The province’s NDP Leader John Horgan was in Prince George Monday as part of the final stop on his tour of Northern British Columbia.
Horgan has been addressing concerns from everyday citizens. He says he’s camping to highlight Christy Clark’s use of private jets to travel. “It was a good way to meet people,” he said. “Not a private jet, it’s not the way the Premier travels, but it was exciting.”
On the way, Horgan focused on affordable living in the province. “Everything seems to be going up, affordability is a dominant issue for people, hydro rates, ICBC rates, car insurance is a big deal for people, tuition fees, medical services premiums, you name it,” he said.
Horgan specifically looks to increase services to education and health care. “We need to make education a priority in my world, we will not have a robust economy going forward if we’re not training our young people to meet the challenges of the 21st century economy.”
Liberal MLA for Prince George-Valemount, Shirley Bond, disagrees and notes the success of Prince George’s post-secondary programs, along with the expansions made at the hospital.
“We’ve made it a point to invest in Northern British Columbia and the only way you can do that is by saying yes to job creation, and yes to projects in this province,” she said. “I think it’s really a difficult story for Mr. Horgan to sell when he continues to say no to every project imaginable and yet want to see a greater investment of dollars, you know those two just don’t match up.”
On the other hand, Horgan believes British Columbians will still feel the pinch if investments in the future generation aren’t made.
“I think the BC Liberals are quite short-sighted on this, they talk about investing in infrastructure, it’s critically important, our roadways, our ports our airports, but if we don’t have the people to do the work of today and tomorrow, we’re going to be falling behind our competitors,” Horgan said. “The people in this province tell me that Christy Clark just doesn’t get it. While they struggle with affordability, the B.C. Liberals just keep hiking fees and taxes, and cutting public services they depend on.”
Meanwhile, Bond points to British Columbia’s leading economy across the nation.
“It’s pretty interesting to have that kind of conversation when in fact we are the leading economy in Canada today,” she said. “We need to invest all across the province, that’s why you see exceptional services here at the university, at the college, and at the hospital.”
Horgan’s tour of Northern BC and visit to Prince George comes less than a year from the provincial election in May 2017.