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IN THE NEWS: ICBA Opposes Proportional Representation

ICBA believes stability is key to growing the economy. Minority governments erode that, and proportional representation would bring more elections, more minorities, and more backroom dealmaking into B.C. politics.

ICBA President Chris Gardner opposes all that. From CKNW Radio:

Instead, he says he thinks the change is wrong on its merits and will lead to more elections and more political uncertainty.

“We will definitely be campaigning against proportional representation. It’s just wrong.”

Proportional representation refers to one of several models of vote counting, in which the percentage of the vote a party receives more closely resembles the percentage of seats they get in the legislature.

Gardner says the prospect of elections and uncertainty are no good for creating a climate for investment and jobs in the province.

“I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with a majority government, whatever the stripe of the party is. At least they can govern for four years. We know where they are going and at the end of that four years we can vote for that government or a different party.”

IN THE NEWS: ICBA Signs Partnership With College of New Caledonia

ICBA Vice-President Lindsay Langill and VP-Regional Development Mike Davis were in Prince George yesterday to sign a partnership agreement with the College of New Caledonia. As reported by 250News:

Specifically, both parties will partner on recruitment, retention and advancement opportunities for graduates in the construction industry.

“I think it’s an opportunity. It’s that seamless transition from our classrooms into the industry,” said Frank Rossi, CNC Dean of Trades and Technologies. “And I think there’s a gap with industry as far as the need for students and our students are always looking for opportunities. So, if there’s an opportunity for them to transition into an industry, that’s an advantage.”

It’s the first time the ICBA has signed an MOU with a post-secondary institution. Will it be the first of many?

“We want to be strategic in who we partner with and certainly the North has golden opportunities around many new projects that hopefully come to fruition,” said Dr. Lindsay Langill, ICBA VP. “And so, working with a college like CNC, which is the anchor of training in the North, is very important for us to make sure we’re a partner in assisting and helping them achieve their goals.”

CKPG News was also at the signing and did this story:

ICBA NEWS RELEASE: ICBA Launches Campaign To #Get2Yes on Site C

Support the 2,252 Site C Construction Workers – go to Get2Yes.icba.ca and send an email to B.C.’s three party leaders! (See here for photos from today’s pink slip event in Vancouver.)

VANCOUVER, B.C.: With 2,252 jobs hanging in the balance, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) launched a public campaign today to push the NDP-Green alliance to #Get2Yes on the Site C dam.

ICBA launched its campaign with a media event at BC Hydro’s Vancouver headquarters, using 2,252 Site C pink slips to illustrate how many people went to work this morning on the Peace River dam site. It is encouraging members of the public who support clean energy jobs to visit Get2Yes.icba.ca and send an email to B.C.’s three party leaders.

“In their power-sharing deal, John Horgan and Andrew Weaver agreed that Site C should be reviewed based on ‘current’ supply and demand metrics,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “This stacks the deck against a project that isn’t being built for today, but to help meet B.C.’s electricity needs for the next century, and to offer a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels.”

“B.C. can’t simply throw away the $4 billion already spent on Site C,” said Jordan Bateman, ICBA Communications Director. “Taxpayers have made a significant investment in that clean energy project, one ratified by the people who live closest to it – the BC Liberal candidate won the Site C riding by 10 to 1 over the NDP.”

Site C spent more than a decade going through environmental assessments and regulatory reviews, and was signed off by both the federal and provincial governments – all of which was upheld by a unanimous decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal last fall.

In the coming weeks, ICBA will hold more #Get2Yes on Site C campaign events in Victoria and Fort St. John.

“The 2,252 men and women working on Site C today deserve our support as their jobs hang in the balance,” said Gardner. “When Horgan and Weaver talk about ‘yesterday’s economy,’ they demean the work of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who put on a tool belt every morning and go about building our province.”


ICBA OP/ED: NDP-Green Deal Will Burn British Columbians

By Chris Gardner, ICBA President

The big smiling premier from Kelowna always knew defeat in politics was inevitable. After all, no political party rules forever. It could come after one term, or two or three or four, but a loss was always coming. It was just a matter of time.

W.A.C. Bennett had been premier for 20 years when the NDP finally defeated him in 1972. But he saw that loss as an opportunity to cement another generation of free enterprise government. He was right: three years later, the NDP were vanquished again.

“People needed to put their finger on the hot stove, and feel it,” W.A.C. Bennett said on election night, 1975, the night the Socreds defeated the NDP and were restored to government. “They felt it! And tonight they’ve taken it away.”

As we prepare for Premier John Horgan – with his Green-infused plans to raise taxes, kill responsible resource development projects, strangle job creators with red tape, and go into deficit – W.A.C.’s words ring true again. B.C. is about to experience the economic pain NDP governments inevitably cause in British Columbia.

B.C.’s finger is on the hot stove again.

Horgan and Andrew Weaver live 1,282 kilometres away from the Site C dam, but are rigging the BC Utilities Commission process to kill Site C, and fire 2,200 construction workers. These men and women got up this morning and went to the job site to support their families and build a project that will deliver clean reliable power for future generations.

Site C spent more than a decade going through environmental assessments and regulatory reviews, and was signed off by both the federal and provincial governments – all of which was upheld by a unanimous decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal last fall.

Horgan and Weaver’s backroom deal promises a Site C review based on “current” energy supply and demand. This stacks the deck against a project that isn’t being built for today, but to help meet B.C.’s electricity needs for the next century, and to offer a climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuels.

It’s short-term thinking, partisan politics and outright hypocrisy at its worst: In 2009, Andrew Weaver was a passionate defender of Site C. He wanted BC Hydro to get back into megaprojects. “They should be carving out their niche with the Site C dam,” he told The Globe and Mail. “I cannot see what is stopping Site C.” Now he is the one stopping Site C’s clean energy.

The NDP-Green goal of “revitalizing the environmental review process” is code for finding ways to get to “No.” They plan to inject their politics into every regulatory and environmental review of important energy, resource and infrastructure projects.

Not found in the Horgan-Weaver pact: any prospect of a balanced budget, any target for economic growth, any plan to build the infrastructure we need to compete in a global economy, or any plan to harness our natural resources responsibly.  In short, no bold vision to build our province.

More than 200,000 people in B.C. make a living in construction. Another 65,000 people work in forestry and tens of thousands more on pipelines, in the mines, on the water, and in the oil and gas sector – responsibly developing B.C.’s abundant natural resources.

These are real projects, real jobs and real families. They are not “a myth,” or “unicorns,” as Weaver so arrogantly dismissed them last week with Horgan standing by his side. When Horgan and Weaver talk about “yesterday’s economy,” they demean the work of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who put on a tool belt every morning and go about building our province.

W.A.C. Bennett knew what would happen as British Columbians saw jobs disappear and the province’s prosperity evaporate under the 1970s NDP. We’d pull our hand from the hot stove.

Let’s hope that once again we learn our lesson quickly, and that our economy doesn’t get burned too badly by this new NDP-Green coalition government.

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.