Following the defeat of the BC Liberal government after the Speech from the Throne, Black Press spoke to Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegert about what transpired and what’s ahead. The following is an edited version of that interview:
What is your assessment of what happened last week?
Jackie Tegert: Well last week saw debate on a Throne Speech that was put forward based on what we heard through the election. Certainly the message was loud and clear that people are looking for a government that works together, that looks at all the ideas that we put forward during the campaign, and I think the throne speech reflected that.
Do you think we should have another election?
Tegert: Well the lieutenant-governor had two choices to make, one was to call an election, an immediate election, or to invite the NDP/Green coalition to form a government. Her choice was to invite John Horgan to form a government. We’ll move on from here and we will be the most effective opposition that we possibly can be.
But do you think voters want an election, your party asked for one?
Tegert: Well it will remain to be seen because with a one vote majority it’s going to be a very interesting time in the legislature. This is a situation that has not happened for quite some time, and everybody will be watching. I’m not sure that it provides the stability that perhaps people are looking for but we will see.
How do you feel about a throne speech with so many policy shifts taken right out of the NDP platform?
Tegert: Well I think that the throne speech reflected that the Liberal government, the Liberal party, won 43 seats we won the election, but it was so very close and so the message is loud and clear that people are looking for a government that listens, looks at the issues that are important and I think that this throne speech tries very hard to address that.
I’m one who believes that you need to listen to constituents and you need to listen to voters.
How long do you think the Horgan government will last?
Tegert: I have no idea. I’m only going in to my second term and I all I can do is to commit to represent my constituents in a loud voice and be committed to a very strong position. What that looks like in the legislature I can’t tell you what it will look like.
What should Fraser-Nicola voters be concerned about with an NDP-Green government?
Tegert: Extremely concerned about job creation. Throughout Fraser-Nicola we have been extremely supportive of Kinder Morgan and the job creation that comes with [that]. We have the forest industry that is in decline. In my riding the annual allowable cut is down and we are looking for job creation.
When the NDP and Greens talk about shutting down Site C and giving out pink slips, it’s not just people in the north that are working on Site C, it’s people throughout British Columbia and those people are counting on those jobs.
Kinder Morgan is important to our region as it’s a great many jobs in the area for a long period of time. It would be extremely helpful in our transition because we just had a mill shut down around Christmas.
I know there is concern in regards to a rural-urban divide, and I think it’s critical that whoever is governing the province of B.C. recognize that rural B.C. cannot survive without urban and same the other way around, the urban area cannot survive without the resources of the rural area.
How much division is there in the BC Liberals?
Tegert: I don’t see any division. I see a strong committed group that ran very hard in the campaign and were committed to a united and strong opposition. That’s where we happen to be right now and we will do the best job we can to hold people accountable.