After a few busy weeks in the constituency (during which I was able to address some pressing constituent concerns, tour the Likely and 150 Mile House areas, have meetings in Williams Lake, and attend a variety of functions and events), I hit the road last Thursday for Prince George, Vancouver, and Victoria.
Last Thursday I attended the Council of Forest Industries dinner in Prince George, during which I was able to seek input and advice from a variety of people about how best to respond to the government’s handling of the Burns Lake timber supply issue. I continued that conversation with the Central Interior Logging Association the next morning before flying to Vancouver to attend a Green Jobs conference that was co-hosted by B.C.’s labour unions and environmental groups.
At the COFI dinner a representative of the Business Council of B.C. gave a presentation on the joint initiative that they’re undertaking with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, dubbed the “B.C. Agenda for Shared Prosperity.” The union and environmental groups’ green jobs initiative is called “Good Jobs for a Green Future” and, like the business groups’ initiative, it’s an attempt to define what prosperity looks like through the lens of sustainability.
It would be great if these two initiatives came together and business, labour, and the environmental and social advocacy groups could arrive at a consensus on what a true “shared prosperity” agenda looks like for B.C. That would go a long way to putting an end to the acrimony and divisiveness that has come to characterize BC’s political culture over the last few decades. This week I’m attending the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ annual general meeting in Victoria. I’ve had lots of good meetings with local government representatives, especially those concerned about the sorry state of our public forests and the failure of both the Liberals and the NDP to present a coherent agenda for revitalizing the forest sector and assisting forest-dependent communities through a difficult transition period.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.