I just got back from my first major tour of BC’s Northern communities as a leadership candidate.
As CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce I was a regular visitor to communities like Prince Rupert, Prince George, Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. John, and Fort Nelson. I’ve gotten to know the main streets, the people, and the issues. (I can also provide recommendations around the best places for coffee, craft beer, and killer food – Down to Earth in Fort Nelson is a must-visit if you ask me!)
At the BC Chamber, my job was to be the voice of businesses big and small across the province. We helped shaped policy at the provincial and federal level on behalf of our members.
When it comes to BC’s North, one theme keeps coming up again and again. I worked on it when I was CEO of the BC Chamber and I hope to continue this work in the BC Legislature.
The North is a powerhouse part of what has driven BC’s prosperity and GDP. It has created opportunity for generations of British Columbians.
But it is time for the North to get a new deal.
For too long, revenues have been flowing out of these communities. We need to see more revenue flowing back in.
Post-COVID, my vision for British Columbia is a province that is truly distributed in terms of its economic growth, its social and economic opportunity, its vibrant and inclusive communities.
No matter where you call home in the BC of my future, you should know you that you are in a community that is well-resourced, that has the right social supports, that has the right amenities and infrastructure.
This is key to creating a virtuous cycle of opportunity in BC’s Northern communities and across our entire province.
Our issues, challenges, and possibilities are all interconnected. Let’s be deliberate and strategic about deepening these connections. From how we plan our communities and manage the distribution of population growth, to how we position ourselves for prosperity in the emerging economy, it’s the responsibility of our provincial government to lead with clear vision.
As I reflect on my recent visit, I want to say to the North: Thank you for all you’ve done for generations.
Thank you for the time you’ve been spending with me and the conversations we’ve had. If I win this race as leader of the BC Liberal Party, the North will be a very big part of the future I see in this province. In many ways, the North and rural British Columbia hold the keys to our future. Our successful, inclusive, and prosperous future.
I look forward to discussing this more soon.
But for now, thank you to the North!