Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Do MLAs Do In The Summer?

Without fail, somewhere in mid-summer a local radio station asks people how they feel about the fact that MLA’s get paid throughout the summer when the legislature isn’t in session.  Inevitably, callers are opposed to the idea of MLAs being paid and there’s a long list of callers who have taken the host’s bait to get all riled up yet again. 

If MLA’s only worked when they were in Victoria, then I’d be opposed to them being paid all year round, too.  However, I know that the bulk of their work happens in and through their constituency offices all across the province, all year round.  
Each MLA represents approximately 60,000 people.  In densely populated regions like Metro Vancouver, some MLA’s could quite literally walk around their entire riding in an afternoon.  Others require a full day to drive across their ridings. In those cases, work-related travel alone takes up an enormous amount of time and energy. 

In broad terms, there are several aspects to the work of a member of the Legislative Assembly.  The largest part is in the area of advocacy.  If you’ve ever tried to navigate through government bureaucracy, you’ll appreciate how difficult this can be.  MLAs work with community groups, as well.  MLA’s meet with business groups, local government, special interest groups, and others in order to support and help members of their community who are working together to enhance their community and region.

Another part of their work is with committees.  Committee work happens year round and is an extension of what happens in the legislature.  Committees hear presentations from people across the province, which requires days and evenings of meetings and, at times, long travel days, as well. This work forms the basis of government policy and legislation so it’s important that it’s done well.

Public relations is the third part of what MLA’s do when the legislature isn’t in session.  PR is everything from attending large community events (Canada Day, Remembrance Day and BC Day, for example) to the openings of businesses and offices, as well as government announcements and community fundraisers,.  There’s always an event for a politician to go to.

An MLAs work is endless and that’s why it’s important that we continue to pray for them as they serve our province, even when the legislature isn’t sitting.
Coming Up Next Week:  What do YOU do in the Summer?

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