I wish to extend to North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice an apology and to retract comments I made regarding her vote in the legislature about the deal between the Province of B.C. and Pacific NorthWest LNG.
Prior to the actual vote, I wrote an opinion column based on the assumption that MLA Rice would be joining her party, keeping her pledge to constituents and following up on her comments to the Northern View and in the legislature that she would not support the deal and would cast a nay vote.
In deed and in fact, MLA Rice did not cast a vote.
For my comments that MLA Rice would take time out of her busy schedule to cast a vote on behalf of the North Coast constituents who elected her, I was wrong and I apologize.
Obviously, it was a regrettable and stupid assumption on my part that our MLA would show up in the legislature to cast a vote, positively or negatively, on an issue with generational impact — her words, not mine — on our community.
Given the fact that Rice did not vote, I also fully retract the following comments made in the column.
“The consternation surrounding Rice’s vote to oppose the project is surprising and, frankly, unfair. Rice is doing exactly what she said she would do.”
To be clear, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice did not cast a final vote to oppose the project, therefore my comments that her vote was not surprising and that the public consternation was unfair would be incorrect. Further, my assertion that MLA Rice would live up to her promises and do what she said she would do is also incorrect.
So why did MLA Rice not cast a vote?
It is understandable that difficult decisions need to be made as an MLA.
According to an e-mail to The Northern View by MLA Rice, she stated she had to make a tough decision due to a scheduling conflict.
Her options were:
Attend the Legislative Assembly to represent her constituents in the democratic decision-making process over a $30 billion-plus project in her riding that will have seminal social, economic and environmental impacts for generations to come or; attend an annual general assembly for a small community.
MLA Rice mulled over all the factors and decided the generational vote about the North Coast was of less importance than an annual assembly, so she left Victoria and went to River’s Inlet.
Given MLA Rice’s track record, how stupid of me to think she would have come to any other decision.