Leaders in the northern two-thirds of the province are concerned about representation in the provincial legislature, following a deal by the B.C. Green Party and the B.C. NDP to form government.
The North Central Local Government Association’s goal is to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of the communities in Northern B.C.
In a press release, the association points out that only 10 of the province’s 87 MLAs hail from the region.
As of the provincial election, two of these seats were NDP and the remaining eight hailed from the BC Liberal Party.
“The principal concern in our region is that the northernmost parts of B.C. will be overlooked,” says Dawson Creek Councillor Shaely Wilbur, president of the association. “During the past administration, half of the North’s MLAs were cabinet ministers and —political differences and allegiances aside —that meant we mattered.”
While the Cariboo-Chilcotin riding will be represented by BC Liberal MLA Donna Barnett, who will, if the Liberals lose a confidence vote, be in opposition, 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall says he’s not worried.
“We’ve got a good MLA and our MLA is very well known in Victoria, so I’m not the least bit worried. I think our issues will be out front and centre at all times.”
Despite the concern from the North Central Local Government Association, they stress that it’s not ideological.
“We’re simply insisting that northern municipalities, Regional Districts and First Nations be included in the decision making process. Legislative change, electoral change, the cancellation of some projects and the 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,” says Wilbur.
“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.”