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Petition launched to recall northern B.C. MLA Dan Davies

Cecil Lake resident says concerns of constituents going ignored but Davies says he's staying engaged with thousands in the riding
Peace River North MLA Dan Davies

An effort is underway to recall Dan Davies as the local MLA for Peace River North.

In a news release, Elections BC says a petition application from Joseph Wayne Bell of Cecil Lake has met the requirements of the Recall and Initiative Act.

"Under the Recall and Initiative Act, any registered voter in British Columbia can apply to have a recall petition issued for their electoral district," says Elections BC. "They must submit an application form, a $50 processing fee, and a statement of 200 words or less on why they feel the Member should be recalled."

In his application, Bell says Davies has “often failed to notify constituents" and been "visibly absent" when invited to meetings to discuss a range of matters including school curriculum, UNDRIP, Bill 36, and a reduction of heath care workers and services, among others.

"When approached individually by constituents or small groups again no follow up or a form letter was used," said Bell. "His choosing to ignore their concerns in such matters often allowed the passing of, or changes to Legislation detrimental to the Constituents in his riding therefore allowing them to have no input."

First elected in 2017, Davies is a former Fort St. John city councillor and elementary school teacher. He is currently the provincial Opposition critic for social development and poverty reduction, and was appointed last year to provincial committees reviewing the opioid epidemic and police reform in B.C.

Responding to the petition, Davies acknowledged it’s part of the democratic system but says he remains focused on the broad range of responsibilities he's been tasked with as the local MLA.

“My focus is continuing to represent the important issues that are facing 40,000 residents that I represent in the riding,” said Davies. “Number one is our jobs, our resource sector, our economy, and ensuring our voice is heard. We’re advocating for the best healthcare we can have. We know that’s in shambles.”

Davies says his party is “completely opposed” to matters such as Bill 36, which brings sweeping changes to how health professionals are regulated, and held town halls on important matters like the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed and adopted into B.C. legislation in 2019.

“The NDP right now are ruling with a very strong majority and do what they want,” he said. “That’s a big challenge and I wonder, does everybody understand that?”

Davies says he communicates to the public regularly through social media, local media, community mail outs, and news columns.

“I’m often on the talk shows, whether it’s CBC or Moose Talks, talking about issues,” he said. "We’re trying our level best to get the information out to people that need it."

The provincial legislature resumes sitting Feb. 6, meaning Davies will spend the rest of winter and most of spring in Victoria for government business until the middle of May.

“I’m going to have to be doing Saturday meetings in my office and trying to work in community events, as well as spend time with my children for the 30 hours that I’m going to be home per week," he says. "It is challenging and I’m not complaining. I know what I signed up for. I engage with thousands of people in the riding.”

He expects a busy legislative session with affordability, healthcare, housing, and the economy to dominate the debates in the house. He says he’ll also continue to the push for a Northern Health audit, a new Taylor Bridge, and the needs of the resource sector.

“I’ve got 40,000 residents I represent in Victoria. They all have diverse opinions,” he said. “I need to obviously listen to everybody, look at what is best for the region, and chart my course from there.”

Elections BC says canvassers must collect signatures from 10,487 eligible voters between Feb. 3 and April 4 for the petition to be successful.

If the petition succeeds, Elections BC says Davies' seat will become vacant and a byelection called within 90 days. Davies could run as a candidate if such a vote was held.