BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
It was my honour to recently attend the 16th annual BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George and welcome attendees to our region.
The continued success of this event highlights the importance of the natural resource sector to our region, to the province and to Canada. It is an opportunity to meet and speak with those working hard to promote responsible development and the role it plays in our national economy.
It was nice to catch up with so many local MLAs, mayors and councillors, Aboriginal leaders, and industry stakeholders. I had great conversations with Crystal Smith, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation, who is a strong advocate for the development of LNG and the positive economic impact it will have on her community, with LNG Canada’s CEO Andy Calitz and Director of External Relations Susannah Pierce, and with Woodfibre LNG’s Country Manager and Vice President of Corporate Affairs Byng Giraud.
I was also able to personally thank Rio Tinto BC Works’ Andrew Czornohalan for the continued support Rio Tinto has shown UNBC. Rio Tinto and UNBC announced at the forum that they have formed a partnership that will include Rio Tinto providing $450,000 over the next three years to help ensure our region’s students continue to have access to unique research and hands-on learning opportunities through the university.
After speaking about the importance of resource development in my welcoming remarks, I also took a moment to recognize and thank MLA and former Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation Ellis Ross for being a stalwart supporter of LNG and explained how we would not likely see projects like LNG Canada go ahead without his support. I asked attendees to recognize Ellis for the work he has done to better our communities, our province and our country.
I have known Ellis for many years and am proud to call him a friend. When I spoke to him at the event, we talked about how as public figures were supposed to have a thick skin in the face of criticism, and although we do and understand it is part of the job, it still can take its toll. We spoke about how we do what we do for our friends and neighbours and to try to make a difference in their lives.
Before I left Prince George, I also met with Craig Stevens, Ian Fife and Dave Johnston, who had helped to organize a pro-LNG rally outside the Civic Centre where the forum was held. It was great to see so many people come together to voice their support for LNG and natural resource development at the rally.
The BC Natural Resources Forum is an important reminder of the strong support that our energy sector has and I was pleased to once again be able to attend and participate.