Resource ministries not going back

Forests

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark’s shuffle of B.C. resource ministries is not a reversal of the previous government’s effort to streamline industrial project approvals, the minister responsible says.

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson has added forests and lands to his title along with natural resource operations. Thomson was assigned last year to oversee the centralization of land use permits that remains the most controversial of former premier Gordon Campbell’s changes.

Unveiling her first cabinet last week, Clark named Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes as a parliamentary secretary to review natural resource operations. But Thomson said that should not be interpreted as a retreat.

“We’re obviously going to look at how that all fits together in the new ministry, and that’s part of Randy Hawes’ job as well,” Thomson said in an interview. “But the basic objective of what we’re trying to achieve in natural resource operations – one project, one process – stays exactly the same.”

Critics have said streamlining approvals for roads, logging, mining and energy projects is a recipe for lowering standards in the name of job creation. Clark has placed a further emphasis on rural resource jobs by moving Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell from forests to a new ministry of jobs, tourism and innovation.

Going into the new cabinet’s first meeting last week, Bell said he is expected to help develop new industries as well as expand the existing forestry and mining sectors.

“The job Premier Clark has given me is to go out and create jobs, and I intend to do that,” Bell said.

Clark campaigned on a promise to deliver rural jobs, and has carried on Campbell’s effort to simplify federal as well as provincial environmental approvals. One of Clark’s first acts as premier was to lobby Prime Minister Stephen Harper for federal approval of a gold and copper mine in the Cariboo region.

Just Posted

Husky robbery suspect caught

A man suspected of robbing the Husky gas station and convenience store… Continue reading

BCHL Bulldogs are for sale

The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society seeks a buyer after six full seasons of operation

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Port Alberni will consider cannabis bylaws at committee of the whole meeting

Members of the public are invited to provide input

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Shots fired near Chicago hospital, multiple victims: police

Police say at least one possible offender has been shot

B.C. to allow ride hailing services to operate in 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Calgary bobsled death inquiry recommends infrared technology, safety audits

A judge found the deaths of 17-year-old twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell were accidental and caused by blunt-force head and neck trauma

First ski hill in B.C. opened this weekend

Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, was the first ski hill in the province to open for season

$50k fine and community service for Vancouver Island tax evader

David Gonyea was given a nine-month conditional sentence

Most Read