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Legislature could resume in June, will look different than before pandemic, says premier

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated May 20, 2020 at 2:48 pm PDT

FILE - Premier John Horgan announced $5 million for virtual mental health during the pandemic on Thursday, April 9, 2020. (Courtesy John Horgan, Twitter)
Summary

John Horgan expects business in the legislature to resume June 15 or 22

The legislature will look different for debates and question period, Horgan added

'There seems to be an awful lot of television screens going up in places where there never used to be any': premier

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Premier John Horgan may wear a non-medical mask when business restarts in the B.C. legislature, possibly in June.

“I’ll certainly be wearing a mask if I can’t physical distance, and I encourage all other British Columbians to do the same thing,” he said during a general briefing Wednesday.

“I rather expect if you’re hopping on the train or catching a bus, whether that be B.C. Transit bus in Prince George or Victoria, or a TransLink bus in the Lower Mainland, you’re seeing an increasing number of people who are wearing masks and other PPEs as they move around our urban centers, and that’s a personal decision.”

Doing so is now an official recommendation of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam.

Horgan also said he expects business in the legislature to resume June 15 or 22, and that it will look much different than before the pandemic.

“You can expect to see us back here either the 15th or 22nd of June, and we’ll be focused on getting the budget passed, getting the estimates process completed and a number of pieces of legislation we are required to keep our agenda moving forward,” he added.

Work has been underway to ensure everyone can follow the physical distancing principles.

The legislature will look different for debates and question period, Horgan added.

“We’re going to be using more technology, we’re going to be using multiple rooms within the legislature so that we can keep MLAs at a distance.”

He also said technology will be used to, perhaps, allow members to stay in their community and vote remotely at certain times during the day, rather than assemble them all for the end of the day.

“It’s going to be new, it’s going to be innovative, and it’s going to be a challenge,” Horgan said.

“For those who’ve been milling about the legislature periodically, there seems to be an awful lot of television screens going up in places where there never used to be any. I suspect we’re going to see lots of Hollywood Squares or Brady Bunch type images of multiple MLAs that are in different parts of the legislature, different parts of the province, participating in the dynamics of British Columbia. It’s going to be an innovative time, it’s going to be a challenging time, I think it’ll be an exciting time.”