Column: New role, new responsibilities

It has been an honour to spend two years in the role of Minister for Community Sport and Cultural Development.

It has been an honour to spend two years in the role of Minister for Community Sport and Cultural Development, however, it is with great excitement that I introduce myself as the new Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, as well as the Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.

As I reflect over the last two years some of the highlights include negotiating a $2.76 billion deal with the federal government over 10 years to provide much needed infrastructure funding and security for local governments.  Having served in local government I know how important these projects are for communities.  I was also pleased to be a part of the negotiations with the federal government for the $109 million dollar fund to support local governments to improve mostly water, wastewater and road infrastructure.  On the sport side I was so pleased that the Canada Winter Games were so successful.  We had originally targeted an economic return between $70-90 million and the final figure was $123.4 million.

My new portfolio is very dear to my heart. Having served fourteen years as the manager of the Quesnel Chamber of Commerce, I know how critical small businesses are to local economies. As the only province in Canada that has received an A grade from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for cutting red tape, I am confident that in my work as Minister I will continue to spearhead regulatory reform while supporting economic development and job creation.

As the Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, as well as the Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch, I look forward to hearing from you on how these changes have benefited our communities here in the Cariboo, as well as discussing how we can best move forward.

There will be a lot for me to learn in this new role, but I look forward to all the challenges and rewards. Although I will be taking on new responsibilities as minister, I remain committed to my role as your local representative and to promoting initiatives that put the best interest of our communities first.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

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