Michael Goehring was in the audience last week when British Columbia’s Premier delivered a mostly upbeat speech to the Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.
Mr. Goehring is president and chief executive officer of the Mining Association of BC, one of the key industries represented – along with oil and gas and forestry – that has been hammered in the past year, and he wanted to hear what Premier John Horgan was going to do to help.
“I have never been more optimistic about B.C.’s future,” the Premier told the conference. Yes, Mr. Horgan acknowledged, there are challenges, particularly in forestry. But he listed off the province’s advantages – a low carbon profile, strong infrastructure, a skilled work force and a commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
He highlighted the efforts his government is making to get more jobs out of each tree that is cut, to encourage mining investments and to provide services to the rural communities where those sectors operate.
Until now, those advantages may have been enough to keep the economy humming. His NDP government, in power since 2017, has enjoyed solid economic growth – relative to the rest of Canada – that has allowed it to pursue its agenda to tackle poverty and climate action, and to make life more affordable for ordinary British Columbians.