BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok speak with attendees at the Chamber lunch Thursday, October 17th. Photo by Lorene Keitch

BC Liberal leader guest speaker at CVCC lunch

Andrew Wilkinson talks interprovincial healthcare, forestry, and more at Chamber gathering

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson was the special guest speaker at a meeting in Invermere last week.

Mr. Wilkinson shared his views about provincial politics today with about 25-30 attendees at a Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce-hosted lunch on Thursday, October 17th. He touched on some hot topics in B.C. right now, including forestry, the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the healthcare spat between B.C. and Alberta.

“There’s this unfortunate thing going on where our current government has decided to pick a big fight with Alberta about the Trans Mountain pipeline, and other things. And that flows out into this community in a very real way,” Mr. Wilkinson said.

Alberta hospitals are still turning away B.C. residents from non-emergency procedures. Mr. Wilkinson had much to say on the topic. He talked about the challenge of patients getting to Kelowna or Vancouver instead of Calgary.

“All of you can get to Foothills with your eyes closed. But going to Kelowna is no joke,” he commented.

When the new provincial government was elected in Alberta this year (ousting their NDP governing party), the BC Liberal party reached out to open up discussions. Doug Clovechok, MLA for Columbia-River Revelstoke, has been spearheading the issue, Mr. Wilkinson reported.

After speaking at length about the forestry industry and the challenges ahead, he also talked about small business taxation, the rise in regulations affecting small business owners, ICBC rates, the housing crisis, and his opponent’s approach to homelessness and addictions, citing more support is needed in all these areas than the current government is providing.

“We’ve got to be the place where people feel like they can play by the rules, be treated fairly, and make progress in their lives,” Mr. Wilkinson said. “What we’re seeing right now is a very divisive government that’s creating a huge amount of liabilities that somebody’s going to have to clean up in a few years. But Doug (Clovechok) and I are quite happy to take that on.”

Mr. Wilkinson spoke highly of our local MLA, with the size of the riding and the number of different issues in individual communities.

“He’s been a very effective representative for this riding,” Mr. Wilkinson said.

By way of introduction of Mr. Wilkinson, Mr. Clovechok talked about when they first met and how impressed he had been with the future leader of the BC Liberal party.

“It’s my privilege and my pleasure to serve for the people of Columbia River-Revelstoke. But I tell you, I wouldn’t serve for any other leader except this guy right here,” said Mr. Clovechok.

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