Stop Smirking Premier says Mungall

Posted: April 14th, 2014

Nelson BC – Child poverty is a serious issue in British Columbia and MLA Michelle Mungall is becoming increasingly more frustrated that the Liberal Government is not taking it seriously.

On Thursday, Mungall caused a stir in the Legislature when she told Christy Clark to stop smirking. Mungall made the comment while she was asking the Premier to stop clawing back child support payments from children simply because their single parent receives income supports.  This was the same issue that Mungall had grilled the Premier on the day before when single mothers were at the Legislature asking government to end the clawback of their children’s child support payments. Responding to Mungall’s questions on Wednesday, the Premier was dismissive and failed to address the clawback in her response.  The smirk was the only acknowledgment Mungall got from the Premier to her question on Thursday as she deferred the answer to the Minister of Social Development who also made no commitments to stop the clawback. 

Each month, the government enforces child support payments by non-custodial parents only to claw it back dollar for dollar once received by the custodial parents, most often single mothers, because they are on income assistance. Last year $17 million in child support payments was clawed back from single parents on income supports in British Columbia. The province has had the highest rate of child poverty in the country for the last 10 years. Mungall has been calling on the government to end the clawback and to give BC’s poorest kids their money back.

 

“I am joining single mothers in standing up for some of the BC’s poorest kids and the Premier thinks it is some kind of joke” said Mungall.  “Clawing back $17 million from children who desperately need it is wrong. Instead of just smirking about it the Premier needs to do the right thing and take action to reduce child poverty.”

 

To watch Wednesday’s Question Period exchange click here for Thursday’s click here


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Why is Bill Bennett so Full of Hay? Asks Mungall in BC’s Legislature

Posted: April 4th, 2014

Nelson –For the third time this week MLA Michelle Mungall took a Liberal Cabinet Minister to task in question period about government decisions that are hurting people in the Kootenays.  Her target Thursday morning was Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett.

Last week when Bennett was discussing the government’s legislation that would break apart the provinces Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) he was quoted saying “I get a kick out of the hundred-mile diet except, where I live, you’d have to eat hay.”

As the representative for the Creston Valley Mungall took exception to that comment and used question period as an opportunity to give Minister Bennett a lesson in geography and agriculture. Mungall reminded him that he had been to Creston “so he should know that there is much more than hay growing within 50 miles of his house. There are apples, cherries, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, peas, pork, poultry, beef, wheat, barley, oats. They all grow on prime agricultural ALR land.”

Mungall went on to quote Nadine Harris a farmer from the Creston Valley who said “the ALR must be kept intact to ensure the viability of her family’s business,” and asked the Minister who he consulted when drafting the legislation that would break up the ALR.

Minister Bennett acknowledged that Mungall was correct about what grew in the area, but did not address the question of who was consulted in the preparation of the legislation and re-affirmed his support for dividing the ALR.

“Not only is Minister Bennett belittling the importance of agriculture in the Kootenay’s, his government is pushing through legislation that will destroy the livelihood of hardworking and innovative Kootenay farmers,” said Mungall. “While he is standing with a government who is only looking out for themselves, I will be standing up with farmers working to save the ALR.”

Watch the video transcript HERE.

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One Million dollars for Jumbo, Nothing for Real Kootenay Priorities – Mungall Outraged

Posted: April 2nd, 2014

Nelson, BC – MLA Michelle Mungall did not hide her frustration with the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development during question period Monday. Mungall was asking why the Liberal government has committed one million dollars to a town with no residents, instead of investing in the healthcare and education priorities of Kootenay communities.

“The government found $1 million for this fake municipality without a single resident, said Mungall referring to Jumbo. She then listed Kootenay priorities she has raised in the Legislature that the Liberals have ignored. “The government said that they could not afford $1 million to help victims of the Johnson’s Landing mudslide with a buyout program similar to the one offered to North Vancouver residents in 2005. They also said that they have no money to run the CT scanner at Kootenay Lake Hospital 24/7 or literacy programs in the region or for Trafalgar School and Selkirk College.”

Mungall’s concerns about the Liberal’s priorities were echoed by fellow Kootenay MLA Norm Macdonald.  Neither had their concerns addressed by Minister Cora Lee Oakes who appeared to be laughing about Mungall and MacDonald’s questions as she responded.

This government has time and again ignored requests from our region to increase investment in education and healthcare, instead they invest in a fake municipality,” says Mungall. “I will continue to stand up for the real priorities of the Kootenays.”

The question period exchange can be viewed here.

                                     JUMBO GLACIER RESORT MUNICIPALITY
 
N. Macdonald: Jumbo resort municipality is a 6,000-hectare wilderness with no people and not one building. The mayor and council have already spent $250,000 of taxpayers’ money, and they have accomplished nothing. And it’s not surprising, since there is no investor, and there has not been an investor for the past decade.
The question is…. We now see that the fake municipality is being potentially funded by taxpayers to the tune of a million dollars over the next five years. We’re asking for money for dialysis in my area. We’re asking for money so that the TransCanada has a highway rescue vehicle. Does the minister not see the absurdity of then giving $1.25 million for a mayor and council of a town with no people, no building and no investors?
 
Hon. C. Oakes: Our government believes that 20 years is long enough and that this project should be going forward, because this side of the House believes in growing the economy. And let me tell you about what this economic piece…. The plan: a $450 million resort will ultimately include 5,500-bed units, and a 104-hectare resort base area. It will provide approximately 3,750 person-years of construction employment and create 750 to 800 permanent, full-time jobs. We believe in jobs. We believe in growing the economy. And this project is good for B.C.
 
Madame Speaker: Columbia River–Revelstoke on a supplemental.
 
N. Macdonald: I mean, like, wow. It blows you away, right?
So you, at some point, need an investor before you get that outcome. I’m sure the minister knows that. All right.
We have real needs. The minister intends to spend a million dollars over the next five years, having wasted $250,000. There are real needs for that money. We’ve asked for dialysis service. No, there’s no provincial money for that. We asked for an abattoir. No provincial money for that. We ask for a rescue truck so that people on the TransCanada who are injured can actually be saved. No money for that. But the minister still seriously says it’s a wise investment to spend a million dollars over the next five years for a mayor and council that has no people, no buildings, and no investor. How does that make sense at all?
 
Hon. C. Oakes: Well, the citizens of British Columbia spoke up, and they said that we pay for these types of items that are so crucial, so important, for people by growing the economy. And let me stand correct. The member opposite was in estimates last week, where they know full well that the $200,000 that was provided, which we provide to all start-up municipalities or provide to infrastructure investment…. Every community of both sides can apply from local government to implement infrastructure pieces, start-up money for its infrastructure.
The $200,000 that the member opposite was talking about is money that all local governments — can put their application for it forward. But let me ask the member opposite: when Whistler was formed, when Sun Peaks was formed…. These are good investments for the province of British Columbia. Tourism is important for the province of British Columbia. And we are committed to growing the economy of British Columbia.
 
M. Mungall: No one in the Kootenays voted for a government to spend $1 million on a fake municipality without a single resident, without a single pub, without a hospital, without a school, without a house. There isn’t even a street there. If she would take the time to drive up there, she would know that.
While this government and the minister seem to be very proud of this, found $1 million for this fake municipality without a single resident, they said that they could not afford $1 million to help victims of the Johnsons Landing mudslide with a buyout program similar to the one offered to North Vancouver residents in 2005. They also said that they have no money to run the CT scanner at Kootenay Lake Hospital 24/7 or literacy programs in the region or for Trafalgar School and Selkirk College. They have money for a fake municipality that is run by the Minister of Energy’s buddies, that is only invested by the Minister of Energy’s buddies…
 
Madame Speaker: Pose your question.
 
M. Mungall: …but they don’t have $1 million for real people in the Kootenays.
To the minister for local government: how do you find $1 million for a fake municipality, but the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education can’t find a cent for the real projects that help real people in the Kootenays?
 
Hon. C. Oakes: Again, I wish the members opposite would listen to the fact during estimates, of which you sat through, that $200,000 was provided for the start-up of the municipality.
Small community grants are available to local governments to assist them in providing services and hiring qualified staff. Grants are based on a formula that factors in the base amount and other information. In 2013 Invermere received $280,402 through this, Radium Hot Springs received $182,758, and Quesnel Flats received $204,679.
But the final thing: in 1975, by an NDP government, Whistler was formed in just the same way.
Madame Speaker, we’re going to grow this economy. We’re going to provide jobs and make sure we can provide the services that are so important to British Columbians across the province of British Columbia.
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Mungall and Karagianis play “Wanna Bet?”

Posted: April 1st, 2014

When the Victoria Cougars travel to Nelson for the Cyclone Taylor Cup in a few days, there will be more on the line besides the claim to B.C. junior hockey supremacy. Esquimalt-Royal Roads MLA Maurine Karagianis has challenged Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall to a friendly wager on the outcome

The Cougars, who won their third-straight Vancouver Island Junior Hockey Championship on Friday night, will compete in the tournament with the Nelson Leafs, the host team, and two others from B.C.

“Today I am challenging my colleague from Nelson-Creston to a friendly bet,” Karagianis said in the Legislature. “Whichever of our teams wins, the losing MLA, with the Speaker’s approval, will sport the opposing team’s jersey in the Legislature and do a two-minute statement admitting defeat and praising the winning team.”

“I accept the bet gladly,” Mungall said. “The Nelson Leafs aren’t just great hosts, they are also an exceptional Junior B team, and I am confident in the outcome.”

Of course, there is always the chance that neither team will win, and the title will go to the champs from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League or the Pacific Junior Hockey League.

“Not going to happen,” Karagianis said.

“Not a chance,” added Mungall.

The Cyclone Taylor Cup runs April 10th through the 13th at the Nelson & District Community Complex.

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Mungall Accuses Government of Gerrymandering

Posted: February 26th, 2014

Nelson – MLA Michelle Mungall did not mince words when speaking to the government about their proposed Electoral Boundaries Commission Amendment Act 2014. Concerned the Liberal government is using the legislation as a tool for gerrymandering, Mungall warned that they were playing “fast and loose with democracy.”

 
Mungall was very clear about her position saying “I want to state unequivocally that I am for rural representation. I believe in democracy, and I oppose gerrymandering. That’s what this government is trying to do with this bill. It is trying to gerrymander electoral boundaries for its own political gain, and there is no way that I will rise and support that.”
“Finding the balance between representation by region and population, a Canadian electoral convention, should be done between the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission and the public without such overt political interference from the government of the day,” says Mungall. “Consequently, we can expect the taxpayers footing the bill for yet another unconstitutional law passed by the Liberals.”
The Liberals have proposed to reserve 17 rural ridings from any changes under the upcoming boundaries redistribution in the Electoral Boundaries Commission Amendment Act. The Bill subverts Canadian law regarding the considerations required in boundary distribution. This law states that a riding cannot be 25% above or below the provincial average without extraordinary circumstances. Decisions about extraordinary circumstances are typically made as a result of public consultation. In subverting the law, this bill also subverts the public engagement process Kootenay residents have used in the past to speak for the importance of rural representation and the retention of four Kootenay ridings.

 

To view the video transcript, CLICK HERE.

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Government Budget Leaves Kootenays Out Says Mungall

Posted: February 20th, 2014

“Lacking vision and in no way responsive to the challenges being faced by Kootenay residents,” was how Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall described the Liberal Government’s 2014 Budget. 

After a 200 day absence the Government returned to the Legislature and, on February 18th, they delivered the BC Budget, setting their priorities for British Columbia.  “It is very disappointing to see a budget that causes families to pay more while they get less” says Mungall. “For example, Kootenay residents will be paying more in MSP premiums, but will see no increase in services.”

Mungall spoke to the Budget during February 20′s debate in the Legislature. To watch the video transcript CLICK HERE.

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Mungall Pays Tribute to Kootenay Lake Nautical History for Heritage Week

Posted: February 17th, 2014

“Part of our past, present and most certainly our future, boats play a defining role in Kootenay Lake’s heritage.” MLA Michelle Mungall conveyed this in a two-minute statement in the Legislature Monday afternoon.

This week is Heritage week here in BC and the evidence of how boats shaped our lives here in the Kootenays is apparent from First Nations’ canoes, to colonists searching for silver and gold, to boasting the longest free ferry in the world.

Mungall made her statement in the afternoon sitting of the House and the video transcript is available HERE.

BOATING HERITAGE IN
KOOTENAY LAKE AREA

M. Mungall: We all have a story or two to tell about how boats have shaped our lives. In the Kootenays boats have played a major role in shaping our modern day, and this Heritage Week we get the opportunity to honour those boats with the theme “Heritage afloat.”

For the Kootenays, first, it was the unique sturgeon-nose canoe distinct to the Ktunaxa and Lakes Nations. For millennia they travelled their traditional territories north and south of the 49th parallel by water, fishing salmon and living off the land. Learn how these boats were made at the Nelson Touchstones museum this Sunday where they are offering workshops for kids of all ages interested in making their own replica of a sturgeon-nose canoe.

Also on display at Touchstones is how change came to the Kootenay Lake waters when the European explorers and voyageurs arrived in the region, often using what is now known around the world as the Canadian canoe.

Not long after they arrived, gold and silver were found, and along came colonists — with them, larger boats. In 1898, the SS Moyie sailed out of the Nelson shipyard to begin her 60-year tour of duty plowing the waters of Kootenay Lake. She had 11 sisters on that lake. Although all have since retired, you can still find the SS Moyie on display in all her finery in Kaslo, while the SS Nasookin is now a home, looking over the water she once treaded.

Today boats continue to play an important role for Kootenay Lake. Whether recreationally or with the longest free ferry ride in the world — which, of course, didn’t come without a fight — travel by water remains a reality in our region. Part of our past, present and most certainly our future, boats play a defining role in Kootenay Lake’s heritage.

 

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MLA Michelle Mungall encouraging you to think beyond the food bank

Posted: December 5th, 2013

Nelson — Tis the season to give. This year, Michelle Mungall’s community office is collecting food in support of a number of service-providers throughout the region. In addition, Mungall is encouraging people to take it a step further this year when they drop off their donation by signing a postcard for a poverty reduction plan.

“This year, my colleagues and I are asking people to think about the effect poverty has on their lives and the lives of their neighbours, friends, and others in the community. Having managed a local food bank, I know the incredibly important work they do in our communities. However, they will be the first to remind us, that the long term solution to poverty needs to come from a government enacted poverty reduction plan. B.C. is one of two provinces in Canada that doesn’t have one,” said Mungall.

“The latest statistics show B.C. has the highest rate of overall poverty and the highest rate of child poverty in Canada, and 32 per cent of children living in poverty have at least one parent who is working full-time all year. This shows that we need a long term strategy to support families in breaking the cycle of poverty,” said Mungall, a longtime advocate for poverty reduction in the Kootenays.

People are invited to make a donation of non-perishable food at Mungall’s community office Monday through Thursday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. until December 19th or at her mobile office at the Creston Library December 13th.

Also, everyone is invited to join Michelle to celebrate the Holiday Season at her community events. All are welcome for hot chocolate at the Creston Rec Centre December 7th from 2-4pm and at her Annual Holiday Lunch at Our Daily Bread, December 17th 11am – 1pm.

For further details please contact Michelle’s Community Office: 

204-402 Baker St., Nelson — 1-877-388-4498

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Mungall Celebrates Volunteers Fighting Hunger in Nelson

Posted: October 15th, 2013

Nelson – In advance of World Food Day on October 16, MLA Michelle visited social service providers throughout Nelson to support and celebrate the many volunteers fighting hunger in the community.

World Food Day has been observed every October since 1981 with goal of raising awareness of hunger and poverty.  Mungall visited and worked with volunteers at the Nelson Food Cupboard, Our Daily Bread, The Salvation Army and the Friendship Outreach Clubhouse. 

“The amount of time and energy that volunteers put into preparing food in this community is truly inspiring” says Mungall “Many people view hunger as something that happens elsewhere in the world, but in reality there is a large group of volunteers right here in Nelson that work every day to ensure that everyone in our community has access to the food they need to live.”

The issues surrounding hunger and poverty are ones very familiar to Mungall who managed the Nelson Food Cupboard ten years ago.  Since June, Mungall has been serving as Opposition Critic for Social Development and has been meeting with advocacy groups and social service providers in the Kootenays, Okanagan, and the Lower Mainland.

“Everywhere I have been as Social Development Critic, I have heard that the Government is not doing enough to support our province’s most vulnerable citizens” says Mungall.  “The work that volunteers are doing is admirable, and it’s time government took their lead. This province needs to join the eight other provinces who have a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.”

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Mungall Continues to Push for Johnson’s Landing Compensation

Posted: July 31st, 2013

Nelson – In the final week of the BC Legislature’s Summer Session MLA Michelle Mungall continued to pressure Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton to work with residents of Johnson’s Landing on a plan for fair compensation for homes at risk of further slides.

“I met with the Minister to ensure she understood the difficulties that Johnson’s Landing is facing in recovering from last year’s disaster,” says Mungall. “The government programs that were applied are not sufficient in this situation, this requires direct ministerial involvement. The premier committed to supporting this community in their recovery, and more needs to be done to meet that commitment.”

Eleven properties in Johnsons’s Landing have been on permanent evacuation since last July when a landslide tore through their community on the North end of Kooteanay Lake.  Some residents have been able to access partial compensation for homes destroyed in the slide, but many feel that they have been abandoned by the government. There are examples of residents who are still required to pay tax on property that is too dangerous to set foot on.  In a similar situation in 2005 the provincial government funded a complete property buyout when a landslide struck homes in North Vancouver.

In a one on one meeting with the minister, Mungall laid out the struggles and frustrations that the community was facing. Following the meeting Mungall noted that that government was still unresponsive, but hoped the minister would make the right decision, and that she would continue to pressure her to do so.  

“This is an extraordinary situation that the residents of Johnson’s Landing are facing, and it requires an extra ordinary response,” says Mungall. “The Minister needs to step in, do the right thing and work with Johnsons Landing survivors on a buy-out plan.”

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