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

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

Delta City Hall. (James Smith photo)
Volunteers sought for City of Delta committees

Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 5

(James Smith photo)
North Delta crime beat, week of Jan. 11

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Most Read