B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark speaks at a campaign rally in Nanaimo on Monday evening. NICHOLAS PESCOD The News Bulletin

Updated: B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark attends rally in Nanaimo

B.C. premier touts economic success and Island-specific plan

Vancouver Island needs elected officials on the government’s side of the legislature, says B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark.

The B.C. premier made the comments during a candidate rally at Inuktun Services in Nanaimo Monday afternoon, where she spoke in support of Liberal candidates Alana DeLong (Nanaimo-North Cowichan), Michelle Stilwell (Parksville-Qualicum Beach) and Paris Gaudet (Nanaimo).

Clark, who is also seeking re-election, told a crowd of about 40 people that British Columbia’s economy is “on a roll” and that the Island’s voice is stronger and economically better with members of the Liberal party in office.

“Vancouver Island needs men and women who are going to fight for this province on the government’s side of the house … it’s time that Nanaimo and the mid-Island has advocates and champions who will go to Victoria and tell us what you want,” she said.

Clark stressed the importance of political stability during a time of global uncertainty, adding that the province’s economy is the best in the country. She said it would be an economic mistake to elect another political party to power and that her party will continue to create jobs, particularly on Vancouver Island.

“We are going to make sure that British Columbia stays on a roll because what you need is champions like Alana, like Michelle, like Paris,” she said. “These women are going to champion the tech business; champion the forest workers in our province; make sure we are standing up for mining; make sure that our economy is number one and make sure that jobs are number one.”

Clark later told the News Bulletin she believes her party can win more seats on Vancouver Island than it did in the previous election.

She said Nanaimo residents should vote for Liberal candidates because they will give the region badly needed representation in Victoria.

“This part of the province deserves real champions who are going to fight for jobs in this region. In Nanaimo you deserve as much prosperity as anybody else in the province does,” she said.

The Nanaimo ridings are a target for the B.C. Liberals, who recently announced an Island-specific plan that includes a promise to implement a limited tax credit for 25 per cent of ferry fares for residents of ferry-dependent communities.

“We know living on an Island can be really expensive, so [we are] investing in a B.C. Ferries plan, which is going to be a little cheaper for people,” Clark said.

Clark said the Island’s agriculture, technology and craft brewery industries are prime examples of province’s economic diversity under her party’s leadership, adding that the Liberals, if elected, would continue to grow the Island’s economy.

“If we can elect more B.C. Liberal MLAs in the mid-Island, then we are really going to be able to build prosperity and jobs here for our kids,” she said.

The election is May 9.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com