Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes is back from the BC Liberal convention in Penticton over the weekend.
Oakes says one of the items on the agenda was a potential name change for the party because there can be a lot of brand confusion.
“We are a big tent party and we have both federal Conservatives and federal Liberals as part of our party, but a lot of the times having the name Liberal in our name has created a lot of confusion.”
Oakes says they have until the end of the year to go through a consultative process with members to look at a variety of options.
“Of course there are legal implications with Elections BC to change the name so we are making sure that we do a comprehensive review, and making sure that members feel heard and listened to. We are a a party that is inclusive for people that are looking at the importance of free enterprise and small business, while also making sure the fundamental principles of looking after the vulnerable, making sure that we are focused on healthcare and education, remain key components of the principles of our party.”
Oakes says there were a lot of young people at the convention.
“I was incredibly impressed with the amount of young people that were at the convention that were fully engaged. And they challenged the members to be looking at a variety of different things that are important for young people, and I think that’s a critical part of as we look as a party what renewal looks like, that we’re listening to that next generation.
She says affordability was top of mind, not only for younger people but for all generations.
“We heard loud and clear that changes needed to be made, everything from housing to healthcare to education.”
Oakes says the opioid crisis was also discussed at length every day, adding that we need to look at more than just a safe drug supply, but recovery as well.
“We have to look at all of the pillars if we’re going to make a difference in this. And he (Kevin Falcon) stated a story of some of the people he had talked to. In one particular case a mother who took out a double mortgage on her home to try and get her young son in treatment, and I hear those stories in my office. It’s tragic and we absolutely are failing people. We are failing families unless we find support for treatment and a whole host of supports for people that are dealing with not only opioids, but the addiction crisis in general and mental health challenges as well.”
Oakes says better services are needed, especially in smaller and rural communities.