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.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Tofino celebrates annual Easter Egg Hunt

Ucluelet’s event scheduled for Big Beach on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Surf Canada Nationals coming to Wick Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“We have a really good thing going here with Surf Canada.”

Cleanup event helps Tofino’s shorebird habitats

“These birds shouldn’t be using plastic and marine debris to build their nests.”

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read