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

It’s time to upgrade Metchosin’s connectivity, some residents are saying. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Petition signals desire for Metchosin cellphone coverage

It’s crazy for a Victoria suburb to be a dead-cell zone, petition writer said

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

Chris Grzywacz, development agent for cannabis supplier Seed and Stone’s, holds products from the new Songhees Cannabis S + S store on April 20. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
First cannabis store opens on Songhees Nation, creates economic opportunity says chief

The Songhees Cannabis S + S had a soft launch at its 1502 Admirals Road location on April 20

A convicted sex offender, whose crimes included offences against children, was arrested at Gonzales Beach after the man was spotted by an off-duty officer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Convicted sex offender arrested at Gonzales Beach

After committing crimes involving children, offender barred from public beaches, being in proximity to kids

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read