Penticton MLA Dan Ashton has been appointed as the Official Opposition Critic for Municipal Affairs.
Ashton will be focusing on how the provincial government treats and deals with municipal governments, whether they are rural or regional district or more urban.
He says he looks forward to working Opposite Minister Josie Osborne, and says together they will ensure the concerns of all municipalities are addressed. He promises to hear everyone.
“The rural areas make up a substantial portion of the province, where they have their own issues. The difference between the Lower Mainland and the Interior can unfortunately be night and day. I personally think that a lot of people in the Lower Mainland don’t realize where the resources come from for the benefits they have,” said Ashton.
As Municipal Affairs affects so many British Columbians, making sure to recognize the needs of each municipality, and balance them, will be some of the challenges Ashton will face. However he admitted this will be difficult in today’s world.
“It’s different. I know when Minister [Selina] Robinson held the position with the government in the last term, and before when she was the critic, she was everywhere,” said Ashton. “With COVID unfortunately, you’re not in, you can’t see what’s transpiring.”
Ashton noted that the virus ‘will be here until we get a vaccine’, and that the magnitude of its impact ‘can’t be understated’ nor can its broad reach from schools to individuals to businesses.
”We need to be very tolerant right now, and I encourage, shop local whenever possible,” said Ashton. “Think about it, because those local merchants are the ones that help provide for minor hockey, for minor soccer, for dance. A lot of the benefits this community has, has come through the volunteerism of the business community.
“We have to ensure that we all pull together in this. We all have to work together in this to get out.”
In addition to shopping locally, Ashton also noted that there are others in the community who need assistance as well.
Prior to the 2020 election, Ashton was selected to be the official opposition’s Agri-Tourism critic.
“As the Official Opposition, we have a responsibility to make sure the NDP deals with the critical issues facing British Columbians. I’m proud to work with a talented team of passionate MLAs who will use their diverse skills and experience to ask tough questions, raise important issues, and work hard on behalf of their constituents,” said Bond in a press-release on Ashton’s most recent appointment.
As MLA Ashton also served as Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Finance, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Responsible for Core Review, a member of the Treasury Board, and as Chair of Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.
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