Recently, I was pleased to state ICBA’s support for the $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Expansion Project, in National Energy Board hearings held here in Vancouver. This major project is just one of many proposed right now which represent exceptional economic development opportunities for BC and Canada.
Energy infrastructure, mining and production facilities, port expansion, clean energy development… There are proponents eager to move ahead with all of these. But every single such project has its opponents, and they often see already long and complex review processes as prime opportunities to delay and derail.
There’s certainly a lot of that going on with respect to Trans Mountain. In fact, a casual observer of the hearings might have concluded that supporters like myself were in the minority. But recent polling from NRG Research Group proves that’s not the case. In fact, the results clearly indicate that British Columbians understand the importance of natural-resource and other types of major projects, and are confident we can pursue them in an environmentally responsible way.
These and other findings – along with consistent ones from a poll conducted last year for Resource Works – are outlined below. It’s also noteworthy that support for responsible resource and infrastructure development doesn’t breakdown on left-right lines – indicating the NDP is out of touch with its own supporters on this important issue.
With so many key advantages – abundance of resources, skilled workforce, leading-edge environmental management expertise, and a strategic position on global trade routes – there should be no better place to undertake major projects than in BC. If we can’t get them right here, where can that happen?
But if we want to get more projects to “yes”, we need to challenge the distorted image of BC as a hotbed of anti-development sentiment. We need to make it clear that sensible and responsible proposals, like Trans Mountain’s, will be supported.
We recently launched our “Get to Yes” campaign with precisely this objective in mind, and I’m very gratified that thousands of British Columbians have answered the call, by signing up for our campaign updates and taking steps in support of specific projects. If you’re part of the sometimes-too-silent majority and want to make your voice heard at this important time, join the campaign here.
Natural Resource Development: Support and Confidence
There is overwhelming support for responsible resource development in BC, and an almost equally strong belief that we can balance
resource development with environmental objectives. There’s also strong agreement that natural resource development is good for our province.
Sources: ICBA NRG Research Group Survey, Resource Works Ipsos Reid Survey
- Support responsible resource development – 84% AGREE
- Resource development can be done in a balanced way while being mindful of the environmental impact – 82% AGREE
- Natural resource development is good for BC – 72% AGREE
We know it supports diverse employment
While anti-development interests often downplay the scope of the jobs and other benefits of responsible resource development, British Columbians know better. There’s a strong appreciation of the importance of not only direct resource-related employment, but also of the spin-off employment created in a lot of other sectors.
Resource development creates many jobs and opportunities in BC for resource industry workers
Resource development creates many jobs and opportunities in the BC construction industry
Resource development in BC creates many white collar jobs in accounting, finance and sales
BC’s natural resource sector has good opportunities for employment for younger British Columbians
BC’s natural resource sector creates good opportunities for employment in high tech jobs
We know it has a future
Beyond knowing it’s important now, there’s also strong agreement among British Columbians
that the importance of resource development to our economy is holding steady and will continue to do so.
Source: Resource Works, Ipsos Reid Survey
BC’s natural resource sector is less important to the economy than it has been in the past
BC’s natural resource sector will become less important to the economy over the next 10-20 years
A snapshot of the importance of natural resources
Natural resources: The ripple effect
What would happen if BC’s natural resources industries increased their production – from a baseline value of $21.4 billion – by 10%, as they have in some years in the past?
Source: The Importance of Natural Resources to the Economy of BC, 2014 (using 2010 baseline)
Construction and infrastructure
Construction activity – from new homes through to major industrial and infrastructure projects – is not necessarily resource-related, but also has a huge economic impact in BC. And construction projects can often get caught up in and sometimes derailed by regulatory excess and interestgroup opposition. And this too is inconsistent with majority sentiment in the province.
Specific projects and sectors get strong support
Overall support for responsible resource development comes in at 84% among British Columbians. But strong majorities also support a range of specific projects and sectors.
Expanding ports in BC – 68 % SUPPORT
Construction of BC Hydro Site C Clean Energy Project – 67 % SUPPORT
Growing the mining industry – 62 % SUPPORT
Creating and expanding the LNG industry – 58 % SUPPORT
It’s important to note too that this support cuts across party lines. For example, 62% of NDP voters support expanding ports, and 60% support Site C – despite the NDP suggesting it will halt that particular project mid-construction.
Source: ICBA NRG Research Group Survey
Join us and get involved
Are you part of the large majority of British Columbians who support responsible resource development? Then join our #Get2Yes campaign here. Learn more about crucial projects whose future hangs in the balance right now, get updates, sign our petition, and watch our videos. Let’s not let BC be labeled as the province that can’t get things done. It’s time to come together and support the opportunities ahead.