On his second campaign stop in Prince George, BC Liberal leadership candidate Andrew Wilkinson committed to establishing a northern premier and cabinet office in Prince George, should he win the leadership and the next provincial election.
“Prince George is British Columbia’s northern hub – the centre of economic activity, education, health care, and government services for hundreds of thousands of residents,” said Wilkinson. “Too often, decisions on the future prosperity of northern B.C. are made in Victoria. It’s time to change that.”
The campaign promise came the day after fellow leadership hopeful Mike de Jong promised to relocate the ministry of forests and chief forester’s office to Prince George, both ideas which have been bandied about by the Liberals before.
Vacant government offices in Prince George could be converted at a low cost to provide better engagement with northern residents, said Wilkinson. Enhanced, secure video-conferencing services allowing representatives to stay connected with Victoria while remaining in their constituencies will mean increased access for citizens and reduced travel costs for taxpayers.
Wilkinson is being supported by Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris.
“Northerners deserve better access to their premier and government ministers,” said Morris. “By taking the step of creating a northern premier and cabinet office in Prince George, we can improve access to make life better for people across British Columbia.”
Andrew also expanded on his campaign to stop the NDP’s plan to change British Columbia’s electoral system.
“Our electoral system has worked well for 150 years – and has protected northern priorities from being drowned out by Vancouver and Victoria,” he said. “If the NDP are successful with their stealth plan, we could lose all of that.”
Liberal leadership hopefuls will be in Prince George today for the second leadership debate, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. at the Coast Inn of the North. The BC Liberal party will hold a leadership convention to announce the new leader on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.