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New year -- old tricks


2022 was a big year.


The year started thinking about COVID and the new variant Omicron, but ended on a much different note with concerns of inflation, high cost of living and housing, all while our healthcare system is crumbling.


So what does 2023 hold for us in the Okanagan?


First off, expect minimal to no improvement in our healthcare system.


With Health Minister Dix remaining in his role, expect more of the same.


More difficult stories about outcomes that could have been different. Cancer care will continue to have long waits and delayed procedures.


None of the changes made to date will result in any monumental improvement to outcomes.


Small tweaks to a system that is imploding.


This is not acceptable.


Radical change is needed to fix healthcare and we are not going to get it in 2023.


Is there more general stability coming?


This last year was a very volatile.


Interest rates that weren't supposed to go up — did.


The cost of living continued to skyrocket, inflation continued to escalate; and housing prices seemed completely out of reach.


Unfortunately, I think that there is more to come in 2023.


Interest rates don't look like they are going to stabilize anytime soon and that means rental rates will go up to accommodate, and the cost of living and housing will continue to rise.


But what about affordable housing?


BC Housing is in complete chaos.


Fired board, over 100 executives left (including their CEO) and the organization is now in a full audit.


There have been two other audits performed recently — so I'm not sure what more they need to find.


Suffice to say, the David Eby led NDP have not been successful at delivering less expensive housing with BC Housing or running an efficient organization.


I don't expect this to change in 2023.


Will there be any relief from this NDP government?


Perhaps in ICBC rates, but gird yourself for the ricochet in year three as this lever comes off and ICBC needs to make up for their losses.


Sadly Premier Eby and his government don’t plan out their decisions, preferring instead to flip-flop when it’s clear they messed up.


The flip flop on autism funding is an example of a reversed decision made under this government.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they listened to the opposition and to parents, but this decision to abandon the current system of funding was not consulted on or well thought out and should not have been made in the first place.


So can we expect any real change in that approach 2023? Probably not.


There is hope in 2023 because, as I mentioned previously, the role of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is to continue to draw attention to where policy and government action could be better, and the path to get there.


So in 2023, I will continue to work on those things that are important to you those next year and my colleagues and I will be your voice in Victoria.


My question to you is this:


What would you like to me to focus on in 2023?


I love to hear from you!


Email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call my office at 250-712-3620.

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