NDP MLAs meet with stakeholders in city

NDP MLAs meet with stakeholders in city

NDP MLAs Doug Donaldson and Scott Fraser, both critics in the opposition party, were the two who remained behind Wednesday morning to tell members of the media what they and their colleagues had discussed with various community stakeholders.

NDP MLAs Doug Donaldson and Scott Fraser, both critics in the opposition party, were the two who remained behind Wednesday morning to tell members of the media what they and their colleagues had discussed with various community stakeholders.

Nine party MLAs, members of the party’s sustainable economic policy committee, were in the city Tuesday to discuss issues of economic development and gather regional information to take it back to the NDP caucus and the legislature.

Forestry, mining, agriculture, and First Nations relations were issues that were identified.

The future lack of wood fibre, the prospective reduction in the annual allowable cut and the lack of investment in silviculture under the Liberal administration were matters of concern.

“There is no meaningful transition plan,” said Donaldson of the steps the NDP believe are needed to minimize the future impact on forestry workers. “The AAC is a bad news story. Workers need a transition plan; they deserve that and they are getting no attention.”

Both Fraser and Donaldson charge the Liberal government with not providing meaningful consultation with First Nations on mining issues.  They said the NDP is in favour of mining and supports sustainable jobs but noted that won’t happen without “meaningful consultation with First Nations.”

Donaldson suggested that the province’s treaty negotiations were not as inclusive as they should be.

As for the charge that an NDP government would drive investment and business out of the province, Donaldson and Fraser say that’s a scare tactic.

The job creation record under the Liberals is not a good one, they say, suggesting B.C. — under the Liberal government — has experienced a high rate of job loss.

They did, however, credit the government with finally raising the minimum wage after years of stonewalling.

As for a recent poll that suggests the Liberals under Clark have a small lead over the NDP, both MLAs attributed it to a leadership race “bump” and that when the NDP elect their leader April 17 they too will experience the same benefit.

They couldn’t comment on the recently released federal budget as they hadn’t seen it and didn’t think a prospective federal election would detract from their race.