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

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

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read