BC Greens ‘Not Anti-Jobs’ says Andrew Weaver
Prince George, B.C. – BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver has reacted to a letter sent to him (and NDP Leader John Horgan) by the Christian Labour Association of Canada urging him to reconsider his opposition to the Site C project near Fort St. John.
The union argues that a delay or cancellation of the project would have an “immense” effect on its over 1,000 members currently working at the site.
“Well, I did receive the letter and in fact my staff is at present trying to arrange a meeting with them early this week,” Weaver tells 250News. “I’m delighted to meet with CLAC. I believe the role of government and opposition members is to listen to diverse voices to make decisions on all the input they can get.”
(John Horgan and the NDP meanwhile haven’t responded to 250News for comment on the letter.)
But despite his willingness to meet with CLAC, he says it doesn’t change his opposition to the project.
“Site C is economically reckless for the B.C. government to spend billions and billions and billions of taxpayers’ money to produce electricity for a non-existent LNG industry.”
(Weaver admits he approved of Site C as recently as 2010, when he says the cost of the dam was estimated at $5.5 billion rather than today’s $8.8 billion. He said the cost of wind and solar at the time was also “through the roof” but now it’s “the exact opposite.”)
He adds his opposition to Site C doesn’t mean he’s “anti-jobs” in northern B.C.
“Look, there’s lots of infrastructure projects that need to be built. You’ve got the Taylor Bridge up in the Fort St. John region that needs to be fixed. It’s been a long-standing issue,” says Weaver.
“It’s not a question of jobs versus no jobs, it’s about putting people to work in projects that actually make fiscal sense and actually providing stability and long-term jobs.”
Besides, he says, there’s plenty of opportunity up North. Take for example making Prince George a data distribution centre.
“Why is there one in south Oregon and not in Prince George? It would take $6 million to create broadband redundancy in Prince George.”
Weaver says Prince George would be a natural fit for a data distribution centre considering the biggest cost of running such operations is cooling making “Prince George a no-brainer.”
He also proposes making Terrace a centre for manufacturing considering its location on the rail line between Prince Rupert “the gateway to Asia” and Chicago “the gateway to America.”
Weaver says the BMW plant built in Washington State was a lost opportunity for B.C.
“BMW wanted three things: they wanted access to clean, renewable power and we’ve got plenty of that. They wanted access to a highly skilled workforce that they can attract and retrain,” he says.
“And we are the most beautiful place to live in and it’s absolutely beautiful up in the North and people can actually afford to live there. And they’ve got access to foreign and domestic markets and the railway positions us beautifully.”