I feel honoured to be able to write to you for the first time as the MLA for Cariboo North and the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. My first week in this new role has been a busy one, getting to know my staff and learning more about the programs administered by the ministry. I had the chance to attend the ministry’s public service week event earlier this week, meeting the people that work so closely with communities across our province. Community involvement is something very close to my heart, which is why this role is a perfect fit for me.

With a focus on helping communities grow and attract investment, this is a very exciting ministry to work in. We have an incredible LNG opportunity here in B.C., and the ministry is key to ensuring that communities benefit from it; through benefit-sharing agreements with communities throughout the north, we will ensure that they share in the prosperity that LNG will bring to our province.

We will also continue to build partnerships with communities and non-profit organizations here in the Cariboo and throughout the province, providing them with financial support and technical advice. The community gaming grants program, for example, funds many worthy recipients in areas such as public safety and environmental protection. Culture and sport are also vitally important to creating healthy, vibrant communities. The ministry will continue to provide support to the BC Arts Council and to cultural organizations throughout the province, help communities host major sporting events, and support training for athletes and their coaches.

My work as the MLA for Cariboo North and the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development has just begun, but I feel great about the direction we are heading.


*This column was originally written for, and published by, the Williams Lake Tribune. You can read MLA Coralee Oakes’ column every Tuesday in the Tribune.