BC Liberals: Premier Eby sides with NDP-supporting unions over Indigenous peoples

THE BC Liberals allege that despite Health Minister Adrian Dix’s misleading comments in the Legislature over the past week, the NDP government is continuing to block local and Indigenous workers and contractors’ opportunity to work on public projects on their own lands.

Indigenous business owners and leaders from the Cowichan Tribes are speaking out against the NDP’s botched Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs), which discriminate against 85 per cent of construction workers in favour of NDP-supportive unions and threaten projects such as Cowichan Hospital Replacement Project.

“The Cowichan Hospital is three years behind schedule and $850 million over budget due to NDP incompetence,” said Greg Kyllo, BC Liberal Critic for Labour, on Monday. “At a time when families are struggling, it’s shameful to see every single one of the NDP’s community rip-off projects — including the Pattullo Bridge, Highway 1-four lane upgrades and others — result in less for more.”

“Article 17 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) says very specifically that Indigenous peoples have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour,” said BC Liberal Critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Michael Lee. “This is a clear violation of UNDRIP, as this is exactly what we have seen under the NDP’s discriminatory regime against the companies and workers of the Cowichan Tribes, including Jon Coleman.”

Despite multiple calls for the government to scrap the discriminatory CBA program, Premier David Eby and the NDP continue to stand by their union friends instead of pursuing economic reconciliation, the BC Liberals said.

Jon Coleman, Jon Co Contracting. said: “I thought we were past the days of such discrimination, sidelining and treating Indigenous peoples as if we don’t know anything. I thought the residential school and Indian Day School times were over, but I was wrong. The NDP government is handling us today just like governments many decades ago handled me and our people in the past.”