Skeena Riding MLA Ellis Ross said his brief stint as minister for natural gas development and housing in Christy Clark’s government was an eye opener and will count as valuable experience towards his position as MLA.
“What you read in the paper about government is just the tip of the iceberg. I never realised how much work goes into issues like housing across B.C.,” said Ross, who admits he now has a healthy respect for the work done by the ministry, especially for people at risk.
“Without a doubt, when it comes to housing, I hope the NDP don’t change any of the programs or funding around housing,” added Ross.
He said his attitude towards the development of LNG in the province hasn’t changed even though he is no longer the minister.
“It’s a well-known fact that the Liberals support natural gas development. Right now, the only thing stopping the development of LNG in the province is the markets,” said Ross.
He admits that like many he didn’t fully understand the NDP’s attitude towards LNG, and that ultimately it would be government processes and the policies that will dictate the direction of the LNG industry in the province.
“I won’t be looking out for political statements – I’ll be looking for policy statements,” said Ross. “If they oppose LNG and Site C, I will be opposing them. It wasn’t just a campaign slogan for me – we need revenue, otherwise this province will end up in a deficit.”
Ross said it was going to be interesting seeing how the NDP and the Green Party worked together on issues like LNG.
“It’s not just about Horgan – the NDP needed the Green vote to take power in the house, but they are also going to need that vote to get policies approved,” said Ross. “With the Greens having taken some strong positions, I don’t know how they’re going to do it.”
He said he was looking forward to seeing how the alliance voted on LNG, which he said would be on hold until the NDP drafted a throne speech and a budget.
“They are very experienced as opposition, but being government is a totally different ballgame. They are going to have a tough time,” he added.
Looking forward, Ross said the Terrace constituency office will soon be open under the guidance of his recently appointed constituency assistant, Gina Versteege.
The office is the same office that was used by MLA Robin Austin, at 4710 Lazelle Ave. in Terrace.
Versteege said while the office wouldn’t open still for a couple of weeks, any constituent wanting to raise an issue with the MLA is welcome to contact her directly.
“Once the constituency phone is hooked up there will be a proper landline,” said Versteege. “We are forming a team that will be looking at securing space for a part-time office in Kitimat. They will also get the office up and running.”
She said constituents wanting to enquire whether Ross will attend events are also welcome to contact her.
Versteege can be contacted at 250-922-4960, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org