NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C.’s economic recovery minister says getting through pandemic will be team approach

Kahlon, 41, said he will consult broadly on the recovery

The British Columbia cabinet minister appointed to lead the province’s COVID-19 pandemic recovery says he plans to mount a large team effort from inside and outside of government to spur economic success.

Ravi Kahlon, a former Canadian Olympian in field hockey, said he will look to involve ministries, businesses, communities and workers in an effort to provide immediate help to struggling businesses and steer towards a post-pandemic future focused on innovation.

“We have to have everyone working together,” he said in a recent interview.

“You look at how businesses have worked together with government to deliver pieces during the pandemic,” said Kahlon. “That’s the same mentality we’re going to need when we get out. We can put critical pieces in place, incentives and supports, so that we can bounce back at a rate which most people in B.C. expect.”

Premier John Horgan appointed Kahlon as jobs, economic recovery and innovation minister last week, saying he piled enormous responsibilities onto the two-term New Democrat from suburban Vancouver and expected results.

Horgan appointed his cabinet following last month’s election where the NDP won a majority government, capturing 57 of 87 seats.

Kahlon, 41, who previously served as a parliamentary secretary in the forests ministry and led the reintroduction of B.C.’s Human Rights Commission, said he will consult broadly on the recovery.

“My view with everything is the government doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas,” he said. “There are good ideas in the community. There are good ideas in the business community, good ideas from local elected officials.”

Horgan issued mandate letters to the ministers and parliamentary secretaries stating the government’s overall goals: people first, clean environment, Indigenous reconciliation, equity and anti-racism, health and strong economy.

He also provided each of the 37 ministers, ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries with individual mandate goals.

Among the goals for ministers are: free transit for children 12 years old and younger, drop the seven per cent provincial sales tax on e-bikes and consider public condominium insurance if the issue of skyrocketing rates is not resolved by 2021.

READ MORE: Delta North MLA named minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation

Horgan asked Kahlon to “deliver initiatives that will directly support small businesses and build an inclusive economic recovery across B.C.”

Prof. Tom Koch, a medical geographer at the University of B.C. who specializes in mapping diseases, said Horgan’s cabinet should spend more time fighting today’s pandemic than looking to a recovery.

“The priority of looking forward to me is a little premature,” he said. “It has to be done … but the question immediately is what are we doing about hospitals and about hospital capacity and what are we doing about trying to rein in those areas where accelerators are occurring.”

B.C.’s most recent COVID-19 infection report saw a record daily high of 911 cases Friday, while the death toll is nearing 400 people.

Koch said economic recovery should play a part in Horgan’s cabinet and government direction, but at this time when cases are surging, the premier appears to be saying, “do we basically want to start planning the victory parade in the second quarter.”

Kahlon said he expects businesses, communities, governments and people to work together to battle the pandemic.

“I think the pandemic is going to push societies to a place where innovation will be critical and I think we’re well-positioned in B.C. to be not only leaders in Canada but I think world leaders.”

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

British ColumbiaCoronaviruseconomy

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

Cheryl Dill visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Talking jobs, tourism and business with Cheryl Dill in Parksville

Podcast: COVID-19 has far-reaching impacts on Vancouver Island

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read