A prime example of community partners working together took place last Friday, Nov. 9, when Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce in sponsoring a luncheon at the Royal Canadian Legion in Clearwater, with the featured guest of honour being Premier Christy Clark.
The luncheon was announced just one week before the event, with tickets made available from both Chamber offices, and quickly sold out to residents from both communities.
Chamber presidents, Jeff Lamond of Clearwater, and Scott Kershaw of Barriere welcomed the Premier and luncheon attendees to the event, and then Simpcw First Nation Chief Rita Matthew officially welcomed the gathering to the Simpcw traditional territory. Matthew said she was very happy about the good relationship the communities in the area have as they work together on current projects and planning for the future.
Young Clearwater singer, Lisa Lee Campbell, sang a very moving rendition of O’ Canada; even the Premier commented on how Lisa’s voice was so impressive that no one else in the room sang along.
“Good things come in small packages,” said Clark, “Lisa Lee is amazing. All across this great province there are hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Lisa Lee – I think I’ve met the next Olympian!”
Minister of the Environment Terry Lake, who is the MLA for Kamloops North Thompson, also addressed the guests and introduced Premier Christy Clark, noting he has worked with the Premier “… for the past year-and-a-half, and I have to say I don’t know anyone who works this hard, as well as parenting her son.”
Clark said she was delighted to be back in Clearwater, although it had been a few years. She thanked the Simpcw for sharing their traditional territory, and noted how appropriate it was to be holding the luncheon in the Legion Hall with Remembrance Day just a few days away.
“We must never forget the tremendous contribution that veterans have, and are making for us. We should never forget,” said Clark, “A very special thank you to the folks at the Legion for all that you do all year in making sure that we never forget.
Clark also said she wanted to commend all members of both Chambers “For your ongoing commitment to community building. Members come from a diversity of backgrounds ranging from forestry and agriculture, to hospitality, adventure tourism, retail, food and service industries and home-based businesses. Together you are focusing on creating local jobs, driving the local economies and enabling local communities to be the best they can be. Thank you for all that you are doing to ensure the people, families and businesses within your communities grow stronger. Together we are building a bright future for all British Columbians.”
Clark also noted in regard to where the province was headed in the future, “It isn’t about opinions, appearances, or the polls. It’s about following the plan and making sure that we are going forward in the right direction. Let’s talk about ideas. Let BC’ers decide about which ideas they will choose for their province and their direction.
“Our BC Jobs Plan is working. The Provincial Government understands the importance of having a job and of increasing employment opportunities for people across British Columbia. We are growing our economy; attracting new investment; and, promoting our products and our proximity to the Asia Pacific. We are number one in Canada in job growth and our skills training plan is designed to train our youth for a career in the trades, so that British Columbians will be the first to fill the further anticipated one million job openings here.
“It’s about people working and having a paycheque, and being able to take a paycheque home. We have to create jobs on a Regional basis. We want to be able to look back in five years and see rural communities aren’t shrinking anymore.”
Clark added that the unemployment rate is now at 4.6 per cent in the Kamloops area. “That’s great, and means these communities are going to grow and thrive. You want your kids to have a job. If you raised your child in this community, you want that child to have the chance to stay and work in this community.”
In regards to the BC Liberals she said, “We’re not perfect. We got some things right, and we’ve also got some wrong. But we got the big things right; such as making sure B.C. continues to grow as we look after the economy. Yes, we have to create jobs, but we also have to make sure that life is affordable for people who are struggling. You worked hard for that money; you make better choices on how to use that money to better support your family. I’m not going to tell you what’s best for your family or your community.”
Clark said the government’s priorities are to keep taxes low, balancing the budget and encouraging trade with China.
Clearwater Mayor John Harwood noted that the community’s unemployment rate is “a little higher than Kamloops”. He noted the North Thompson Valley was very much in need of power to bring in more industry and more jobs, and he thanked the Premier “…for sitting at that table.”
Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick was also in attendance and told the gathering he had been “..talking to ranchers and orchardists, trying to make sure we are doing things right in support of these families in the agriculture business.”
Other guests at the head table included District of Barriere Councillor Pat Paula who was acting mayor for the event, and Thompson Nicola Regional District Chair Randy Murray.
The Royal Canadian Legion, and the Aboriginal Sharing Centre presented gifts to Premier Clark , Chief Matthew, and Lisa Lee Campbell.