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BC United condemns NDP’s closure of Bill 21 debate, vows repeal

VICTORIA (May 15, 2024) – In response to the NDP government’s move to invoke closure on the debate of Bill 21, the Legal Professions Act 2024, BC United Leader Kevin Falcon and Shadow Minister for Attorney General, Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara, have issued the following joint statement:

“David Eby’s move to shut down debate on Bill 21 is a blatant disregard for the democratic process and an insult to every British Columbian who values the independence of our legal system. This bill, which will strip lawyers of their self-regulation, represents a profound change to the independence of our legal system, yet the NDP is determined to push it through without proper legislative scrutiny.

“The use of closure to silence the voices of opposition and concerned British Columbians has become a regular tactic for this government, reminiscent of their approach with Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act, which they also rammed through the legislature with over 400 clauses still left to be examined. This tactic denies the essential checks and balances needed in our legislative process and undermines the principles of transparency and accountability, with the government passing major parts of legislation without fielding questions from the Official Opposition.

“Out of the 317 clauses in the bill, only 30 were able to be debated in the Legislature. BC United was the only Caucus to vote against Bill 21 — BC Conservative Party and Green Party MLAs did not show up for the vote.

“As the Official Opposition, BC United has consistently advocated for a thoughtful, inclusive and broader consultation process for Bill 21. It’s critical that such a significant piece of legislation, which dramatically alters the governance of our legal profession and undermines the independence of the legal profession and the courts, is thoroughly debated and not rushed through the Legislature.

“By shutting down debate, David Eby and the NDP have not only shown their disdain for the legal community but also their repeated pattern of dodging accountability.

“Let’s be crystal clear: A BC United government will repeal this deeply flawed legislation.”

This week, the NDP also imposed time allocation on Bill 26, the Name Amendment Act (No. 2), 2024, and Bill 27, the Municipalities Enabling and Validating (No. 5) Amendment Act, 2024, further highlighting their routine avoidance of comprehensive legislative scrutiny with only four sitting days left in the legislative calendar.

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