NCLGA Issues Invite to Horgan and Weaver for Meeting
Prince George, B.C.- The North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) is issuing an invitation to NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver to come to Prince George for a round table discussion.
Although the Liberal Government hasn’t yet been defeated, the agreement between the New Democrats and Greens makes it inevitable.
The NCLGA represents communities in two thirds of British Columbia and just ten of the elected MLAs are in NCLGA ridings. Only two of those ridings are represented by the NDP, the other 8 have Liberal MLAs. “The principal concern in our region” says NCLGA President, Shaely Wilbur, “is that the northern most parts of BC will be overlooked. During the past administration, half of the North’s MLAs were cabinet Ministers, and political differences and allegiances aside- that meant we mattered”.
“We are a non-partisan organization, but our principle goal is to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of all communities in northern BC” says Wilbur.
Vanderhoof Councillor Brian Frenkel, who served on the NCLGA Board for nearly a decade shares Wilbur’s concerns saying the NDP now have fewer MLAs in the region than in the past, “The Green members represent ridings so far away with such different challenges and opportunities that I’m definitely concerned about the North.”
Regardless of who holds power in Victoria, the NCLGA’s Executive Director, Oliver Ray points out the importance of the North should not be ignored “Northern BC accounts for eighty percent of provincial exports and eighty percent of BC’s agricultural lands. This is the traditional territory for one third of all First Nation governments in BC, sixty percent of the overall indigenous population and we have a demographic that is roughly seventeen percent aboriginal (a ratio that dwarfs any other jurisdiction in the Province). We are also home to some of the largest resource development projects in North America, including Site C, the largest single investment in BC’s history. From a legal, economic, environmental and logistical standpoint, our ten provincial ridings represent one of the most strategically important places on the continent”.
Wilbur says this isn’t about political stripes, “We’re simply insisting that northern municipalities, Regional Districts and First Nations be included in the decision making process. Legislative change, electoral change, the cancelation of some projects and introduction of others can all have a disproportionate effect on many of our communities. And things like job losses, resource allocation, and infrastructure needs in the North actually end up affecting the whole province. So If Andrew Weaver and John Horgan would like to learn about our priorities and perspectives, we would be happy to host them for a roundtable meeting in Prince George. We would certainly welcome their interest!”