Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy has been appointed as B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development in John Horgan’s new NDP cabinet.
Conroy was sworn into the Legislature and her new ministry post in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 24.
Conroy has represented the West Kootenay in the B.C. Legislature since 2005. During her last term in office, Conroy served as Minister of Children and Family Development and the minister responsible for the Columbia River Treaty.
Conroy will continue in her role covering “all things Columbia” including the Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and the treaty. She will also remain on the Committee for Indigenous Relations.
“I really wanted to continue [in the Columbia role] because it is critical not only to our region, but to the whole province,” Conroy said in an interview with Castlegar News after her swearing in.
Conroy says she is looking forward to her new role in the Forestry Ministry, which also includes Rural Development.
Conroy is a long-term resident of a rural community and one of her first jobs was in the forest industry at the Celgar Pulp Mill in Castlegar — both things that she thinks will help her in the position.
“Coming from rural B.C. and the work that I have done with different people in the forest industry and land management, I am really excited about it and looking forward to it,” said Conroy.
“Having the focus on rural B.C. is really important.”
Conroy says the forest sector needs attention as it is a corner stone of the provincial economy.
“We have to make sure we are utilizing the wood to its best of the ability, focusing on British Columbians and how we can really revitalize the forestry industry so it benefits workers and families in our region and right across the province,” said Conroy.
She says she is also looking forward to working on wildlife management files and old-growth forest policy.
Conroy will be assisted in the ministry by a Minister of State — Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) and a Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development — Roly Russell (Boundary-Similkimeen).