As the selection of the new leader for the provincial New Democratic Party (NDP) draws closer, the first of the leadership candidates made their way to Prince Rupert on the afternoon of February 1 to meet with party members and residents.
Mike Farnworth spent two and a half hours at the Oceanview Hotel fielding questions and providing comments to a crowd in the dining area, and said much of what he heard had to do with a disconnect between the provincial government and northern BC.
“People are tired of being neglected. It is important for the government to listen to what communities like Prince Rupert and the northwest have to say. The government has paid a lot of money for Skytrain stations and pillars, but they need to hear rural BC,” he said following the session.
“Regional economic development works…For a lot of the challenges in BC, especially those related to economic development, the solutions are in the communities and in the region if the government is willing to take the ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ approach.”
If elected as the leader of the NDP, who was making his fourth trip to Prince Rupert, Farnsworth said he has a number of priorities to be looked
“I think the priorities would be to unite the party, get ready for an election and win, and lead a government that people have confidence in, that listens to the people and that is in tune with the majority of British Columbians,” he said, noting one issue that came up frequently at the meeting was that of tanker traffic.
“I have heard a lot of concern about tanker traffic, and it is concern that I share. We need to apply the concept of sustainability to public policy. Economic success and social success are linked.”