Season’s greetings and happy new year to everyone in the North Island. This past year our government has been working hard to make life more affordable and improve the services people count on.
Of course we had our challenges, it has been an extremely difficult number of months for many families and businesses with the long strike by the United Steelworkers and Western Forest Products. I have been meeting with people, working on solutions, and just before Christmas was in Port McNeill and Port Hardy with Minister of Forests, Doug Donaldson.
I’m very pleased we have been able to eliminate MSP premiums, putting more money back in the pockets of people. Families are saving as much as $1,800.
One of the proudest moments as a government this year was passing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act which brings the internationally recognized standards of Indigenous peoples into provincial law. This sets the stage for future agreements like our landmark work in the Broughton Archipelago, working government to government with First Nations and on side with the aquaculture industry. This is reconciliation in action as we work together to protect and restore wild salmon stocks while working with industry.
Our government also recognizes that ferries are an integral part of our community, and we are working hard to improve service. As the Minister of Transportation of this new government, I was able to reverse cuts to sailings carried out by the BC Liberals having a direct impact on people living and working on the coast.
We also brought back the 100-per-cent weekday seniors’ passenger fare discount, meaning those over 65 can ride ferries for free Monday to Thursday.
We’re delivering on the services people count on by fighting to keep the Port Alice Health Centre open so people can continue to access quality health care when and where they need it. We’ve also made investments in the hospital in Campbell River and we are expanding the Nurse Practioner programme.
I’m proud of the work our government has done to make life better and more affordable, and I’m looking forward to continuing that work in the year ahead. There’s more to do, and I’m ready to go.
My best for a good new year.
— Claire Trevena, North Island MLA