North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney. (Campbell River Mirror photo)

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney. (Campbell River Mirror photo)

MP Blaney invites feds to establish B.C.’s economic development agency on Vancouver Island

Citing the recent economic challenges faced by her riding, the MP says there’s no region more fitting of this mandate

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has invited the federal government to establish the planned economic development agency for B.C. on Vancouver Island.

Blaney called on federal Minister of Economic Development Melanie Joly to establish the agency in her riding based on the recent economic challenges faced by her riding, including a 10-month forestry strike, Powell River mill curtailment, sports fishing restrictions, salmon farm closures and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new Regional Economic Development Agency for BC was announced in the federal government’s fall economic update. The details of the new agency have yet to be announced, but Minister Joly has been consulting with British Columbians on what it should look like.

In her letter to Joly, Blaney pointed to the minister’s mandate to work with Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to develop a blue economy strategy to grow the ocean economy and create good jobs and opportunities for coastal communities while advancing reconciliation and conservation objectives.

“There is no region more fitting of this mandate than the one I represent,” said Blaney in the statement.

Blaney cited her recent private members motion M-53: principles of a sustainable and equitable future stating that “Canada’s economic recovery from COVID-19 must include a multi-lens approach on support for rural and remote regions.”

“Having a government office in one of our communities would allow your department to experience first-hand the challenges of connectivity and transportation in rural and remote regions, which can only lead to better local economic outcomes for all who are to be served by this agency,” said Blaney.

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