BC Liberal leadership candidate Mike Bernier visited Prince Rupert on Oct. 10 to hear from local residents about issues they consider important as he solidifies his bid for the party’s top job.
Like many of the other leadership hopefuls, Bernier has been traveling across the province getting feedback from Liberal supporters ahead of the party’s 2017 vote. Bernier said he was excited to visit Prince Rupert, and said the number one message he received from people he had spoken to was the need for better communication between the party and its constituents.
“Last election, people felt that the BC Liberals weren’t listening,” he said.
Bernier said LNG was also a pertinent topic of discussion with the people he met. Development of the resource has been a polarizing issue, but Bernier said even though it was contentious, there was still potential for its success if the government engaged with local communities and partners better to find common ground.
“We need to have those discussions and relationships earlier in the process,” he said. “Government can play a larger role in facilitating that, especially with something that has provincial significance like LNG.”
Finally, Bernier said people asked government support and development in Prince Rupert.
“We need to make sure we have a government that develops things here or people will leave,” he said. “Everybody thought the Liberals were the best at creating jobs, but we have to make sure the amenities and supports for people are there. That’s where we fell down before.”
Bernier was elected to the B.C. legislature in 2013 after serving as mayor of Dawson Creek for 5 years. He is the MLA for Peace River South and has served as the province’s Minister of Education since 2015.