Fall sitting starts for B.C. legislature with four official parties

Legislature back to work

British Columbia politicians are back in the legislature for the fall session, and the seating arrangement looks a little different.

The Conservative Party of B.C. now has official party status, complete with a nearly $400,000 annual budget, after former BC United MLA Bruce Banman crossed the floor last month to join John Rustad.

The Office of the Clerk has said it appears to be the first time four parties will be represented in B.C.’s legislature with “official status,” but not the only time four parties have had MLAs in the legislature.

Housing will be a key focus this session, with government house leader and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon promising new legislation to address permitting and zoning challenges, strengthen enforcement of short-term rentals and deliver more small-scale, multi-unit housing.

Premier David Eby said last month that his New Democrat government would also bring in new rules this fall allowing secondary and basement suites in every community in the province.

The government says other legislation on the way will improve emergency management, support victims of crime and update international credentialing.

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