Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan is looking for input from rural Canadians on what they think would make their communities more economically successful. (Submitted photo)

Federal minister looking for economic ideas for rural areas like Cowichan

Bernadette Jordan is the minister for the new Ministry of Rural Economic Development

Bernadette Jordan wants to know what residents in the Cowichan Valley think is needed to improve the local economy.

Jordan is the minister for the newly minted Ministry of Rural Economic Development and has been travelling across the country and meeting with people living in rural communities.

RELATED STORY: JUSTIN TRUDEAU SHUFFLES FEDERAL CABINET

She is asking them for their stories and ideas as the federal government develops an economic strategy that addresses the priorities and needs of rural Canadians from across the country.

Jordan has yet to visit the Valley in her travels, but she is hoping residents will send their ideas to her until she has scheduled a time to come here.

“We recognize there are big differences between the country’s urban and rural areas in regards to their economies and what is needed to make sure they are sustainable and vibrant,” she said.

“Faster and more reliable internet service has been identified by many as a key to growth in many rural areas. It’s hard to grow a business or even raise a family these days without fast and reliable internet so it will be part of our economic strategies.”

Jordan said the federal government’s budget for 2019 aims to give every single household and business in Canada access to high-speed internet of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload by 2030, no matter how rural and remote, by working with provinces, territories and industry to deliver up to $6 billion in new investments.

RELATED STORY: HIGH-SPEED INTERNET COMING TO 200 RURAL B.C. COMMUNITIES

Jordan said the need for more available and affordable housing is also being identified in many communities across Canada.

“Many people think this issue is only a problem in larger centres, like Vancouver and Toronto, but many rural communities are trying to deal with it as well,” she said.

“The federal government has made significant investments in affordable housing in recent years but, right now, we’re determining how to put our best foot forward to continue to deal with these types of issues. It’s a big puzzle, and it’s up to me and my new ministry to put all the pieces together.”

RELATED STORY: CITY OF DUNCAN LOOKS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS

Jordan said rural communities must be vibrant and healthy to be successful, so the ongoing opioid crisis that has gripped communities across the nation, including the Cowichan Valley, must be dealt with as part of any economic strategy.

“It’s a huge issue and trying to make sure we are doing all that is possible,” she said.

RELATED STORY: NUMBER OF HOMELESS DEATHS MORE THAN DOUBLED AS OPIOID CRISIS SET IN

Jordan also pointed out that local First Nations must be part of a region’s economic strategy if it is to be successful.

“I’ve been meeting with many First Nation leaders across the country as part of this tour, and they want to see growing economies in their communities as well,” she said.

“We’ll be working with other departments and ministries on this issue as we develop our economic strategies.”

Jordan said attracting, training, and retaining talent; as well as aging populations and out-migration, have also been identified as important issues in her many conversations across the country.

Anyone with ideas or comments to help Jordan in her and her ministry’s work can send them by email to infc.rural.infc@canada.ca.

Just Posted

Cowichan-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 staws each year

Lexi Bainas column: Roger Sparkes honoured, CVAC art show now new and improved

A well-deserved posthumous award goes to Cowichan Theatre’s biggest booster

Workshop helps Cowichan residents understand basic of dementia journey

Free Getting to Know Dementia workshop to Duncan on Thursday, May 2.

Drivesmart column: Liability: pedestrians and drivers turning left

Alexander Zacher was walking to work early on the morning of Oct. 31, 2014 in Tsawwassen.

Robert Barron column: Will the opioid crisis ever end?

There were 31 small white crosses placed about a half-foot apart

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Coming up in Cowichan: Easter Eggspress; knitting workshops

Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress at the BCFDC The Easter Eggspress is… Continue reading

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Campbell River RCMP say alcohol and speed may be factors in collision

Woman injured after driver ran into her car on Highway 19A, says fire captain

Number of ancient humans continues to grow after discovery

Scientists identify at least 12 species outside of Homo sapians following discovery in Philippines

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Most Read