Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson

MLA’s CORNER: Horgan needs to do the right thing and support the Stampede

How is such a well-known and popular event not considered an anchor attraction in the NDP’s mind?

One of the great pleasures of this job is seeing, first-hand, the resilience of the people who call the Cariboo home. Whether it’s fires, floods or pandemics you always react the same way — dig in, get on with it and begin rebuilding.

But Premier Horgan and the provincial government seem to think that’s somehow an excuse for not coming through when times are tough. I’ve heard from many of you who feel like no one in Victoria cares — that you’re always left on your own.

The NDP’s decision not to provide any assistance to the Williams Lake Stampede Association is the latest infuriating example.

Like many people in our community, I love rodeo. As a former director of the association, I understand all the hard work poured into the annual event by the organizers and volunteers. It’s an economic contributor and a cultural celebration for our community.

READ MORE: Stampede association announces Back in the Saddle Bull Riding event for Sept. 5-6 in Williams Lake

When John Horgan personally announced the Major Anchor Attractions Program, it offered a glimmer of hope. The criteria was confusing, so I asked about it in the Legislature and was told the Stampede should apply.

They did — and were rejected not just once, but twice this year.

It baffles me how such a well-known and popular event is not considered an anchor attraction in the NDP’s mind.

The Stampede contributes more than $3 million to our local economy and this year would have marked its 95th anniversary. Unfortunately, it’s the second year in a row the event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Williams Lake Stampede Association has opened its grounds to help deal with the impact of the forest fires ravaging our area.

No matter what, these folks do the right thing for our town. Too bad we can’t say the same about John Horgan.

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Lorne Doekson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.