Nisga'a Nation musicians enter the B.C. legislature for swearing-in ceremony of MLAs Melanie Mark and Jodie Wickens Wednesday.

Nisga’a ceremony greets new MLAs

B.C. legislature now 36 per cent women, the highest level of representation in the history of Canadian legislatures

The staid rules of the B.C. legislature were relaxed Wednesday for a ceremony where Nisga’a Nation musicians welcomed the first female First Nations person to serve as an MLA.

Elected to represent Vancouver-Mount Pleasant Melanie Mark is the third Nisga’a member to be elected to the B.C. legislature, after Frank Calder in 1949 and Larry Guno in 1986. She won a by-election for the NDP on Feb. 2 and was sworn in along with Jodie Wickens in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, who becomes the youngest member of the current legislature.

Current MLAs Carole James and Marc Dalton are of Métis heritage.

Cameras and smartphones clicked in the usually restricted public gallery as legislature clerk Craig James administered the oath of office to what he noted were the 915th and 916th MLAs to serve since B.C. joined confederation in 1871.

James drew sustained applause when he said the 85-seat legislature is now 38 per cent female, “the highest level of representation to ever sit in a Canadian legislature.”

Deputy clerk Kate Ryan Lloyd described the first election in B.C., after which 25 MLAs were sworn in by Judge Matthew Begbie after a vote with no organized parties and no secret ballot.

“In many electoral districts, a simple show of hands or an open book recording the polls sufficed,” Ryan-Lloyd said.

“At that time there were only 3,000 registered voters in the province of British Columbia, who qualified by being white male British subjects who had met certain property and residency requirements.”

James reminded the new MLAs they are two of 85, representing a population of 4.6 million people.

“Together your presence is a demonstration of how the legislature continues to evolve in reflecting the diversity of our province,” he said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Northwest Regional Airport says ridership extremely low amid COVID-19

The airport has enacted enhanced sanitary measures and reduced flights

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read