As British Columbians prepare to flip to a new calendar year, Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA, Doug Clovechok, reflected on his years’ worth of work in the Legislative Assembly, which included being appointed caucus whip.
“Put it this way, there’s never a dull moment in my job,” said Clovechok.
The Legislative Assembly concluded their final session of the year at the end of November. With 2022 now in the rearview mirror, residents of Revelstoke and across the province are taking a moment to take stock of the year that has passed and look ahead to the year to come. Minister Clovechok is content with the work he and the BC Liberal Party have achieved, but has his sights set on the work to come, including his role as caucus whip.
First, what is a caucus whip? Being the caucus whip makes Clovechok a member of the caucus’ leadership team. A party whip is similar in many ways to a literal whip, without the physical harm. He described his new role simply.
“I jokingly say I’m the caucus cop, because my job is to make sure that everybody is where they should be, and everybody’s doing what they should be,” said Clovechok.
With a crack of the metaphorical whip, Clovechok ensures party representatives go.
In a hectic assembly session, there can be several “houses” open at once, all debating different things. Clovechok’s role is to ensure that the relevant members of the party are in the right place at the right time with the right documents.
As whip, Clovechok is also responsible for party discipline. When members step out of line, whether in the media, with each other, or with opposing parties, Clovechok works to make sure they are held accountable.
With another crack of his metaphorical whip, Clovechok ensures party representatives stop.
As a member of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Clovechok said his party’s role is to hold the government to account. The mandate – like most jobs – comes with frustrations. Clovechok recounted one of the challenges in the assembly’s last session.
“We debated a health bill that will have significant impact on the processes around doctors and colleges specifically,” said Clovechok.
Clovechok said the bill had more than 600 clauses that the opposition would typically debate. Instead, he said, the government forced closure on the bill after debating on less than 200 of them.
“Our health critic was incredibly frustrated, because when you force closure on a bill, what that does is it preempts the democratic process,” said Clovechok.
Despite the irritation, Clovechok said he continued to work on several issues that affected Revelstokians, including the Illecillewaet log jam at Box Canyon, working with former Minister of Forests, Katrine Conroy, with issues surrounding the logging of old-growth, and fuel affordability.
“Working still frustratingly so – and I know that Revelstokians are just totally ticked right off and as I am as well – about gas prices in Revelstoke,” said Clovechok.
He said of the gas prices that he couldn’t get a straight answer from the government or the BC Utilities Commission as to why prices remain so much higher.
The Year to Come
When Clovechok looks to the year ahead, he said the main focus will be affordability.
“I go to a job interview every four years,” joked Clovechok, adding that he prioritizes his constituents over his party. Clovechok said he’s well-aware that the past year has forced members of the community to make hard economic decisions.
From the price of gas, to groceries, to rent, Clovechok said that he knows how hard it’s been for Revelstokians and other B.C. residents, and he wants to strive for more affordability in 2023.
Clovechok also aims to continue to work with members of the government to help his consituents.
“It’s like anything in life is if you have a good relationship with somebody, they’re going to help you out,” said Clovechok.
The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia returns to Victoria to start their next session in February.