Open letter: B.C. resource communities stepping up for pandemic recovery

Dear Premier Horgan:

Congratulations on the strong mandate you have received from British Columbians! We look forward to working with you and your Government over the next four years to recover and build back stronger from the pandemic.

As we have seen throughout the pandemic, BC has undergone a tremendous economic shock. Fortunately, BC's resource industries have been able to persevere during this period. Our mines have continued to operate, the forest sector was able to take advantage of soaring lumber prices during 2020, aquaculture continues to invest and innovate, and four major energy projects have kept British Columbia workers busy building the resource infrastructure of the future.

As mayors of resource-reliant communities all around BC, both rural and urban, we appreciate the tremendous support you have shown for working people and businesses by supporting foundational investments in natural resources. Energy, forestry and mining – as well as the construction and transportation needs associated with them – are among the resource areas that benefited greatly from your leadership and we know that does not happen by accident.

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Over the next four years, supporting responsible natural resource development will continue to be one of the most crucial things that you can do as Premier. Four fifths of BC’s goods exports are resource products. In some way, every community is a resource community. Even so, being a supporter isn’t always easy and we know that having the backing of direct resource communities like ours does help. Supporting natural resources means ensuring the right policies are in place, and including us in those policy discussions. 

While you bring together your new Cabinet to take on major challenges like the pandemic recovery, presenting an effective response to climate change and the important work of First Nations reconciliation, we, as the Mayors of resource-supporting communities around the province, want you to be assured that you will have our support in the work that is ahead. 

British Columbia relies on its natural resource product exports as a central pillar of sustaining—and improving—the economic well-being of our five million residents. Through the sale of goods and services to our provincial neighbours, and to other countries throughout the world, the natural resource sector both grows and diversifies the provincial economy. Early evidence strongly supports the view that enabling resource industries to succeed will be equally central in pandemic recovery.

We welcome the opportunity to share with you and your colleagues our thoughts on how the voices of resource communities can be heard around the Cabinet table and in your re-elected Government's mandate. 

We suggest starting with these core pillars:

  1. Move quickly to enable shovel-ready projects to proceed;

  2. Send the right messages to international investors to ensure that BC's most resilient industries can succeed in uncertain global investment conditions;

  3. Recognize in your economic planning the unique advantage of globally carbon competitive exports from BC's resource-based industries;

  4. Put workers and communities first as your government delivers on its campaign commitments;

  5. Ensure that any new regulations affecting the ability to deliver on the first four pillars during the pandemic recovery period are considered carefully

In addition to embracing the principles at the heart of economic recovery plans, we also suggest that you look for ways to enshrine them into the Mandate Letters being prepared for incoming Cabinet Ministers, so that they remain as an enduring featuring of delivering your mandate.

In the meantime, we look forward to stepping up in any way we can to further advance your pandemic recovery leadership.

Yours faithfully,

Mayor Lori Ackerman, Fort St. John

Mayor Walt Cobb, Williams Lake

Also approved and supported by:

Mayor Andy Adams, Campbell River
Mayor Allen Courtoreille, Chetwynd
Mayor Lee Pratt, Cranbrook
Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek
Mayor Michelle Staples, Duncan
Mayor Sarrah Storey, Fraser Lake
Mayor Brad Unger, Gold River
Mayor Phil Germuth, Kitimat
Mayor Joan Atkinson, Mackenzie
Mayor Linda Brown, Merritt
Mayor Gary Foster, Northern Rockies
Mayor Brad West, Port Coquitlam
Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, Port McNeill
Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Pouce Coupe
Mayor Doug McCallum, Surrey
Mayor Rob Fraser, Taylor
Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace
Mayor Keith Bertrand, Tumbler Ridge
Mayor Bruno Tassone, Castlegar

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