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Greater Victoria, BC News


Date ArticleType
7/1/2013 Published Article
Connecting with Cabinet

Last month there was a swell of news surrounding Premier Clark’s first moves following her May 14th election win. From creating the new Ministry of Natural Gas Development to spreading her focus throughout BC, we’re seeing a changing landscape as she begins her term.  Part of that change is a more inclusive vision of BC expanding well beyond the borders of Greater Vancouver. The premier will run for a seat in Westside-Kelowna, setting a by-election for July 10th. She made a concerted effort appointing ministers that represent a wide variety of regions in BC, in addition to those in Metro Vancouver, and seeks a Westside-Kelowna seat to reflect this mandate.

The premier’s new Cabinet will offer some fresh perspectives to the ongoing issues facing the province, bringing with it a range of diverse skills and backgrounds. The Chamber is eager to form new relationships with Cabinet to address local concerns, as well as continue the strong relationships with the ministers who have a long history of involvement with the chamber movement.

Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and the Minister Responsible for Core Review, was previously first vice-chair of the board of the BC Chamber and has already lead the ministry in the past. Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, was previously Executive Director of the Quesnel & District Chamber. Steve Thomson returns as Minister of Forests, Land and Natural Resources, and is a former BC Chamber board chair. Lastly, Naomi Yamamoto has maintained her role as the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and is also a former BC Chamber board chair. Yamamoto continues partnering with the BC Chamber, pushing forward initiatives that support small business needs. Small businesses represent 98 percent of all business in BC, making this relationship critically important. 

As always, The Chamber will continue strengthening its relationship with island MLAs, particularly Don McRae, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, as he will be Vancouver Island’s voice within the Liberal Cabinet. In addition, the Chamber will meet with the new Minister of Transportation Todd Stone to discuss the transportation issues facing southern Vancouver Island, such as BC Ferries and transportation planning.

Having ministers that understand the power of chambers and the importance of business in driving the success of BC is critical. The next few months will present an opportunity to represent the business community to our revitalized government, a task which The Chamber is eager to continue.

By Bruce Carter
CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

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