But we don’t have to look to eastern Canada to witness the birth of a new political party. We need only to look to the west of Prince George.
The Rural BC Party formed earlier this year and is starting to build its base as an alternative devoted to promoting and advocating for the residents of rural B.C.
The Rural BC Party was founded in response to the growing concern that the existing major political parties are solely interested in supporting the voter-rich areas of the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island and have increasingly neglected rural BC.
“The people of rural BC are no longer willing to sit on the political sidelines,” said Jonathan Van Barneveld, interim party leader and current councillor with the District of Houston. “We are a major economic driver of the province, but we are increasingly forgotten about and neglected. Many communities are on life support and have never had the opportunity, or the means, to diversify their economies and truly flourish.”
Prince George voters may remember Van Barneveld, who ran for the NDP in Cariboo-Prince George in 2011. Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen is also an organizer of the party.
“The Rural BC Party offers us a better alternative to the other parties,” said Repen. “It will allow us to cut through the political rhetoric and truly advocate for the needs of rural BC. To properly represent the voices of rural BC, we believe that it is critical our representatives have full independence to represent their constituents, rather than Victoria’s wishes.”
The party has begun work to establish support in BC’s 23 rural ridings.
Van Barneveld feels that there is broad support for an alternative choice for rural BC residents.
“The party is new and fresh, and we’re looking for everyone’s feedback, support and comments as we continue to grow and build our campaign.” he said.
According to its website, the Rural BC Party:
The Rural BC Party was founded in response to the growing concern that the existing major political parties are solely interested in supporting the voter-rich areas of the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island and have increasingly neglected rural BC. Too often the revenues generated from resources in rural BC are used to subsidize major projects in the Lower Mainland, while smaller communities throughout the province struggle to thrive.
Voice for Rural BC
The Rural BC Party will be a relentless voice for rural BC. The party will advocate for the needs of rural British Columbians and ensure that the region is no longer being ignored by Victoria. By focusing on policies rather than politics, we will provide a voice in the centre to bridge the polarizing politics of the major parties. The Rural BC Party will be the champion for disenfranchised British Columbians and will build support and run provincial candidates in BC’s 23 rural ridings in the next election.
Developing Rural Communities
Many communities in rural BC are on life support and have never had the opportunity or the means to diversify their economies and truly flourish. Throughout the province, these communities have lacked the economic stability, direct investments and government supports that are so desperately needed. The Rural BC party will fight to ensure that all communities outside of the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island are given a hand-up. By helping develop rural BC communities the province as a whole will ultimately benefit.
Greater legislative Independence
To properly represent the voices of rural BC, we believe that our elected MLAs shouldn’t be whipped to vote along strict party lines. Policy should be built from the ground up and not dictated by party politics. Rural BC MLAs will have a free vote in the legislature to ultimately better represent the needs and wishes of their constituents. The Rural BC Party is committed to focusing on issues that are critical to rural communities.