There’s an old adage that says it takes a big man to admit to mistakes and it’s a piece of wisdom reflected in MLA for Shuswap George Abbott’s campaign for leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party.
“We’ve done a poor job over the last two years. The B.C. Liberal government and its record of doing business is the biggest barrier to a Liberal government being elected in 2013” said Abbott speaking at a campaign stop last week at the Lake Country municipal hall.
Abbott says the public outrage over the HST issue has taught him that British Columbians want to have their thoughts heard and be included in government. He says social media is one tool government should be using to determine what the public consensus is on specific issues.
He also told those in attendance at the meeting that under his leadership, politicians would leave Victoria to consult with not only their own constituents, but with the residents in other B.C. communities as well.
Coming from a background in agriculture, Abbott says that urbanized areas play a vital role in the province’s prosperity in areas like manufacturing, high tech and research but it is rural B.C. that is the driving force behind the province’s economy.
Abbott says getting resource development, back on track is the key to B.C.’s future. He identifies forestry, mining, oil and gas, clean energy, agriculture and tourism as the provinces dominant economic resources.
Mayor James Baker was in attendance and pointed out that often times resource development is hindered due to legitimate First Nations land claims.
Abbott responded that in such cases he sees merit in negotiating revenue-splitting agreements whereby a portion of the income would go to the affected First Nations group.
“Eighty per cent of something is better than 100 per cent of nothing,” said Abbott. “We haven’t had a new major mine open in 20 years but by sharing revenue streams I think we could have several new mines.”
Ramping up resource development tends to raise environmental concerns amongst the general population. Abbott says it is possible to achieve a sustainable balance between the two and told listeners at the meeting that he believes the Ministry of Environment has been under-resourced in recent years.
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