Hi, my name is Blair Lekstrom and I am asking for your support in the upcoming provincial election on May 12th. My wife Vicki and I, along with our daughters Lindsey and Taiya, are so fortunate to be able to live and work in the most beautiful part of our province.
I have had the honour of serving as your MLA for Peace River South since 2001 and I am proud of the accomplishments our region has seen. We have enjoyed significant opportunity in our province for families and their children over the last 8 years. Through these increased opportunities comes a stronger, healthier province with a bright future ahead. Although we have a relatively small population in the northeast, we continue to make a substantial contribution to the economic well being of our province.
I have worked hard to ensure that we see an equitable reinvestment of the resource revenue generated in rural BC and I am very proud of the work we have done. We have seen a record investment of dollars back to our communities and rural areas of this amazing Peace Country and I am committed to ensuring that continues.
I do understand the balance necessary not only to have a strong economic future for ourselves, our children and future generations, but we must always ensure we maintain the incredible quality of life we enjoy in this great province.
We are very fortunate to live in a region of the province that has such a diversified economy. The Peace country was built around agriculture and we all have a responsibility to support this important industry. It is our farmers and ranchers who supply the food we need to survive and we must never lose sight of that fact. Our other industries that help not only drive our economy here in the north but help all of BC include; forestry, mining, tourism as well as our thriving oil and gas industry. These industries along with our vibrant small business community are what generate the jobs that we all depend on to make a living for ourselves and our families. The revenue these businesses contribute to the economic well being of BC are what allow government to deliver our health care, education, social programs and so much more that British Columbians depend upon.
We hear a great deal of misinformation from opponents to the government about health care and education spending in our province. The true facts reflect that our government has increased the health care budget by over $6 Billion since 2001 when we were first elected. In the most recent budget that we presented in the legislature in February we have increased the health budget by a further $4.8 Billion over the next 3 years. This means that 90 cents of every new dollar spent in the operational budget over the next 3 years will go to health care. In 2001 the health care budget was approximately $8.7 Billion, today it is close to $15 Billion and within the next 3 years we in British Columbia will spend just over $18 Billion each year to provide the health care services that British Columbians depend on.
On the education budget the true information also reflects a substantial increase in our K-12 education system. We have increased this budget by $1.456 Billion or 34% since 2001 which reflects the highest investment in our education system in our provinces history. This increased despite nearly 53,000 fewer students over the same period. We hear a great deal about class sizes in our province. Once again the facts show what is really happening. 99% of classes in BC have 32 or fewer students. In all of school district #59 we have only 1 class with over 30 students. As you can see when the true facts are put forward rather than the misinformation put forward by some, we see the real story. How anyone could look someone in the eye and state that either of these key areas have been cut is nothing short of being patently dishonest. Is there room to improve upon where we are at today? Most definitely. Each and every day I serve as your MLA I try to improve upon what I did the day before and that is how I hope we all approach life.
Together we can continue to build a stronger more sustainable province. We have seen a true commitment by our government to protecting the environment and I like you, believe we should leave this world a better place than what was given to us to enjoy. I have been honoured to serve the people of this great region and this incredible province and have learned so much from you, the people I represent.
We are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and natural resources in British Columbia. I commit that I will do my best to represent you in a way that finds the best balance in the use of our natural resources while ensuring our provinces natural beauty and our quality of life continue to remain the best in the world. On May 12th I am asking for your support so that I may continue to be your voice in Victoria. I have always, and will always, represent the people of Peace River South with honesty and integrity, and will always represent you, the people first.