Nisga'a Nation musicians enter the B.C. legislature for swearing-in ceremony of MLAs Melanie Mark and Jodie Wickens Wednesday.

Nisga’a ceremony greets new MLAs

B.C. legislature now 36 per cent women, the highest level of representation in the history of Canadian legislatures

The staid rules of the B.C. legislature were relaxed Wednesday for a ceremony where Nisga’a Nation musicians welcomed the first female First Nations person to serve as an MLA.

Elected to represent Vancouver-Mount Pleasant Melanie Mark is the third Nisga’a member to be elected to the B.C. legislature, after Frank Calder in 1949 and Larry Guno in 1986. She won a by-election for the NDP on Feb. 2 and was sworn in along with Jodie Wickens in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, who becomes the youngest member of the current legislature.

Current MLAs Carole James and Marc Dalton are of Métis heritage.

Cameras and smartphones clicked in the usually restricted public gallery as legislature clerk Craig James administered the oath of office to what he noted were the 915th and 916th MLAs to serve since B.C. joined confederation in 1871.

James drew sustained applause when he said the 85-seat legislature is now 38 per cent female, “the highest level of representation to ever sit in a Canadian legislature.”

Deputy clerk Kate Ryan Lloyd described the first election in B.C., after which 25 MLAs were sworn in by Judge Matthew Begbie after a vote with no organized parties and no secret ballot.

“In many electoral districts, a simple show of hands or an open book recording the polls sufficed,” Ryan-Lloyd said.

“At that time there were only 3,000 registered voters in the province of British Columbia, who qualified by being white male British subjects who had met certain property and residency requirements.”

James reminded the new MLAs they are two of 85, representing a population of 4.6 million people.

“Together your presence is a demonstration of how the legislature continues to evolve in reflecting the diversity of our province,” he said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Severe storm warning remains in effect for the Kootenays

Two special weather statements have been issued for the West Kootenay

Update: Suspect in Montrose gas station stabbing new to the area

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

Most Read