It’s been a big week for Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. She turned 70 on Nov. 17 and on Nov. 21 was acclaimed the BC Liberal candidate for the next provincial election in May.
At the nomination meeting held at the Pioneer Complex Nov. 21, Barnett said she believes the Liberals have accomplished “a lot” in the riding.
“There’s been lots of money put into roads, we got Deni House open, we’re working diligently to keep our schools open, even though populations are decreasing. Many good things have happened. We’ve got great working relationships with people, organizations, local governments of all levels.”
Noting the forest industry has downsized because of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, Barnett said she is looking to work together with others in the region to see Taseko’s New Prosperity Mine Project go ahead.
“I support New Prosperity, my government supports Prosperity, and we’re looking forward to see it come to fruition in this region. I’ve also had lots of success helping the agriculture community, another industry that in my opinion needs more help and innovation. I’m prepared to work as hard as I have in the last four years for the next four years.”
Responding to NDP candidate Charlie Wyse’s most recent criticism of the Liberals’ “mismanagement of the forest industry” Barnett said Wyse does not remember the pine beetle.
“It came in the late 90s. You weren’t allowed to go into parks when his government was in place. We must also remember what happened in the Chilcotin back in the late 90s when the NDP cancelled the forest licenses of the West Chilcotin Carrier Mill and it cost taxpayers of B.C. over $100 million in compensation, and look at what it did to the Chilcotin, so please Charlie, don’t try and tell me that you know about economics.”
Critical that the “NDP do not support Prosperity,” that leader “Adrian Dix has said it and Charlie Wyse has said it,” Barnett questioned how jobs will be created in the region if nothing is allowed to happen.
“How can you create jobs when you take forest licenses away? I’m proud of our record in creating jobs and I will continue to work to help create jobs. I know child poverty is a big issue and the best way to solve child poverty is to put people to work, put food on the table, and shoes on their kids. To me that’s what it’s all about.”
Barnett said as she looks toward the next term she is fortunate to be healthy and energetic.
“I feel very passionate about helping our region.”
Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal Riding Association president Bill Carruthers said no one else came forward to be vetted as a candidate.
He recalled that Barnett won the election in 2009 by 88 votes over NDP candidate Charlie Wyse.
“People say their vote doesn’t count, but up here it does. This is a swing riding. In 2005, the NDP won by 114 votes,” Carruthers said.