MLA Report – Fall 2015

Mike Bernier


It’s hard to believe summer has come and gone, where does the time go? Since my last writing, many exciting things have happened so I will only touch on a few highlights.

As most of you already know, I was appointed as the Minister of Education at the end of July and I am extremely honoured to be chosen to fulfil such an important role for our Province and be a voice for the entire Peace Region at the cabinet table.

It was a busy summer too and I had the privilege of hosting a few more of my colleagues in the riding over the past months including Minister Shirley Bond, Minister Todd Stone, Minister Steve Thompson, Minister Michelle Stilwell and Minister Norm Letnick. It is always an honour for me to have them up to see the beauty and the importance of the South Peace first hand and I thank everyone who came out and met with them on their visits.

I was very happy that Minister Bond and the Lieutenant Governor, Judith Guichon were both able to join me and participate in the Grand Opening celebration for the Tumbler Ridge Geopark.

I was also pleased to have Minister Stone help me with the announcement in Chetwynd for the repairs of the infamous frost heaves in front of the Rec Centre, which, I am very pleased to say are now complete!  Other important transportation announcements I was very happy to make, include new pedestrian activated lights on 8th Street in Dawson Creek at the Safeway intersection, pedestrian crossing countdown lights at the corner of 8th Street and 103rd Avenue in Dawson Creek, and the pre-work for signal lights at the Alaska Highway and Dangerous Goods road by LP. These are all safety concerns people have brought to me since elected so I was very proud to announce them as part of the $42 Million being spent this year in the South Peace.

Minister Norm Letnick was in Dawson Creek to attend the Fall Fair and Rodeo. I would like to thank the many dedicated volunteers who work so hard each and every year to make this event happen, I know Minister Letnick was definitely impressed and had a great time participating in our annual parade.

I recently received great news from Northern Health Administration who has been working collaboratively with local physicians, the District of Chetwynd and the province to recruit physicians to Chetwynd. Another physician has agreed to join the team at the Chetwynd Medical Clinic on a minimum one-year contract. In addition, locum coverage has been secured for the Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic and the emergency department while recruitment efforts continue. Another full time physician is expected to join the team after completing the practice ready assessment in February 2016. Northern Health will also have a permanent nurse practitioner join the care team at the Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic in the near future. This nurse practitioner will work closely with the physicians and an inter-professional team to deliver high quality care to patients.

As part of my Ministerial duties I was happy to announce the new $1,200 training and education grant. Parents in Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd can go into any Lake View Credit Union branch to kick-start their savings for their children’s future. To be eligible for the $1,200 education grant, children must be born in 2007 or later. Families have three years, or until the day before the child’s ninth birthday, to submit an application for the grant. No matching or additional contributions are required to access the $1,200. Our government wants families to help their children get a head start in pursuing their careers so they can participate in our strong and growing economy and I encourage families here in the South Peace to apply for an RESP and access the grant.

I feel very lucky to have such a great working (and personal) relationship with the Mayors and Councillors in the South Peace as we all work collectively to make the region the best in the Province and I appreciate all the great work they do as well. We will all see each other at UBCM in Vancouver, and right after that the fall session will begin in Victoria and I look forward to keeping everyone up to date on all the ongoings in the Legislature.

With much thanks..