Cariboo-Chilcotin MLAs react to throne speech

Seizing on economic opportunities and securing the future of families key issues of last week’s throne speech said MLA Donna Barnett

Seizing on economic opportunities and securing the future of British Columbian families were key issues of last week’s throne speech, said Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett during a speech in the legislature Wednesday.

“One of the main themes was the economic opportunity that presents itself to the province at the present time, and the chance to create a legacy that will benefit our children and grandchildren through the Prosperity Fund.”

Paying down the provincial debt will save the province $2.5 billion a year, money that can be reinvested in the economic development of B.C., including its rural area, she added.

“In my riding of Cariboo-Chilcotin there is another Prosperity project, and it also offers the promise of a lasting legacy that can benefit all the surrounding communities now and for future generations,” Barnett said, suggesting the New Prosperity Mine would bring strong and far-reaching economic benefits to the region.

While she finds herself disappointed to see a project that could have such a positive economic impact in our region held up, she said she is even more disappointed to see the political posturing of the opposition around the issue.

“A project such as the Prosperity Mine, which can help revitalize the economy of our entire region, should not be held hostage by what is politically convenient.”

Prosperity would create 500 full-time jobs, over 1,200 indirect jobs, and would spend $200 million every year during the 22-year anticipated lifespan of the mine, she added.

“That is why it disappoints me to see the NDP opposing this beneficial project, which could have such a positive economic impact on our region. The NDP remains opposed, both literally and figuratively, to Prosperity.”

Barnett also said the needs of rural B.C. are diverse, and that the Cariboo-Chilcotin relies on several key industries in addition to mining, including forestry, agriculture and tourism.

“Our forest industry is alive and well, despite the damage caused by the pine beetle infestation. We are working with business groups and with First Nations to ensure that our forest policies are both economically and environmentally sustainable.”

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson said the gut of the throne speech was LNG in 2017.

“The promise of this prosperity fund isn’t for this election. It’s for the next election cycle and projected for the following 30 years.”

Simpson acknowledged he has long been a proponent of a “heritage-like” fund, similar to what already exists in Alberta.

“The principle is not wrong where you take the wealth that you get from your natural resources, put a surcharge on that wealth that you’re generating, and you put it in a fund that goes beyond the one year fiscal cycle.”

In a natural resource boom and bust economy, the biggest problem is that in the bust cycle government has to tighten its belt on health care, education and social services.

“In the boom times money needs to be put in a rainy day fund for use in the down cycle to continue to fund an appropriate level of those things. It levels out the social services and the government’s ability to manage the public purse.”

A “rainy day” concept is long overdue for B.C., however, it becomes problematic when it’s being all pinned on LNG because every piece of information suggests that LNG is not a given or that in B.C. that the industry will get prices that make it work, Simpson said.

“Alberta today, with its heritage fund with the richest oil and gas resources, is talking about for the first time ever instituting a sales tax and we have a premier saying we can get rid of the sales tax with the same resources.”

He applauded the premier addressing rural health care delivery and preventative health care, but said he felt there were no details in the speech.

Worried that there will be three weeks in the legislature to deal with eight or nine substantive bills, Simpson suggested if the premier was serious about introducing the Seniors Advocate position, there should have been a fall sitting.

“It was the first government speech that I’ve sat in that the Liberal members of government did not applaud during or at the end. It’s supposed to be the government’s main priorities over the next year, but it was talking about 2017.”

 

Just Posted

Talia McKay of Williams Lake is a burn survivor who remains grateful for the support she received from the Burn Fund (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
’You have to allow yourself the grace to heal’: B.C. burn survivor reflects on her recovery

Learning how to stand straight and walk again was a feat said Williams Lake resident Talia McKay

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Worth taking another look at hemp for paper production

Ninety years after being deemed illegal, few are afraid of marijauna

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Milking cows and strangers on the premises

Cows in a milking barn may get upset if a stranger comes

Lake City Secondary School Grade 12 students Haroop Sandhu, from left, Amrit Binning and Cleary Manning are members of the school’s horticulture club. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
LCSS horticulture club a growing success

Aspiring gardeners at a Williams Lake secondary school are earning scholarship dollars… Continue reading

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Tribune.
FOREST INK: Plenty of changes happening in forest industry

A new process produces a biodegradable plastic-like product from wood waste powder

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in 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

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

Most Read