KAMLOOPS — It was good to see Premier Horgan talking about the B.C. Wildfire situation in his first days in office, and good to have two Cabinet Ministers and a Parliamentary Secretary here Thursday to talk to people first hand. It gives me a little hope that the new government will not forget about the Interior even though almost all their MLA’s come from big population centres at the Coast or on the Island.
The speculation is that Horgan will have to cater to the voters who largely have no concept of the problems in the Interior, have no concept for the value big industry has in our province, and have no idea of life beyond Hope. In fact, though, he cannot forget about the Interior because if they have any hope of gaining a majority when their government falls, which it will sooner than later, they need to ensure the Interior is covered by more than just promises. Leading up to the election, the NDP made promises about four-laning the highway to Alberta, suggesting the Liberals were way too slow, they promised the Royal Inland Hospital plans would be moved ahead, considering it’s the third busiest trauma hospital in the province, and finding high paying jobs despite the fact that many of those high-paying jobs are in the resource sector, which the NDP is planning to fight against. They’ve expressed strong opposition to Kinder Morgan’s plans, LNG, tanker traffic, the Site C dam, and it leaves them few areas to provide those high price jobs they’re talking about.
I’m certainly willing to give the NDP a chance. I am not confident they can maintain their agreement with the Green Party, but let’s see what they can do. If they spend the farm and put us in huge debt to service their Lower Mainland constituents at the expense of the Interior, it will cost them dearly. They have to understand there are two different mindsets in this province, and you have to strike a balance. Some would suggest that the Liberals didn’t cater enough to Lower Mainland voters. That may be so. But the NDP has to ensure they don’t just cater to the Lower Mainland voters because that’s where their support is. They were elected to represent the entire province, even those areas where they don’t have seats.
If they do it right, they can increase their support in the Interior and gain a majority. Do it wrong, and they’ll be on the outside looking in again in another year or so. They’ve started off with a good showing, but, as always, the proof is in the pudding. And the pudding has to be prepared delicately and cooked carefully to allow us to savor its full taste.