Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 11th Annual Premiers BC Natural Resources Forum hosted by my colleague MLA Mike Morris in Prince George.
Record attendance was set this year, and I am pleased to tell you that this year’s forum was a great success. The theme of the conference was “Our Resources — Our Future.” This message truly resonated with me, as developing our natural resources can provide incredible opportunities for all British Columbians.
The conference provided the opportunity to bring industry, government, First Nations, and community leaders together to find best practices and solutions in developing our incredible natural resource assets. Our government is committed to the resource industry and our future economic success depends on developing our diversified natural resource portfolio including forestry, mining, and the opportunities that lie ahead in LNG. Growth in this industry is critical to create economic growth and job opportunities for us here in the Cariboo. The past has been scarred with economic downturn and residents moving away from their homes in order to find work.
Today, things are different. We are working hard to strengthen our valuable trade relationships with fast growing Asian markets, and improving our export potential through infrastructure improvements and building LNG terminals in the North Coast.
I will echo our premier that we cannot lose focus that in creating opportunities in the resource sector, we must not forget that economic benefits are attained by all British Columbians ensuring that First Nations are full participants and beneficiaries in these new economic opportunities.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know I will be visiting the Williams Lake and 150 Mile House area on the first week of February. If anyone wishes to book an appointment, please call our office at 1-866-991-0296.
Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.