VANDERHOOF – MLA John Rustad expresses his support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, one of the largest and most comprehensive trade deals in the world. As Canada’s Pacific Gateway, B.C. will benefit from increased bilateral trade between North America and other TPP markets.
In the north, forestry is among the industries that stand to benefit from the TPP. The agreement will create new opportunities for forestry companies by expanding existing markets and developing new ones throughout the growing TPP region.
“Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand currently have tariffs ranging between 2.6 and 40 per cent on B.C. wood exports like spruce pine and fir lumber, oriented strand and plywood,” Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad said. “These tariffs would all be eliminated over time – making B.C. forestry more affordable for buyers in member markets.”
On April 14, the B.C. Legislature passed a motion in support of Canada’s ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to raise awareness of the many benefits the Partnership will have for our province. As a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
• B.C. exports are expected to increase by $508 million annually ($320 million in exports, $188 million in services).
• B.C. is expected to gain 2,500 jobs, and B.C.’s GDP could increase by as much as $325 million annually.
Have B.C. NDP MLAs changed LNG tune?
VANDERHOOF – Just three months ago, NDP MLAs Jennifer Rice, Robin Austin and Doug Donaldson stood up and rejected the Pacific Northwest LNG project – but do they still stand by that decision?
“All three MLAs were excited to say no to the project, to all of the jobs and economic activity it would bring to the entire northwest,” says Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “Then the NDP very quietly formalized their opposition with a letter to the federal government, trying to hide it from the men and women who want those jobs. They did all these things even though it was incredibly disrespectful to the Tsimshian who had asked them not to interfere with their deliberations.”
But Rustad notes that once confronted BC NDP leader John Horgan has started to leap around and told The Globe and Mail, after speaking to a union gathering, that the NDP may approve Pacific Northwest LNG.
“Back in January, Rice, Austin and Donaldson said the risks were unacceptable and they couldn’t support the project,” Rustad says. “So from the perspective of the local MLAs, what has changed? It seems the only thing that changed was the audience that John Horgan was speaking to and since then the local MLAs have been extremely quiet. You should give the same answer no matter where you’re speaking.
“Our party has been very clear, that we want to get to yes and support economic development. We believe you can do that in a way that respects the environment and by working with local First Nations. That’s what we’ve done and we’ve been consistent. Now it’s fair to ask if the local MLAs are standing by their words or not.”