By Cam Fortems
Kamloops This Week
Former Kamloops-South Thompson Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger is retiring from his position at ICBC to enter a field he believes will create jobs throughout the province.
Krueger left the Crown corporation last week, where he worked in management after completing his last term as MLA in 2013. He has established a consulting company and will work with First Nations on economic agreements.
The 59-year-old who served for 17 years will qualify for a full MLA pension at 65 and is able to take a partial pension next year. He also qualifies for a partial pension at ICBC, where he worked for 21 years before entering politics in 1996, and another 18 months when he left.
“I don’t have to work,” he said. “I want to work between First Nations and investors.”
While industry and business representatives have been wary of last year’s Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Chilcotin that deeded thousands of acres to First Nations and declared they have a land tenure that amounts to a near-veto on development and ownership of resources, Krueger said he believes it gives more certainty and that economic opportunity will come from it.
He pointed to the same skepticism within the B.C. Liberal government at the time he oversaw the first revenue-sharing agreement between First Nations and a mining company — in Kamloops between the Tk’emlups Indian Band, the Skeetchestn Indian Band and New Gold Inc. for development of the New Afton mine.
Krueger was minister of state for mining at the time.
“They got the first revenue-sharing agreement in B.C.,” Krueger said. “They’re rightfully very proud of it.”
Since then the province has signed several-hundred more agreements to share mining and forestry revenues.
“There could be thousands . . . We just need to find points of agreement and build on those,” Krueger said, noting he plans to represent First Nations in his consulting business, with industry typically footing the bill as part of a negotiation framework.