Christy needs to get her head out of her Lower Mainland.
Granted, the North Coast hasn’t been kind to Premier Clark and the B.C. Liberals at the ballot box, but the continued asinine decisions and comments made by Clark and her minions in the ivory towers of Victoria and Vancouver aren’t exactly paving the way for the Northwest to go blue anytime soon.
If Clark thinks she can continue to use the Northwest as nothing more than an ATM machine to pay for Lower Mainland pork without consequence, she is delusional.
The linchpin to any economic success Christy and friends might want to enjoy over this term is the resource development — Northern B.C. resource development, specifically LNG. Not only is LNG development a linchpin, it was the largest plank in Clark’s election platform.
And the linchpin for LNG to become B.C.’s economic saviour is the North Coast. Without the North Coast buying in, Christy’s plans to use northern money to pay off southern problems will amount to diddly-squat.
Instead of courting the Northwest’s acceptance in either a moral or political method, Clark has decided to shut down essential ferry routes and institute a mind-boggling Ontario curb side recycling program that every Northwest community has rejected as a move backward and will cost jobs and cut northern provincial services.
One could easily suppose all these cuts are punishment for the North Coast electing a No Damn Profits (NDP) candidate. Or at least, if you read between the lines, that was the message delivered during an exchange between Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone, a.k.a. the B.C. Ferry guru, and MIA, oops, MLA Jennifer Rice.
“One good suggestion, one initiative that she and her colleagues would be wise to support and that would go a long way to supporting ferries, I think the members opposite might want to take another look at LNG and the opportunities LNG provides,” Stone said.
The more cynical could assume that Stone is holding northern ferry services as hostage and LNG acceptance by Rice is the ransom.
As long as Clark and Stone continue to thumb their noses at the North Coast and only pull out the chequebook for southern concerns, the voters up here will continue to elect the likes of Rice.
Call it what you will — buying the votes, chequebook diplomacy — but it is the way the political world works.
Clark needs to look beyond Hope. Northwest B.C. is where it’s all going to happen — or not. And if the North Coast is going to get on board, Christy needs to hear and answer one North Coast question: What’s in it for us right now?
Ignoring the crumbling infrastructure, dangerously cutting back services and marine highways, expensive recycling regulations without debate, to mention but a few, are not the way one courts the most critical keystone community to B.C.’s economic prosperity. Clark talks about investing in B.C., well, if she wants that investment to pay off, she needs to start investing in the North Coast. Christy, you can find us on most of your maps — it’s right where all the rail lines, paved roads and pipelines and ships meet. Some call that a focal point.
It’s time for you to look up — way up — and focus your attention and some of our dollars on the North Coast. The North Coast and Northwest will ultimately decide B.C.’s economic future not downtown Vancouver or westside Kelowna.
And for that reason, Clark would be well-advised to stop pushing us and head up north.