NDP MLA Gwen O’Mahony asked her first question in Question Period last week — about a mobile home park in Abbotsford, which is outside her Chilliwack-Hope riding.
But the MLA, who won an upset victory here over the BC Liberal candidate in an April 19 byelection, said the question wasn’t “technically” her first in the B.C. Legislature.
And the issue of seniors being evicted from mobile home parks is part of a “broader” issue the NDP opposition is focusing on at the moment, she said.
Opposition parties routinely prioritize QP questions for maximum effect.
“We have a number of mobile home parks in the Chilliwack area as well,” O’Mahony pointed out.
The MLA said her first question to the government was actually about funding for a dialysis clinic in Chilliwack during an earlier budget estimates session.
The demand for a dialysis clinic in Chilliwack became an issue in the byelection after patients complained about hazardous driving to a clinic located at the Abbotsford hospital during a heavy snowstorm in January.
O’Mahony said the BC Liberal government is still insisting it’s a transportation issue, rather than an increased demand that requires construction of an additional dialysis clinic.
The new MLA, a former health advocate at a home for adults with developmental disabilities, said although she is “passionate” about the seniors issue, she is keeping in touch with riding issues like the rehab unit closure at Chilliwack General Hospital and Tycrop expansion plans using property in the agricultural land reserve.
“I was thrilled to be standing up seniors,” O’Mahony said, about her debut in Question Period.
“But it’s not called Answer Period,” she pointed out, as few questions are directly answered by the government.
O’Mahony will be opening a constituency office in Chilliwack this week at her former byelection campaign office, and plans to establish a “mobile” office to give folks in rural parts of the riding a chance for face-to-face meetings with their MLA.
“Availability is the key thing,” said O’Mahony, who has barely a year to prove herself to this traditionally conservative riding before the next provincial election in May, 2013.