The B.C. Liberal government’s singular focus on LNG development in their speech from the throne was significant for its lack of detail on where the government is going with this file, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union says.
“Liquid natural gas development is potentially important for the B.C. economy, but it will be years before we’ll see any benefit,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “I was struck by what wasn’t in the throne speech. Where is the commitment to help children in crisis?”
“We need to ensure British Columbians are properly trained for these LNG jobs. Colleges and universities are facing a $45 million cut in funding just when their services are needed most,” says Smith.
The government’s acknowledgement of failure in the Mt. Polley tailings pond disaster is welcome, as is their commitment to make sure it never happens again, says the union. But accomplishing their goal will require a commitment to rebuilding public oversight of industry.
“When this government imposed self-regulation on industry and cut public service staff in resource ministries, they laid the groundwork for Mt. Polley,” says Smith. “Fixing the problem will require a commitment to re-establish public oversight in the resource industries, and to spend the resources necessary to make it happen.”
“B.C. already has the leanest public service per capita of any government in Canada. Our members agree with the government that the status quo is not acceptable. They need more funding to provide public services in an efficient way, not less,” concludes Smith.
Press Release, October 7, 2014; Image: gov.bc.ca