Photo: Mike de Jong’s staff tweeted this photo of his stop at the Fort St. John FasGas outlet – Twitter
An open mike session at a FasGas began MLA Mike de Jong’s visit as a Liberal party leadership candidate in Fort St. John.
De Jong was in the city, Monday, along with fellow candidate George Abbott and Minister of Labour Iain Black, to address the Peace River North Riding Association for the B.C. Liberals.
The open mike tour gives B.C. residents the ability to tell the government what their biggest concerns are, says de Jong.
De Jong says so far he has done several of these tours and plans on continuing them throughout his campaign and moreover if he is elected as the party’s leader.
One aspect that de Jong has spoken of during his campaign revolves around the idea of decentralizing the provincial government and allowing more decisions that affect a certain region to be made in that region. In terms of Fort St. John, he says the idea could include allowing even more of the money that the region generates for the province to stay in the area.
He also addresses the fact that the northeast is a very different area than much of the rest of the province, saying that an item like the Agricultural Land Reserve should be reconsidered to allow additional flexibility in its structure.
[asset|aid=3353|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=565939716399b1e9cec1024be23c3658-De Jong ALR visit_1_Pub.mp3]
Another aspect de Jong addresses is the controversial Harmonized Sales Tax. Having been a Liberal MLA when the tax was passed in the legislature, de Jong says the government should have taken more time to explain the tax to residents instead of implementing it so quickly. However, he adds the government now needs to work to correct its mistake.
[asset|aid=3354|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=565939716399b1e9cec1024be23c3658-De Jong HST visit _1_Pub.mp3]
Despite the so-called mistake, de Jong says he is still accountable for the decisions he made and will not avoid responsibility.
Kevin Falcon had been in the city earlier Monday afternoon and the other two leadership candidates, Moira Stilwell and Christy Clark, are expected to visit Fort St. John in January.