Tumbler Ridge is a rough and tumble town with grit, guts and boundless beauty.
For years my family have hiked and biked around the countryside, this has allowed us to see the way this region has changed with time and development. It was and remains one of the most beautiful parts of northern British Columbia.
Tumbler Ridge, like other peace country communities, relies on industry to drive the economy, and like other peace country communities, this has led to a situation where at times it seems that the environment is pitted against jobs.
Carole James and the NDP team want to emphasize that jobs and the environment are not opposed. Investing in green solutions to the environmental problems of today creates jobs for tomorrow.
In the end, we all want to breathe clean air, and drink clean water. I?ve met very few people in the peace country that don?t love to spend time outdoors, and I know we all marvel at the glorious scenery that surrounds us.
It is in our shared interest to ensure that the industries that give us jobs, the industries that pay for our groceries and mortgages, are held to the highest environmental standards.
It is also in our best interest to take a moderate, common sense approach, and work with industry to get the best outcomes. Every interest needs to be at the table when decisions are made, First Nations, and communities need to be able to sit down with government and industry and come to agreements about the best way forward.
We have to live our lives aware not just of ourselves, but of the wildlife and ecosystems we share this land with, and of our children and grandchildren, who must live in the world we leave behind.
Different ministries need to work together to ensure that First Nations, communities, and industries are all getting the same message. This common-sense approach will ensure conflicts over issues like caribou habitat don?t continue to escalate as different parts of the government say different things to different individuals and groups.
In Tumbler Ridge success depends on the same things as other communities in BC. Environmental Stewardship, a highly trained work force and good family supporting jobs.
However, we need a plan going forward. This is where the Campbell government has failed the people of Tumbler Ridge and the people of British Columbia. We need diverse economies to build communities that can stand the test of time. We cannot rely indefinitely on limited, non-renewable resources to drive our economies.
Gordon Campbell isn?t ready to invest in Tumbler Ridge. He also can?t take the credit for the high commodity prices that have driven investment in our communities.
The Peace country is one of the economic powerhouses of the province, but most of the money our communities are generating is being sucked out of the region and spent on mega-projects like the Vancouver Convention centre.
Where are the long term investments that will ensure that when commodity prices go down, or our resources are spent, that the communities we love will not be left to die?
Carole James and the NDP team have made a commitment to give more resource revenues back to rural communities through a rural economic development fund. This fund would give money back to communities like Tumbler Ridge to help them develop the opportunities that will drive our economies in the future.
We will also invest in our future by investing in education, both K-12 and post-secondary, and honour those who paved the way for us with their sweat and labour by investing in 3000 new long term care beds for our hard-working seniors.
I hope that you will reach out, and help me to take back our BC, keep our public utilities and give the respect back to our seniors and forge a better future for our children.
Sincerely Pat Shaw
Peace River South NDP Candidate