BC Conservative leader John Cummins was in Prince Rupert on Dec. 5 as part of a northwest campaign tour, and spoke about the proliferation of energy projects proposed in the region during an interview with the Prince Rupert Northern View.
“I have done a lot of traveling in the interior and the north and what I am finding is a huge number of people are upset with the slowness to get resource projects underway, whether that is mining, LNG or pipelines. They are really concerned that we could be creating more wealth and jobs if government responded quicker and gave these projects the green light,” said Cummins, alluding to a two-decade delay in the Prosperity Mine proposal.
“If you expect people to make an investment in B.C… If they face a 20-year wait then investors are going to go elsewhere and BC needs those jobs.”
As an example of the impact projects of this nature have, Cummins pointed to the containerization of Prince Rupert’s own Fairview Terminal.
“It was a long, hard struggle to get the container port running, but I don’t think you will find anyone in the community that wants to turn back the clock and see the high paying jobs that were created lost… Those are the kind of jobs people in the province need,” he said.
“There is a huge opportunity for B.C.”
But with all developments in BC there is the question of Aboriginal rights and title, and Cummins said that issue needs to be addressed to really move the projects forward.
“The title essentially belongs tot he province, it is only logical to assume that. If the province doesn’t have the title, then what is the point of the Legislature… We can’t assume one group can veto the power of the Legislature,” he said, adding that he does believe consultation with Aboriginal groups is still required.
While there is no candidate in the North Coast riding for the BC Conservative Party yet, Cummins said there has been interest expressed. Cummins plans to put the policies and platform of the party out to the province over the months leading up to the election, and said the Conservatives has high hopes for the election this spring.
“It’s going to be a tough three-way race… You don’t get into politics to finish second. We’re gunning for first place, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“The BC Conservative Party is the oldest party in B.C… It has been dormant for a long time, but there is the tradition there. People understand what it is to be conservative, and I think our policies and platform will be well received.”