By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

Dissatisfied taxpayers in the East Kootenay havent relented in their fight against the regional road maintenance contractors.

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting is responsible for keeping highways safe to drive upon, which has proven to be a challenge in recent winter months.

Those involved with the Taking Back East Kootenay Highways Facebook group, which has nearly 1,900 members, believe that the solution is for the public sector to reassume responsibility of highway maintenance in the East Kootenay, as well as increase the minimum standards for winter highway service. To send their message to Victoria, the group has been collecting signatures with an online petition, which will be presented in the B.C. Legislature by Norm Macdonald, MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke.

But because the message is being relayed through electronic means, Mr. Macdonald doesnt have much faith in its effect, as B.C.s Legislative Assembly doesnt currently have an official mechanism to officially register online or electronic petitions. Mr. Macdonald will have the option to present a physical print of the petition before Parliament, however.

I intend to bring forward this petition in paper form if it is given to me, Mr. Macdonald said.

To give electronic petitions as much consideration as physical petitions, the NDP tabled a Private Members Bill in November to allow all of them to be formally tabled in the Legislature.

But unfortunately, the BC Liberals never allow Private Members Bills put forward by opposition members to be debated, Mr. Macdonald said. As a result, they never become law.

I believe that one simple change to improve democracy would be to require all private members bills, regardless of who puts them forward, to at least have a chance at second reading debate.