VICTORIA— Skeena MLA Robin Austin used his first question of the session to ask the Liberal government about why B.C. Hydro was bringing in workers from outside the northwest to work on the Northwest Transmission Line project.
“I’ve long been a supporter of the Northwest Transmission Line because I knew people in the communities I represent were looking forward to getting good paying jobs building this project. That’s why it is so disappointing the B.C. Liberal energy minister didn’t even attempt to explain why one of B.C. Hydro’s excuses for going $342 million over budget was that they had to bring people from outside the region to do the work,” said Austin.
Last week, a B.C. Hydro spokesperson said one of the reasons the project went over budget was because “we’ve had to bring in people and equipment from all over.”
Unfortunately, the B.C. Liberal minister was unable to explain why B.C. Hydro brought in workers from outside the region, even though it drove the project over budget.
“The northwest has had the highest unemployment in the province for the last ten years,” said Austin. “I’m troubled that this government can’t see the link between their failure to train local people for local jobs and persistently high levels of unemployment.”
Austin said the fact that the Liberal budget includes cuts to post-secondary education and trades training should be red flag for workers in the northwest.
“The Northwest Transmission Line project is a perfect example of what happens when the government doesn’t make key investments in skills training,” said Austin. “People in the region are losing out on a lot of value from this project because many of the best jobs are going to people from elsewhere.”
The B.C. Liberal government campaigned on dubious promises of eliminating debt, balancing the budget, and retaining critical services. B.C.’s New Democrats will hold the government to account for these promises, and fight to protect the services that British Columbians depend on.