Cariboo MLA Named Minister of State for Rural Economic Development
100 Mile House, B.C. – The provincial government has created a position it says will help make rural communities strong.
Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett has been named minister of state for rural economic development.
“I’m very pleased that the premier has appointed me,” she told 250News. “As you know I have been the parliamentary secretary for rural development for some time and prior to that I was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of FLNRO (forests, lands and natural resource operations).”
Barnett – who is nearing the end of her second term as MLA – says it’s a great fit for her.
“It’s where my heart is and I understand the issues in our rural communities and this gives me an opportunity to have a stronger voice right at the cabinet table.”
She defines a rural community as a community with 25,000 or fewer people. Barnett says the biggest issue facing rural B.C. is the continued fallout from the mountain pine beetle epidemic and the subsequent downturn in many community’s economies.
She says the government is helping address the issue with the creation of the BC Rural Dividend which is providing $25 million a year over three years to assist rural communities reinvigorate and diversify their economies.
Barnett insists her new job will help give rural British Columbians a louder voice in Victoria.
“Rural MLAs work very hard – I know, I’ve been one for two terms and basically I meet with them continuously – I’ve been chair of the rural caucus and take their initiatives to the cabinet ministers,” she says.
“But now I can sit at the table where the decisions are actually made. Have a voice, not go to the minister and talk about it and have somebody else carry the message forward. I can do that myself.”
“Every community in British Columbia benefits when our rural communities are strong,” said Premier Christy Clark in a prepared statement. “Donna Barnett is a proven champion for rural development who will strengthen our cabinet team as B.C. leads the country in economic growth and jobs, and as we work together to put British Columbians first.”
Good for her. Secretary becomes boss… third times the charm :)
Another pre-election sop to the faithful. It may be a useful way to move some provincial resources out the major metropolitan centers, but its timing is all about the coming election.
Fixed election dates are resulting in campaigns starting almost a year in advance of the election. Way back when, WAC could only start shoveling the money out of the truck for a few weeks before the election was called.
When one considers that the **Rural Area** of BC consists of the Peace River, Northern Interior, Central Interior, and Southern Interior, etc; you can quickly see that we are talking about a huge area.
Once you factor in all the cities/towns/villages/hamlets in these areas with a population of less than 25000 people you can quickly see that $25 Million a year over three years doesn’t amount to anything,.
What exactly does the statement **assist rural communities reinvigorate and diversify their economies** mean.
The different areas of BC have lost thousands of high paying jobs that will not be recovered any time soon if ever.
So lets get something specific from these politicians, other than vague, bumbling statements about invigorating the economy.
I agree that this is nothing more than some mumbo jumbo put out by the Liberals because of the coming election, and will not result in any meaningful change.
Completely agree with both Steve Cooley and Palopu’s comments, nothing more needs to be said.
Nah . Christie is getting scared of RIta Giesbrecht .
The biggest problem is the guys at the lands office. They will nix anything that could conflict with the big resource companies. The guy at the PG office once told me he was proud that in thirty years he has never approved of a tourism related land acquisition and never would.
Ditto when it comes to farming. We have all but had a moratorium on new farm land in the central interior for at least forty years now. The biggest opportunity for rural areas in the years ahead is the opening up of European and ASEAN markets to our beef, but we are so ass backwards in BC that we can’t get land into the hands of people that can farm it.
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