As parents we will likely never forget the occasion of a first born son or daughter; it is truly an experience that words can seldom do justice to describe. The first few weeks of a new child in the home can be very daunting and one of the challenges that I am often asked about is the birth registration process.
Fortunately beginning on August 1 there will be a new and much easier way to create a permanent legal record of birth courtesy of a new online birth registration system. The new online registry process is expected to take roughly 20 minutes to complete and is free of charge for applications received within the first 30 days.
For further information on this subject please visit the www.gov.bc.ca website or contact BC vital stats toll free at 1 888 876 1633
On a different subject, some of you may be aware that the auditor general recently released a report that was highly critical of the financial transparency reporting practices of the legislative assembly.
This has been an ongoing challenge over the past years and one that I take very seriously. Although there are a number of differing reasons that have led to the current challenges, as chair of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC) ultimately we have a responsibility to correct these problems and to do so as expediently as possible.
To that end we have engaged the services of a former BC Auditor General and an independent accounting firm to assist with these efforts. It should also be noted that as we work to provide more information online, information regarding travel expenses is currently available at this website.
There is also further information available on MLA allowances that can be located at this website.
As more information becomes available it will also be posted online and for those of you who do not have internet access this information can be provided to you from my office. The current accounting practices for the legislative precinct have not substantially changed for many decades and clearly this is something that the Legislative Assembly Management Committee will work to rectify and we are meeting this week to further discuss.
On a related theme, last week the provincial budget fiscal year end report was released. The good news for the 2011 fiscal period is that B.C. economy grew by 2.9 per cent – this was better than the Canadian average and in fact was the third leading growth rate in Canada.
This increased economic growth rate helped to increase government revenues by just over $1 Billion, which is fortunate given that spending was also some $926 million above the budget forecast, primarily due to the HST repayment.
As the BC Government remains in a deficit budget position for this year, all members of cabinet will receive a 10 per cent decrease in pay as set out by the Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act. B.C. remain on track for a balanced budget in the 2013-2014 budget year.
Before I close this week I would like to pass on a sincere thank you to the many volunteers who participated in the “Rock the Peach” concert event in Penticton over this past weekend. It is exciting to see young and not so young gather to enjoy live music and support our local economy in the same process.