Longtime Cariboo politician Donna Barnett, 78, served the region as a volunteer for the Socred Cariboo Association, 100 Mile House mayor and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA through her 48-year career. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Longtime Cariboo politician Donna Barnett, 78, served the region as a volunteer for the Socred Cariboo Association, 100 Mile House mayor and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA through her 48-year career. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

This is our Hometown: Politics for the people, Donna Barnett

Former Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett has devoted decades to politics locally, provincially

Throughout her time as Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal MLA Donna Barnett strived to represent the people, not the government.

“That’s who you have to remember,” she said as she cleaned out her office in Williams Lake on Friday, Oct. 30. “Everybody who walks through the door is a constituent. I always looked at it this way — I want everyone of those people, just as if I had a business, to come through my door again.”

Barnett’s political career has ended, ‘for now,’ she said.

“Who knows what your future will bring? Who knows what your health will be like? At 78 years old anything can happen.”

Her first experience with politics was with the Socred Cariboo Association beginning in 1972.

“I was a volunteer for Alex Fraser for all those years. He was a great mentor.”

In 1986 she was elected mayor of 100 Miles House and left in 1990 until she’d ‘had enough.’

“I did a lot of work. I did boundary expansion as the industrial area wasn’t part of the town. It was amazing what we accomplished.”

Six years later the community pestered her to run again.

She was elected in 1996 and stayed on as mayor until 2008.

“I’d had enough of politics and then got talked into running for MLA.”

Read more:VIDEO: Hopelessness in wildfire losses: MLA Barnett

Reflecting on her 11 years as MLA Barnett said she most enjoyed working with the people in the riding with one of the biggest issues being land use.

“Reconciliation, the treaty process and those types of things have been on the table for some time and the government has to become more transparent. The only way we are going to have reconciliation work is if everybody is at the table, not just politicians. People want to know what is going on.”

Nobody is denying reconciliation has to be done, she added.

“It has to be done. You are never going to have harmony and work together by doing something in isolation. We are all here for the same reason so we all need to be part of the process.”

The Cariboo Chilcotin is a complete resource region with forestry, agriculture and mining and Barnett said she wishes people living in the Lower Mainland would understand their wealth comes from resource communities.

“When you cross the Port Mann bridge, what’s the first thing you see? You see logs, ore, agriculture products all being loaded on and off the water.”

Eyeing retirement, Barnett sold her home at Horse Lake last April and purchased a modular home in a seniors trailer complex in 100 Mile House. She’d planned on travelling in 2021 after the originally scheduled election, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic her plans have been put on hold.

“I am very concerned about other seniors in the winter. We’ve already locked them up for nine months and there has been no family planning put together which should have been done.”

The mental health and the heartache is her biggest worry, she added.

Read more: Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Barnett will not run in 2021 B.C. election


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC politicsWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 100 Mile RCMP officer stands watch at the intersction of Highway 97 and Horse Lake Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Volunteers, police search Highway 97 for articles related to high-speed chase

Search will stretch from Canco Gas Station in Lac La Hache to 150 Mile House.

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering soft tissue injuries following the incident

Most Read