ELLIS ROSS – That isn’t real experience. That’s called politics. Let me draw on my own life to tell you what I believe real experience means ...
It’s been said by some in the political establishment that I don’t have sufficient “experience” to lead our party. A few weeks back, another leadership candidate said a similar thing about my “education.”
But it got me thinking, what do they mean by “experience?” Here’s the truth…
I’ll always lose a debate about which candidate has spent the most taxpayers’ money over the course of their political career.
But to me, that isn’t real experience. That’s called politics. Let me draw on my own life to tell you what I believe real experience means…
I helped bring the largest-ever private sector investment in Canadian history to our province in the form of LNG-Canada. The royalties helped lift my community out of poverty, enabling a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs to take charge of their destiny. Plus, those royalties continue to fund our hospitals, schools, and roads today.
But that’s not all. As a First Nations leader, I’ve had to help my people overcome poverty, addictions, and violence. I’ve seen things that I will never be able to forget – no matter how long I live.
It’s time for the political establishment to acknowledge the truth, which is that First Nations leadership roles are just as important as other forms of political leadership, especially when issues around social welfare, environmental stewardship, and responsible resource development are involved.
For me, experience also means knowing how to connect with everyday people and channel their hopes, dreams, and aspirations – not just being a household name among a small circle of political elite.
I’ve been a logger, a labourer, a small businessperson, and, yes, I lived through periods of unemployment – like a lot of British Columbians. I know what it’s like to get your hands dirty, to navigate a crawl space, and to gulp down two-day-old coffee on a job site.
Those experiences are some of my most valuable – and helped shape the man I am today. I’m fortunate to have lived these experiences.
But, before I wrap up, let me tell you about the experience I’m most proud of. And that’s the experience that comes from being a father and grandfather.
I’m running for BC Liberal leader because I want my kids and grand-kids to enjoy opportunities that were never available to me or my wife. And I want the same for your loved ones.
I want the children of BC to live to their highest potential and be whatever they want to be.
I just want them to have the opportunity to do it here – at home. And yes, I do believe I have the experience to make that happen.
Ellis Ross ... BC Liberal leadership candidate and MLA for Skeena
P.S. Spending taxpayers’ money is easy; bringing in the investment needed to fill those coffers is hard. If you’re looking for a candidate who with a long history of spending billions of tax dollars, I might not be your first choice, and I accept that. But if you’re looking for a Premier with a plan to grow our economy, lift communities out of poverty, and give the next generation of British Columbians the gift of opportunity, I believe I’m your best choice.