved, we expect to go through,” Masse said.

He wants to make sure the improvements to the intersections along the Haney Bypass are completed, promised under the previous Liberal government, as well as the promised new Albion elementary school.

Maple Ridge Nicole Read was happy to see the new government.

“I am incredibly pleased that John Horgan is the new leader of our province. Congratulations to all the hard working MLAs who are about to become our new minisiters,” Read said on Facebook.