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Bikman weighs in on spring session

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Taber Times

The conclusion of the spring session of the legislature came earlier this month, and Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Gary Bikman is readying himself for a summer of constituency work.

“I’ll be doing some work in the constituency. We’re all feeling like a load has been lifted, and we’re just getting ready to transfer to a different load.”

The spring session saw the provincial government reform proposed legislation that would have impacted municipalities.

“There were some appropriate steps taken, the government seemed to be more inclined to listen a little bit,” said Bikman. “They backed off on some things that they were hastily pushing through. Wildrose in particular emailed out to every municipal district, county, town, village and city the changes that they were proposing that would have forced some things on the various local jurisdictions, and then they backed off. They did some consultations, and then came back with the changes that we were proposing in the first place.”

In order to be effective, the people need to have the ability to consult on legislation that impacts them directly, according to Bikman.

“It was ill-conceived and hastily proposed, and again — no stakeholder engagement. It’s just a truth of human nature that people need to feel like they have say in the decisions that affect them. The more the government operates from a central planning mode — we know best — the more irritated, upset and dissatisfied the affected sectors become. And then they rise up and shout and say no, stop it, that’s not fair. But they try and push this stuff through, and debate it into the night, we’re going to pass this by tomorrow morning if we have to stay here all night.”

Bikman is giving all high school grads in the constituency a copy of a book he has found personally impactful.

“It’s going to be a busy summer. Of course we’ve got all the high school graduations. I attend as many of them as I’m invited to. This year, I’ve committed to giving every graduate in our constituency a copy of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I think the kids should have that.”

Bikman will be following the PC leadership race with interest, and outlined what he considers a systemic problem with the current provincial government, one that cannot be blamed solely on the former premier.

“It’ll be an interesting summer, too. The papers I’m sure will be filled with stories about the PC leadership race. The PCs, of course, want to say that all of their problems were due to the previous premier, when our opinion based on observation and experience, is that she was merely the face of the problem, like the tip of the iceberg.”

Allegations of corruption at the very highest levels have stained the reputation of the current government, and driven its once-high popularity levels to new lows, according to Bikman.

“The problem itself is very deep and entrenched — entitlement, and there’s some areas of corruption, quite candidly, that I’m embarrassed to say have gone on, where influence has almost been peddled. If you want to get your grant approved, well you’d better buy ticket to the premier’s dinner, that kind of stuff. And of course, that was exposed prior to the last election, and I’m surprised people didn’t react more strongly to it, because it was a big issue. And things like the ‘no-meet’ committee that were a scandal, exposed in 2012. We’ve moved beyond those things. So having an strong, effective opposition has really forced the government to re-evaluate.”

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