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IN THE NEWS: ICBA President Chris Gardner Breaks Down Election Effect on Economy

As British Columbia waits for the final 10 per cent of ballots to be counted, with the BC Liberals still clinging to a very faint hope of a 44-seat majority, we are all pondering what the result means.

ICBA celebrates our merger with Energy Services BC, representing key responsible resource development jobs in Fort St. John.
ICBA celebrates our merger with Energy Services BC, representing key responsible resource development jobs in Fort St. John.

In The Province, Mike Smyth ponders what an NDP-Green alliance would look like. It isn’t pretty. From his piece:

But others don’t feel so good about the possibility of an NDP-Green government seizing power — especially the B.C. Liberals’ business backers.

“The economy is at risk,” said Chris Gardner, president of the B.C. Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.

“The NDP and Greens both came out very strongly against the Kinder Morgan pipeline and liquefied natural gas development and the Site C dam and the bridge to replace to the George Massey Tunnel.

“That’s a lot of construction jobs and a lot of pink slips they would be handing out. We’re extremely concerned.”

In a follow-up piece, Province editor Gord Clark points out what’s at stake for British Columbians who live outside the NDP-Green strongholds of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island:

Clark’s pro-industry and jobs message sells well in the Interior, where people see it boosting the economy. The same message is viewed with hostility in the Lower Mainland, where many public-sector workers and urban environmentalists only view resource extraction as outdated and planet-destroying, failing through economic illiteracy to understand that public funds only exist thanks to taxation of industry.

With environmentalists in the NDP and Greens blocking virtually all significant job-creating projects in the Interior, it should surprise no one that the Green party received zero votes in four Interior ridings — Peace River North, Peace River South, Skeena and Stikine.

University of Victoria political scientist Norman Ruff, discussing the urban-rural divide with a Postmedia reporter last week, said something, ironically, that displays the problem. “While one lags behind in its continued dependence on a dwindling natural-resource-based economy, and in a sense still looks backward for its future, the other continues an exponential growth in diversity and enjoys a transition to an entirely new economy.”

With respect, with comments like that, can Ruff and others with similar views be actually confused why, gee, the dumb Interior knuckle-draggers might not embrace the leftist political notions of NDP- and Green-voting urban eco-elitists?

Interior residents don’t care if Vancouver or Victoria want to install bike lanes everywhere or promote “new-economy” digital businesses. What they can’t stand is when urbanites sneeringly look down their noses at them as backwards and make holier-than-thou careers out of destroying their livelihoods. If there is a political divide in B.C., that’s why.

Gord is right. The NDP-Greens are more than happy to put tens of thousands out of work to accomplish their brave, new, Tides Foundation-endorsed world. But much of B.C.’s wealth flows from these resource jobs. If they disappear, B.C. will suffer greatly.

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