As COVID goes, swearing-in ceremonies for MLAs in B.C. looked different this year.
John Rustad, elected as the B.C. Liberal for the Nechako Lakes riding on Oct. 24, marking a fifth straight electoral win, was sworn in virtually with a specific ceremony Nov. 26 and a second, along with the other B.C. Liberal MLAs, the next day.
“It was kinda surreal. As this is my fifth time doing this, you usually are in the legislature and have your family down there. There is the added weight of the fact that you are working in this historic building. It was so different this year, as it was held virtually. But the sense of pride and honour of representing the people and being sworn-in, is all there,” Rustad said.
Over his next terms, the MLA said he wants to produce four reports including – a ‘path forward’ for the forest sector; renewal of the commitment between property owners, province and the agricultural sector on ALR land; a ‘path forward’ for addressing title for Indigenous people; and taxation reform.
Those tasks fit in with Rustad being named the B.C. Liberal critic for forests, lands and natural resources, a role that he had in the last legislature.
It also recognizes Rustad’s previous experience in B.C. Liberal governments as a parliamentary secretary to the forests minister and then as the forests, lands and natural resources minister.
In his critic’s role, Rustad will focus on the activities of two ministers in the NDP government, forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development minister Katrina Conroy and junior minister Nathan Cullen. Cullen, the NDP MLA for Stikine, has been given the job of carving away the lands and natural resources portion of the ministry so that forests will be treated as a separate ministerial entity.