MLA-elect promises strong advocacy

  • May. 24, 2013 9:00 a.m.

“I know that it is my job to make sure we are heard.” That’s from newly-elected MLA Jennifer Rice, who also says the results in the May 14 election are “bittersweet” for her. “We worked hard and we ran a really good campaign. We had tremendous support. I am happy for the north and pretty gob-smacked at the provincial results. I think everyone is gob-smacked,” Ms Rice said. Ms Rice says she has a totally different frame of mind on going to Victoria, as up until the election, she thought she’d be part of an NDP government. “I have the fire in my belly, it’s just a different approach that I will have,” she said. Ms Rice won the vote by a significant margin, polling 1,801 votes more than the Liberal candidate, but provincially the Liberals pulled off a surprise victory, winning another majority in the legislature. Ms Rice has visited Haida Gwaii twice in 2013, once when she was running for the NDP nomination for the North Coast riding, the second time as the candidate just before the election. She heard islanders talk about BC Ferries, Enbridge and more. “I definitely heard that BC Ferries needs to be treated as a marine highway system and that the sky-high rates affect people’s ability to travel, (as well as affecting) food and freight (prices), she said, “just the desire to have rates back to a reason level”. Ms Rice said the ferry is a top concern, and hasimpacted Haida Gwaii in several ways, including hurting economic development and tourism. On another issue close to islanders, Ms Rice had the following to say: “Definitely no Enbridge, I’ve heard that up and down the coast, no oil tankers.” She also said she has heard that many people feel our area is not being heard in Victoria, because it is so remote. “I know that my job is to make sure we are heard,” she said. Will she be appointed an opposition critic, as her predecessor Gary Coons was? Too early to say, but she is interested. “I don’t know if I would get a critic-ship,” Ms Rice said, “it would be great if I did, all that is yet to be determined.” She thinks ferries would be good, but also has an interest in mental health advocacy and the environment. “I am grateful that so many people put their faith and confidence in me. I hope to do a good job to represent all our interests on the north coast. I have a strong work ethic. I will be a strong advocate,” Ms Rice said.