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IN THE NEWS: Delta Mayor (and ICBA) Keep Fighting For New Massey Bridge

The Massey Tunnel replacement project is hanging by a thread after comments from the John Horgan-Andrew Weaver tag team yesterday. The two Victoria residents say the mayors of the Lower Mainland don’t want the bridge and therefore they’ll look to kill it.

Well, the mayor of the city most affected, Delta’s Lois Jackson, DOES want that bridge. So do the three MLAs just elected in Richmond, even though the Lower Mainland mayors claim Richmond will be overrun with traffic if the bridge proceeds. But in Horgan and Weaver’s world, the mayors of Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Coquitlam (none of whom ever travel through the Massey Tunnel at rush hour) know better than Delta’s mayor and Richmond’s elected MLAs.

Sorry, thousands of south Fraser drivers stuck in Massey congestion every day. Horgan and Weaver just aren’t that worried about you.

ICBA is. We’re going to fight to keep this project going. From today’s Delta Optimist:

Jordan Bateman, communications director for the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, told the Optimist they found Horgan’s and Green leader Andrew Weaver’s comments discouraging, noting they appear out of touch with the situation on the ground.

“This is a tunnel that needs to be replaced. A lot of money has already been spent on improvements and to simply dismiss it out of hand because it was a B.C. Liberal project shows you that they are more interested in power than looking at issue-by-issue as they said before,” he said.

As for Horgan consulting with the other mayors, Bateman said, “”I’m not sure why they are taking the words of the mayor of Vancouver or New Westminster or Port Coquitlam over the word of the mayor of Delta. Even Richmond, the three ridings all went B.C. Liberal, and this was supposed to be the area that would be most negatively affected by a Massey expansion, which we know and anyone who lives south of the Fraser, as I do, is nonsense. John Horgan will listen to his NDP mayors I suppose, but not the one in Delta who has been championing this project for a long time.”

Bateman added Horgan and Weaver “snickered at blue collar workers in this province.”

IN THE NEWS: Horgan/Weaver Look To Kill Site C – And 2,100 Jobs

The Site C clause in yesterday’s NDP-Green Party governing deal puts the dam in danger. From the deal:

“Immediately refer the Site C dam construction project to the B.C. Utilities Commission on the question of economic viability and consequences to British Columbians in the context of the current supply and demand conditions prevailing in the B.C. market.”

It’s the word “current” that puts the dam in jeopardy. This $8.8 billion project isn’t being built for current demand. It’s a project that’s being built for 10, 30, 50, even 100 years from now. But by slapping the short term lens on it, the NDP and Greens will be able to spin that it’s not necessary.

For ICBA, this is a grave concern. More than 2,100 people are working on that dam project today. Every single one of those jobs is at risk, because two guys in Victoria think they know better than anyone else. As ICBA President Chris Gardner told the Globe and Mail:

“Site C is being built for the growth of the economy that is going to occur over decades to come,” said Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., a group that represents non-union contractors and supports Site C. “This is a project that provides clean energy, clean power … we are going to need secure, reliable energy.”

But we need that power for the future. As Blair King wrote in the Huffington Post:

When Canada agreed to the Paris Agreement on climate change, we committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve that goal, we will need to electrify everything we can, while simultaneously ensuring that the electricity used is low-carbon or carbon-free.

Canada generates almost 80 per cent of our electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. This means that even if we eliminated all our remaining electricity emissions we would only achieve 37 per cent of our goal. One of the biggest potential sources of greenhouse gas cuts is our transportation sector which represented 23 per cent Canada’s emissions in 2014. As I have described, electrifying our transportation system will require a massive upgrade of our electricity generation capacity. By my calculations British Columbia will require the equivalent to the output of six Site C Dams just to electrify our transportation system. That doesn’t even start to consider what we will need to reduce our reliance on natural gas.

Don’t trust my numbers? Well Environment and Climate Change Canada assessed our energy needs if we are to effectively fight climate change. Their report agreed that we will need to massively upgrade our electricity capacity to meet our Paris Agreement climate change goals. If we are to fight climate change, we will need the electricity produced by Site C.

You’d think a climate scientist like Andrew Weaver would want Canada to meet its Paris obligations. Apparently crass partisan politics is more important.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Ottawa Pondering NEB Changes

The Trudeau Government is reviewing the National Energy Board and its expert panel has made several recommendations that will make it more difficult to get responsible resource development projects approved in western Canada.

We need every Canadian who is dedicated to #Get2Yes on job-creating projects to fill out a feedback form and tell the federal government to make things easier for energy projects, not harder. Our concerns with the panel’s report include:

  • The solution to bureaucracy and red tape is NOT more bureaucracy and red tape. We need energy projects to have simple, clear, quick approval processes.
  • The USA, Australia and other countries are leaving us behind in supplying energy to Asia because the NEB takes too long to make decisions. We need to simplify and speed up the process if we’re going to have any shot at competing internationally.
  • Much of the criticism of the NEB comes from people who want to stop all responsible resource development. We should not be surrendering or pandering to those who seek to put tens of thousands of Canadians out of work.
  • Fewer than 200 people were consulted about these changes. That’s not enough – and certainly over-represents those who hate energy projects.
  • All NEB operations must remain in the west, specifically Calgary, where the vast majority of energy projects reside.
  • Canadian companies are already the best in the world at responsibly developing natural resource industries. We’re adding more red tape for no gain.

To read ICBA’s full submission to the panel, click HERE. To read the full panel report, click HERE.

ACTION: Let the NEB Modernization Panel know what you think BEFORE June 14, 2017. Visit their website HERE. Feel free to copy and paste our bullet point concerns above.

IN THE NEWS: ICBA Opposes Plan for More Red Tape at NEB

The Trudeau Liberals are pondering what to do with the National Energy Board, and are asking for public comment on some recommendations from a panel.

Bluntly, these recommendations would add years, countless staff and acres of red tape to the already difficult process of getting a responsible resource development approved. The solution to bureaucracy is NOT more bureaucracy. While the rest of the world rockets ahead on oil and gas deals, Canadians are navel-gazing and bogging the process down.

ICBA President Chris Gardner addressed some of these concerns in a recent Daily Commercial News article:

“This is definitely a concern,” said Independent Contractors and Businesses Association president Chris Gardner.

His fear is that the changes will make a long, complex process even longer and more complex, which would have a chilling effect on the economy and investment. He noted that the approval process for the Site C Dam project took eight years and the process for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion has been going on for around five years.

“We need to ensure that when projects are fairly and appropriately reviewed, and they have been approved, they move forward,” he said. “And if not, we need to say ‘no’ and move on.”

He added that moving the process closer to Ottawa was confusing as it implies that an agency in Vancouver or Regina or somewhere else wouldn’t be equipped to make a decision the same way those physically closer to the federal government could.

NEW PODCAST: ICBA Cast #2 Talks Proportional Rep & Party Messages

ICBA President Chris Gardner and Director of Communications Jordan Bateman are back for episode 2 of the ICBA Cast. The two talk about the pitfalls of proportional representation, as proposed by Andrew Weaver and the B.C. Green Party, and the fact politicians are in an innate conflict of interest when it comes to voting system reform. They also break down the core messages of the three parties in the campaign, as we all wait for next week’s recounts.

Available as a free download in the iTunes podcast store, or listen below:

ICBA CAST: ICBA Launches New Podcast with Chris Gardner & Jordan Bateman

Big news here at ICBA, as we have launched our first ever podcast. ICBA President Chris Gardner and Communications Director Jordan Bateman will talk weekly about B.C. politics and its effect on construction, responsible resource development, business, and taxpayers. It’s a free flowing, political chat with a distinctly free enterprise point-of-view.

Before coming to ICBA, Chris helped build successful companies in the private sector, managed several winning election campaigns, and served as principal secretary to the Premier of British Columbia. Jordan is a former two-term Langley Township Councillor, has run communications on several winning election campaign teams, and is a well-known taxfighter. Between the two of them, the ICBA Cast will offer plenty of analysis and maybe a few old war stories.

You can download (free!) and subscribe to the ICBA Cast through the iTunes store HERE, or search for ICBA Cast in your favorite podcatcher. Or, if you prefer, listen to episode 1 below:

IN THE NEWS: Government Relations Session at the Open Shop Leaders Forum

Last week, the ICBA was a co-sponsor of the Open Shop Leaders Forum in Whistler, where various companies and open shop advocacy groups gathered to talk about the state of the construction industry. The Journal of Commerce reported on one of the sessions, a deep dive into the world of government relations. From their story:

“By understanding the decision-making process, you can identify opportunities to push for policy priorities,” he said.

Questions to ask, he said, include identifying if an issue is on the government’s radar and who is responsible for the final decision. It’s also important to keep the timeline for the decision in mind, he said, as well as who can influence the decision, both in government and in opposition.

“Pick and choose your spots,” Moors said. “The level of lobbying should match the priority of the issue. Policy development is often a game of give and take.

“Persistence pays off, follow up is crucial, and government’s slow pace has to be matched by an organization’s advocacy efforts,” he added.