Cariboo-North MLA Weighs in On Re-election Battle
Quesnel, B.C. – Coralee Oakes is hoping voters in Cariboo-North grant her another four years in office.
The first-term Liberal MLA and minister of small business and red tape reduction is seeking her second term in what many observers consider a ‘swing riding.’
So, why run again?
“I can think of no more important time. We all know that our annual allowable cut determination is coming out shortly by the chief forester and I want to make sure that we are working towards supporting our families, creating jobs and diversifying our economy.”
She says it’s a responsibility her government takes seriously noting she’s “excited about the opportunities” over the next year.
“You know I’ve been working closely with a lot of stakeholders and there’s significant potential that we’re on the cusp of announcing and so to be privileged enough to work with the region and with stakeholders and with constituents to see this through I think would be a real honour for me.”
Considering many are expecting a reduction in the annual allowable cut, what might those opportunities be?
“You’ll have to stay tuned but we need to look at other opportunities – silviculture is a huge one. Planting trees. We put $85 million into the Forestry Enhancement Fund,” says Oakes. “New Gold – the Blackwater mine and seeing economic agreements move forward. Barkerville Gold and the plans that they have for the Wells area. It is significant.”
How does she respond to NDP candidate Scott Elliott’s assertion that Oakes hasn’t engaged enough in the community? (see previous story here).
“People will criticize my leadership style and that’s fair – because I think elections present different options of leadership. Mine has always been let’s look at where the opportunities are, let’s identify what the barriers are, let’s bring stakeholders to the table.”
She says an example of that was in September when her efforts to help the city and council in their diversification efforts were ignored.
“They asked for the Province to be engaged, we bring all these people to the city and the gentleman running for the NDP declined to participate. So, yes, we’re engaging, but the candidate may not like the engagement style.”
And after nearly four years in office she says one of her proudest accomplishments as minister came just last week when the Province won a national award (the Golden Scissors Award, presented by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business) for cutting red tape.
“It was a pretty big highlight for me. I am proud of the work. There is so much we can do with this ministry.”
The provincial election is scheduled for May 9.