We saw the governing and Opposition parties change their Leaders; we saw a referendum on HST get defeated after the Government had already put it into law; we saw lots of new legislation put in place including a new Family Law act; we saw a new BC Conservative Party emerge and elect a new leader; we saw our new leader, Premier Christy Clark initiate Open Town Hall meetings around the province with the first one being held in Fort St John; we saw a new Jobs Plan rolled out by the government; we saw BC win a major ship-building contract; we saw the Government take major steps towards supporting the shipment of LNG to Asia through West Coast Ports, and we saw three Independent MLA’s including Bill Bennett, Blair Lekstrom and myself all come back to the BC Liberal Party after short absences. All in all, 2011 was an interesting year in BC Politics and 2012 will have some interesting twists as well.
In 2011 I was extremely busy as I was involved with the Finance Committee and the Rural Caucus, and of course, in my position as Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Gas. I travelled the province and from Fort Nelson to Cranbrook, Courtenay to Smithers,and most points in between. It is very interesting to note that most Rural Communities have many of the same issues, and I have been involved with a lot of input into recommendations that all of these committees have brought forward.
PRIORITIES FOR 2012
I found as I travelled the Province, the two biggest issues facing the majority of Rural BC were the Carbon Tax and Permitting. In the Peace Country the first two apply but we can also throw in Site C and the ALR. Fort Nelson faces the same issues as others but you also throw in it’s Fair Share program.
I am committed to fighting for all of these issues and that’s why the Finance Committee report, the Rural Caucus report and my Parliamentary Secretary report all have recommendations to address many of these issues. In 2012, I believe that we have to address these issues in a substantial way or Rural BC will be in very desperate times. I know that I have many colleagues who feel very similarly to myself and we are prepared to try and change the direction that our Government is headed on some of these issues. Our Government has made some strides in the right direction but it is time for the Conservative members of our coalition, like myself, to stand up and be heard in a very committed way and that is exactly what I will be doing for the duration of 2012.
There are many issues that we deal with on an ongoing basis; far too many to put into this column, but I will commit to you that I will be working very hard to change some of our policy direction in the upcoming year. As many of you are aware our BC Liberal Party is a coalition of Liberal and Conservative members and I am extremely proud to be one of our stronger Conservative members and I will bring that to the forefront this year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL