Earlier today - BC Premier Christy Clark announced that Ridley Terminal in Prince Rupert will receive $15 million to move that project forward - see the Government of BC Press Release here
However, John Cummins of the BC Conservative Party replied to this announcement by saying:
The centre piece of Liberal Premier Christy Clark's jobs agenda is more style over substance.
The premier announced $15 million toward a rail line on Ridley Island for the Canpotex Potash Terminal which has not yet passed its environmental assessment and not surprisingly has not announced a deal with local native bands.
Canpotex Terminals Limited's proposed project consists of the construction and operation of a new potash export terminal on Ridley Island in the port of Prince Rupert, BC. To move forward, Canpotex's plans must comply with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, with includes approval of environmental standards as well as completed negotiations with local native bands. Canpotex has been negotiating with the local native bands for years without result.
"The $15 million is not being advanced in the interest of jobs, it is to sweeten the pot for Canpotex to cut a deal with the natives regarding the export terminal. Why else would Premier Clark contribute millions of taxpayers' dollars to a project that has not yet been approved?"
"The usual Liberal policy of giving natives a veto on new projects has got to end," continued Mr. Cummins, "Projects that are in the best interest of British Columbians must not be held hostage by special interest groups."
A new BC Conservative government would make sure that no one community has veto power; development of crown land should be managed for the benefit of all British Columbians.
As a British Columbia and a BC Liberal supporter - I found Mr. Cummins comments around "natives having a veto" deeply disappointing. I think most, if not all, British Columbians are familiar with the requirements on both Federal/Provncial Crowns to consult First Nations throughout BC and Canada, in accordance with the Delgamuukw decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997, which you can read this court case here
For this reason and many others (flip-flopping on the HST and voting for a provincial NDP candidate when a BC Conservative candidate was running) - I will continue to support the BC Liberals. Their approach to native treaties and other native issues, in addition to other issues is in line with my own political views