Leaders of B.C. and Washington State discuss climate change and jobs

Leaders of B.C. and Washington State discuss climate change and jobs

For the first time since 1984, a Washington State governor dropped in at the B.C. legislature.  Jay Inslee wants to improve access between his state and British Columbia. He points to the future growth in the high-tech sector as a key factor.  As Mary Griffin reports, a local business may be part of that future.

A rare visit to a Victoria business by the Washington State governor Jay Inslee.   He’s getting a personal tour by Harbour Air’s Randy Wright who updates Governor Inslee and Premier John Horgan on the status of flights from Vancouver Island to Washington State.  “It’s really exciting. I really think we’re going to knock it out of the park,” Wright said.

Any day now, Wright could get approval from Ottawa for a direct flight from Vancouver to Seattle.  “I’ve been working on this file for a year. And we believe it’s great for both Washignton State, and the Province of British Columbia,” Wright said.

Inslee’s visit is the first by a Washington State governor in 33 years.  It’s partially in response to the high-tech sector. That industry needs mobility. And the politicians see opportunities for growth on both sides of the border.

“I’m bullish about this corridor between this corridor between British Columbia, and the State of Washington. I believe that we have nothing, should have nothing but complete optimism about our growth potential,” Inslee said.

Currently, Amtrak services Vancouver to Seattle.  It’s a three hour trip.  But the governor wants a high-speed rail on that run, cutting travel time from three hours to less than one.

“It’s hard for me to believe that our tremendous province and state, that is so forward looking, technologically so advanced, would not have growth that would be well-suited for this type of transportation,” Inslee said.

“If we can get this going, in a short period of time, it’ll benefit us all in the long term,” Horgan said.

And Inslee brought his optimism for the future relationship between Washington State and British Columbia into the legislature.  And spoke at length about the relationship between the two regions.  “We are stronger when we see ourselves as one Pacific Northwest region and share an optimism about our future.  And as that strength grows, may we never lose sight of who we are or the values that we hold dear,” Inslee said.

The leaders also discussed the Pacific Coast Collaborative’s joint action on climate change.   Among other key topics discussed included supporting the Cascadia Innovation Corridor that brings together governments with the tech sector.  The total value of Canada-Washington goods trade is approximately $25.6 billion.  The results of a feasibility study on the rail project are expected to be released in the next few weeks.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee meet in Victoria.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee meet in Victoria.

Andy NealAndy Neal

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