Falcon pushes northern prosperity agenda

Kitimat's Tim Rice, with daughter Alex, speak to BC Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon during his stop in Terrace this morning at the Best Western.
— image credit: KAT LEE PHOTO

This BC Liberal leadership race holds a great opportunity for the public to vote directly for the next Premier, candidate Kevin Falcon said.

The Surrey-Cloverdale MLA made his pitch for the position to around 25 Terrace and Kitimat residents at 10:30 a.m. at the Best Western today, going through his record as the minister of state for de-regulation, transportation minister, and recent post as health minister.

He pushed the importance of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Prince Rupert port expansion for the local economy.

“When I talk about the Asia-Pacific and the opportunities there, that's really a big part of the plan,” he said. “What we have to do is make sure if we are going to open up mines and we're going to open up resource exploration activities, and we're going to create those opportunities, then we better make sure we've got a market we can sell them into.”

The Northwest Transmission Line is also important in opening up the northwest, he said, in creating jobs and boosting the economy with mines and projects in the region.

When asked about the possibility of improving the Cranberry Connector, which connects the Nass Valley with Hwy37 North and serves as the region's secondary transportation route in case of problems on Hwy 16, Falcon pointed out that there are lots of parts of the province that have only one road access.

“The challenge with the Cranberry connector has always been the same,” he said, adding that there has been a study done on the road. “It is a huge investment, and it has a very weak business case.”

He acknowledged that work through the Northwest Transmission Line could add more use on this road, but said at this point, it would not be the best use of money to improve the Connector.

In terms of the harmonized sales tax, Falcon said it was “a good example of a good tax policy ineptly introduced,” saying he would make sure the public had all the information it needed before voting on it in September.

Falcon has put out his Northern Prosperity Agenda, in which he says the north would be a government priority and suggests establishing a Premier's regional office in Prince George.

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