B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s campaign bus rolled through Cranbrook and Kimberley yesterday, Tuesday, April 30.
With an entourage of dozens of staff, reporters and security officers, the Premier made three stops while in the East Kootenay.
First, starting at noon, she toured Fab Rite Services in Cranbrook to see the steel fabrication business in action.
Premier Clark met Kootenay East MLA candidate Bill Bennett for the tour, where she talked to machinists who crafted a steel plate for her reading “B.C. strong economy”.
After seeing Fab Rite in full swing, Premier Clark held a media conference where she talked about the B.C. Liberals’ job plan and how it has contributed to a strong economy.
“A strong economy needs strong leadership, and strong leadership means saying yes to economic opportunities. It means helping companies like this one succeed by holding the line on taxes, by cutting red tape. It means a jobs plan that drives growth in the resource industries, in mining, forestry and natural gas, that the people in these communities in the Kootenays depend on so much for their livelihood,” said Premier Clark.
“Because we’ve controlled spending and we are growing this economy, we are making sure that major investments in East Kootenay Regional Hospital are possible, including a brand new intensive care unit. That’s how we can prepare for other important investments that this community and Bill have been fighting passionately for, (such as) replacing Mount Baker high school, or the Salvation Army homeless shelter.”
When asked how the B.C. Liberals government will help solve the skilled workers shortage in the East Kootenay and the bleed of young professionals to urban centres, Premier Clark gave a straightforward answer.
“We need to keep investing in the College of the Rockies,” she said. “We want to make sure that not only are our young people able to be first in line for jobs here in British Columbia, but we want them to find the training they need in the region in which they live and then find a job in the region in which they live if that’s what they choose. Because we do know that if people leave a community, they often don’t come back. And I don’t think people want to leave in the first place. Anybody who’s born and raised in the Kootenays wouldn’t leave if they had a choice.
“We’ve been very clear and focused on making sure we are investing in post secondary education on a regional level and then making sure we are trying to match the education we provide with the jobs we believe are going to be created in the local community. So mining, forestry, and those specific trades related jobs are hugely important for people here.”
After touring Fab Rite, Premier Clark got back into her campaign bus and headed to Kimberley at 2 p.m.
In Kimberley, Premier Clark dropped into a number of Platzl businesses. She made a coffee stop at the Snowdrift Cafe, checked out the under-construction climbing wall, and visited La Lune de Chocolate.
She was met in Kimberley by B.C. Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok. Clovechok’s campaign manager Todd Mitchell said he felt the B.C. Liberal campaign was gaining momentum in Columbia River Revelstoke.
Clovechok himself promised to jump the splash pond at Spring Splash next year if he wins the MLA’s seat.
Finally, Clark returned to Cranbrook at 5 p.m. for a political rally at the Heritage Inn.
Around 200 people gathered in a ball room at the hotel to hear the premier speak about the B.C. Liberals campaign and endorse Bill Bennett and Doug Clovechok as MLA candidates.
Premier Clark called Bennett “one of the most iconoclastic and independent minded MLAs in British Columbia”.
“That’s what you deserve – an MLA who will speak his mind passionately on behalf of his communities,” she said.
“We know what built the Kootenays – ‘yes’. As today’s B.C. Liberals, we believe in finding ways to build the economy.”
With files from Carolyn Grant, Kimberley Daily Bulletin