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CONTRIBUTION · 16th January 2011
Chris Freimond
Terrace-based North West Community College (NWCC) will play a pivotal role in training the workers that will be needed to fully develop the vast economic potential of northern British Columbia, BC Liberal Party leadership candidate, Dr. Moira Stilwell, said today.

Speaking during a visit to Terrace, Dr. Stilwell said that if she becomes the next Premier of British Columbia, she will support a government investment of $10 million over three years in infrastructure for NWCC.

“North west B.C. has always played an important part in the economy of the province, but the resurgence of the mining sector in the region means it is now more vital than ever to our future. The mines and supporting industries will need skilled workers for many years to come, and NWCC will be the primary source of those workers,” said Dr. Stilwell.

Support for post-secondary education is a key element of Dr. Stilwell’s campaign platform. She believes that a knowledge-based economy will allow B.C. to build on the economic success achieved over the past 10 years under the BC Liberal government.

“NWCC is already showing strong leadership in skills training by expanding its programs throughout the region through initiatives such as mobile trades training that is now offered in 28 communities,” said Dr. Stilwell.

With a higher percentage of First Nations people in the North West than in any other region in B.C., the College is also an important centre of learning for First Nations and Métis students who account for more than 46 per cent of the student body and 20 per cent of its workforce. First Nations and Métis communities are also active participants in the guidance and operation of the College.

“NWCC is a great example of what can be done in post-secondary education and I was pleased to read that the newly-appointed college president, Dr. Denise Henning, described herself as passionate about equity and inclusion in higher education. That’s certainly what we need to encourage and promote throughout B.C.,” said Dr. Stilwell.

Earlier in her campaign, Dr. Stilwell proposed reducing the interest rate on student loans in B.C. as a step towards removing as many barriers as possible to post-secondary education in the province.

“This is in line with two of the key positions in my policy platform – building a knowledge based economy and helping low income families and individuals, which students with large debt tend to be,” she said.

The election of a new leader for the BC Liberal Party takes place on February 26, 2011.