Penticton MLA Ashton adds new title

Penticton MLA elected Canadian vice-president of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.

MLA Dan Ashton has added another feather to his cap.

Or perhaps it might be more accurate to say he has added another cap to his collection with his election earlier this month as the Canadian vice-president of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.

That’s in addition to his duties as Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Finance, Chair of Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, as a member of the Treasury Board along with representing the Penticton riding to the B.C. legislature.

Ashton said it’s likely that they recognized with his positions in the provincial government that he could bring something to PNWER.

Established in 1991, PNWER is a statutory cross-border group, with involvement from public and private sector in 10 jurisdictions: B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

PNWER’s goals are to promote greater regional collaboration, enhance the competitiveness of the region in domestic and international markets, leverage regional influence in Ottawa and Washington, D.C., and achieve continued economic growth while maintaining the region’s natural beauty and environment.

“We are a substantial economic region in the world today, whether it is through high tech industries, aviation, our LNG or oil in Alberta,” said Ashton. “When you look at the Pacific Northwest in the United States or the Pacific West in Canada, these are the areas that are hitting on all cylinders right now, economically.”

Ashton describes the group as working together for mutual interests to both federal governments and building strong relationships.

As a vice-president of PNWER, Ashton joins the executive committee, the decision-making body responsible for reviewing all activities of the organization. This role will give B.C. a strong voice on regional issues such as energy, transportation, forest management, invasive species and environmental stewardship.

This appointment will also be an opportunity to promote several B.C. key priorities, including developing the province’s liquefied natural gas industry and enhancing the movement of people, goods and investment throughout the PNWER region.

The PNWER summit is held annually in alternating member jurisdictions, drawing hundreds of business leaders, legislators and community leaders.

“It’s a fascinating, phenomenal group,” said Ashton, who was appointed to the organization by premier Christy Clark last year.  “The biggest thing I have seen at PNWER is the strength that all the members work together … and we take those interests to our federal governments.”