Premier Christy Clark is selling a dream for Vancouver Island’s economic future.
The premier, in full-on election hyperbole, at the 2016 State of the Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo told attendees she has big plans for the Island. And she was saying a lot of the right things.
Clark revealed that her government is working on a comprehensive economic investment plan for Vancouver Island, to be revealed in time for next spring’s election. We hope this plan offers ideas and we expect it will include funding commitments, but we should keep in mind that a government seeking re-election would be making those sorts of promises anyway. Branding them as a Vancouver Island solution might be nothing more than a different sort of packaging.
We liked her expressed desire to hear ideas from business and industry leaders. Sometimes politicians feign that they’re listening leading up to an election and the genuine work to create partnerships doesn’t happen until afterward, but communication and co-operation need to be ongoing.
It is important that our business leaders and entrepreneurs feel confident about the present and encouraged about the future and Clark spoke compellingly, if vaguely, to that effect.
In the past, Clark and her Liberal government sold voters on a vision of LNG-fuelled jobs and wealth. Due to factors her government couldn’t control, didn’t foresee or chose to ignore, that future isn’t yet upon us. Although the premier has rightly tempered her messaging on LNG, we will wait and see what sort of prominence it is given come the spring’s election campaign.
That campaign hasn’t technically started, but of course it’s underway and it can no longer be separated from anything we’re hearing from the B.C. Liberals, NDP and other parties. The cancellation of the fall sitting of the legislature gives all involved a sort of head start on the hustings.
In Nanaimo, the premier had her say on the economic future of the Island and B.C. The NDP and the Greens won’t be far behind.
Two things are assured: voters will be watching carefully and will get their say soon enough.