Recently, John Horgan travelled to northern B.C. to tour the region — his first tour of northern B.C. since assuming the role of premier two and a half years ago. His absence from the region had not gone unnoticed by residents, but many people expected that on this tour he would finally acknowledge the challenges we are facing and announce plans to provide meaningful support.
However, despite the ongoing forestry crisis, month-after-month of decreasing job numbers, the sham of a caribou consultation and the delays facing major pipeline projects, Premier Horgan came bearing no good news for the rural British Columbians dealing with these challenges.
Not only did Horgan fail to bring new supports, but he also doubled down on his disconnection from the region through missed opportunities and tone-deaf comments.
At a Northern Mayors Roundtable, the premier remarked that “quite frankly we don't hear from (opposition MLAs) about the positive initiatives that are happening in the community.”
This insinuation that we don’t advocate for our communities is simply ridiculous. The entire B.C. Liberal caucus works every day for the best of our communities, calling for government action and support in times of struggle and celebrating the incredible work being done in our communities daily. Whether through statements or Question Period in the legislature, letters written to ministers on behalf of constituents, the estimates process or through the media, we share local issues and successes every chance we get.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the premier and rural B.C, even when he was here. During his trip, he didn’t meet with disenfranchised forestry workers, he didn’t talk about reinstating the Rural Dividend Fund and he did not mention a plan to create jobs in the region where they are so desperately needed. The premier also failed to instill any confidence in the resource sector, even after his remarks at the recent resource forum in Prince George.
Horgan’s actions — both in his avoidance of northern B.C. and his attitude during his tour — demonstrate the sad truth that this government does not care about rural B.C, and is only focused on the South Coast, where the majority of their votes come from.
It is time for this government to step up and show that they care about the whole province — that they care more about people than votes and will take the time to listen to those who need assistance. Contrary to what he may admit, Premier Horgan hears rural voices all the time but he just chooses to ignore them.
Shirley Bond, MLA
Mike Morris, MLA