B.C. politicians battle over LNG jobs

NDP's John Horgan says there should be employment guarantees; Premier Christy Clark says trades training is the key

NDP leader John Horgan says his party will vote against the LNG development deal proposed by Premier Christy Clark.

The B.C. legislature has convened with the opposition focus on a lack of guarantees for B.C. jobs in the government’s project agreement for a major liquefied natural gas project at Prince Rupert.

NDP leader John Horgan confirmed Monday his party will vote against legislation setting terms for the Petronas-led Pacific Northwest LNG project, mainly due to a lack of assurances for local employment and purchasing. He also cited opposition from some First Nations communities and 25-year protection for the project from LNG-specific tax increases.

“This government has constrained the ability of the next government to look at this deal to increase royalties back the Crown, to increase greenhouse gas emission laws to protect the public,” Horgan said. “That’s just unconscionable and we won’t support it.”

Premier Christy Clark staged an announcement of new funding for apprenticeship training Monday, arguing that her government’s retooling of post-secondary education is a response to investors who want to hire B.C. and Canadian workers wherever they can.

“There’s a reason the unions support what we’re doing, and there’s a reason that the unions disagree with what Mr. Horgan has said,” Clark said. “It’s because they know that if we work together and we’re making sure British Columbians are first in line for those jobs, British Columbians will get those jobs first.”

Clark scoffed at Horgan’s claim that up to 70 per cent of construction jobs on the Prince Rupert project could go to foreign workers.

The figure comes from Pacific Northwest’s filing to the federal environmental review, describing the potential impact of a large out-of-town workforce on northwestern B.C. communities.

A February 2014 consulting engineers’ report says “Canadian workers will account for 70 per cent of the onsite workforce for the first three years of construction. Due to competition from labour from other projects, Canadian workers may account for 30 per cent of the onsite workforce for the remaining two years of construction.”

In the final stages, B.C. LNG projects would assemble compression and refrigeration components manufactured offshore, with specialty skills such as welding metal alloys designed for low-temperature operation.

Clark said the Australian government did not develop a local workforce for LNG projects, and some of their projects were cancelled in the face of high labour costs and skilled trades shortages.


Just Posted

Skateboard park finally finds a home

New site adjacent to Diamond #4

Local air show hits turbulence as Provincial funding falls short

Community donations help save iconic event

Cough, cough…Vanderhoof’s air a problem

Wood stove replacement program largely ignored

U.S. consulate general to visit Northwest

Trip part of the region’s first-ever pop-up consul for American residents

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Northwest B.C. pellet plant to provide energy to Asia

Pinnalce Renewable Holdings and West Fraser Timber approve construction of plant in Smithers.

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

Most Read