A new year is here, and in many ways, it feels like a fresh slate. A new beginning for B.C. We’ve hopefully put the worst of a worldwide pandemic behind us and the optimist in me thinks we emerged wiser, perhaps even stronger. Now, as a government, we have a lot of work to do.
Before I get to that, I must thank former Premier John Horgan for decades of service to the province of British Columbia. He steered us through the most trying time of this young century. He was a rock who showed us what leadership looks like. John Horgan retired from his role as premier with the highest approval rating of any premier in Canada, and it is a well-earned distinction. He also became a friend and mentor I could always turn to for wise counsel. Thank you, Premier Horgan.
Our new premier, David Eby, has hit the ground running in his first 100 days, and entrusted me with a host of additional responsibilities in government. These appointments are both challenging, exciting and complement my role as MLA for Nelson-Creston.
As I prepare for the spring session and look at my calendar it is hard to believe that I will be away from the Kootenays for the vast majority of the time until June. I am looking forward to working alongside my colleagues to pass legislation that will improve the lives of British Columbians.
Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism
In December, Premier Eby appointed me as parliamentary secretary for tourism. The Kootenays are one of the most magnificent tourism destinations in British Columbia and I will work across B.C. to support the sector as it continues to recover and rebuild from the pandemic.
I will focus on supporting rural tourism, eco-tourism and expanding agri-tourism with food producers, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and farm-to-gate cannabis producers. Cannabis production is a historical yet emerging industry and we are world leaders in B.C. The tourism sector itself is made up of some of the best festival, arts, and outdoor adventure entrepreneurs in the world (it’s no coincidence cat- and heli-skiing were both invented in the Kootenays) and it’s going to be a pleasure learning from them and helping ensure these sectors thrive across B.C.
Member of the Treasury Board
This is another new job and a tremendous honour.
It’s led by Finance Minister Katrine Conroy, our neighbouring MLA representing Kootenay-West. Fourteen B.C. MLAs are given the responsibility of serving on Treasury Board and reviewing budget allocations across government. To develop the budget, Treasury Board receives submissions from each ministry alongside recommendations from Treasury Board staff.
I am grateful to have mentors like Minister Conroy to guide me through the process of deciding how billions of dollars will be allocated, addressing critically important priorities across British Columbia.
Premier’s Special Advisor on Youth
I am often reminded that I am the youngest MLA in the B.C. legislature, so why not use my relative youth (at 36 years old I would be considered a veteran if I was a hockey player) to my advantage and help young people thrive in the Kootenays and our province.
I truly love being a representative for young people who want to have their voices and perspectives heard in Victoria. One of the most rewarding aspects of my youth file is developing and working with the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council. This diverse group of young people from across the province express ideas on topics ranging from environmental policy to workers’ rights, making public transit safer and education. Their voices are heard.
The most important thing I do as a member of the B.C. Legislature is serving the constituents of Nelson-Creston.
I’ve lived around the world, in cities and rural areas, but the Kootenays has always and will always be my home. We know that rural folks face different challenges than British Columbians in urban centres. Together, my colleagues from rural B.C. and I work together to ensure that a rural lens is applied to government decisions. Our government is committed to representing everyone in British Columbia, making our rural voices very important. We are passionate about giving residents “beyond hope” a voice in government. We meet regularly and work directly with staff, our colleagues and Premier Eby to deliver for rural people.
The top priority in my role as MLA does not change and never will — to serve the people of Nelson-Creston, both in the riding and Victoria. That will always be goal number one and I have incredible staff in the Kootenays to help me deliver for you. I thank my staff, Anna and Sarah, as well as the folks I work with in Victoria who help me advocate on your behalf. Giving you a voice is the essence of the job, and we will continue to do the best job we can on your behalf.
Wishing everyone all the best in 2023.
Brittny Anderson is MLA for Nelson-Creston.