Premier Horgan to be greeted by resource rally in Prince George

Premier John Horgan will be greeted by a truck convoy and resource rally next week ahead of his address to the annual B.C. Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.

A convoy of trucks and service vehicles led by Resource Workers United and The North Matters will launch Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m. Seven speakers are expected to address the rally outside the Prince George civic centre starting at 11:30 a.m.

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"Many Western Canadian families are struggling under forestry closure and foreign-funded interference in our resource development," said Dave Johnston, founder of The North Matters, in a press release.

"With thousands of people out of work, the only solution is for resource people to unite and offer solutions. Our goal is to combine and amplify those voices."

It's the second year the rally has been held to coincide with the Natural Resources Forum. Last year's event drew about 50 people.

The 17th annual event runs Jan. 28 to 30, and will feature a lineup of high-profile speakers including Premier John Horgan, a slate of provincial cabinet ministers, industry leaders, and First Nations and local government representatives, as well as an industry trade show.

Sarah Weber, president and CEO of event organizers C3 Alliance Corp., said she expects attendance to be strong. Last year, more than 1,100 delegates attended the three-day event.

"We're tracking about 10 per cent ahead of last year (for registrations)," Weber said. "And again our trade show is fully sold with 74 exhibitors."

This year's forum will include the unveiling of a provincial first: a B.C. natural resources survey, Weber said. The forum organizers partnered with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce to conduct the survey, the results of which will be released during the forum.

"We want to track the pulse of the natural resources sector," Weber said.

More than 1,000 people from a wide variety of backgrounds - including 50% of participants who don't have direct ties to the natural resource sector - she added.

The theme of the event is Strengthening B.C.'s Competitive Advantage.

"It's really getting back to what is so special about B.C.'s natural resources sector," Weber said.

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