Carole James

Carole James appointed NDP finance critic

“I’ll be reaching out to business people around the province," says the Victoria MLA

Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James is more than willing to tackle the B.C. Liberals over money and the economy.

Last week James was named the NDP’s new finance critic. She replaces Mike Farnworth.

The role is new for James who has served, not only as leader, but in a variety of critic roles over the years.

This time around she’ll keep track of how the government spends and saves taxpayers’ money, and will approach businesses with an emphasis on economic growth and job creation.

“This is a big opportunity,” James said. “I’ll be reaching out to business people around the province.

“Our vision as New Democrats is to take a balanced approach to helping businesses in every sector and every community – and to create good-paying jobs.”

She should have plenty of ammunition in her arsenal. The B.C. Government’s audited public accounts confirmed a $353 million surplus for the last fiscal year, but the province debt rose to just over $60 million, the latest of a series of increase since 2008.

James said business people from around the province are complaining about the Liberal and their fixation on LNG.

“The Liberals are squandering opportunities. There are rich opportunities with all sectors from high-tech to forestry that need to be developed.” she said.

“They are putting all their emphasis in LNG, and while this is important, it’s to the detriment of everything else. It’s not a balanced approach.”

NDP leader John Horgan appointed a record number of New Democrat women MLAs to economic portfolios and organized his caucus into two teams.

One, dubbed “stronger communities,” combines the major social portfolios that have long been the mainstays of NDP policy-making and its base of electoral support.

The other team, “economic sectors” is to take economic initiative away from the Liberals and identify the New Democrats more closely with growth and job creation.

Other Victoria and Esquimalt NDP MLAs named to critic roles include Lana Popham (agriculture and food); Rob Fleming (education); and Maurine Karagianis (women, seniors, early childhood development).

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