Stewart: New premier sets direction for B.C., putting families first

Last Monday saw Christy Clark sworn in as British Columbia’s 35th premier—only the second woman to hold the province’s top job.

Last Monday saw Christy Clark sworn in as British Columbia’s 35th premier—only the second woman to hold the province’s top job.

Though she is a well-known name, many are wondering what type of person she is and what kind of government she will lead.

I have found Premier Clark to be deeply familiar with the concerns we all have about British Columbia’s economy and the fragile nature of our recovery from the global financial crisis.

She is very engaged with these economic issues, and I am encouraged by her desire to put an emphasis on expanding our revenues from our resource communities.

Her commitment to strengthening the resource sector – and the economy overall – is driven in large part by her intense focus on helping B.C. families.

Premier Clark ran for leader with a promise to put families first, and she has a very clear understanding of how important jobs are to families.

She knows delivering on this promise requires a renewed emphasis on job creation in every part of the province.

Another key promise Premier Clark made when running for leader was to reduce the size of cabinet and to make sure that all MLAs have a voice.

Truly engaging with British Columbians and making sure their MLAs are empowered is fundamental to rebuilding trust with the people of British Columbia, and I for one welcome this change in tone and approach.

The most important thing for me, for Premier Clark and for all of my colleagues in this government, is to ensure that we put families first.

All of us are united as a team and making sure that we act on the concerns of British Columbians and put families at the centre of all our decisions is priority number one.

I am excited to be a part of this new government, and I look forward as the new government whip to working with Premier Clark and the new cabinet on the critical issues facing British Columbia—concerns British Columbians have shared with me as well during my travels throughout the province.

Together, we will work on boosting economic growth in every community across the province—the single most important thing we can do to support families and strengthen the critical services we all rely on, particularly health and education.

Evidence of this commitment to job creation is the establishment of a new B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation headed by Pat Bell.

The fact is, without growing the economy, we will struggle to maintain these critical services—let alone improve them.

That is why I will put all my energy into supporting Premier Clark in the work ahead to strengthen the economy, so that B.C. families have good jobs and better services.

There is much work to be done in order to keep the economy moving and to get back to balanced budgets.

And frankly, there is also some work to be done to repair our relationship with the people of British Columbia. I can assure you that this work is already underway—and I am proud to have the chance to contribute.

Ben Stewart is the Liberal MLA for the Westside-Kelowna riding.