Community Benefits Agreement jeopardizing local businesses: BC Liberals

Donna Barnett

BC Liberal MLAs are once again calling on the NDP government to scrap their “misnamed” Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), which rewards government-friendly unions with public-sector contracts. Rather than benefiting communities, the agreement threatens their economies by putting local businesses in jeopardy, say the MLAs.

One such local company is Mainline Roofing, a Williams Lake business owned and operated by Niki and Chris Lyons and Matt Kosolofski. While the company has previously worked on major public projects – including work at Thompson River University in Williams Lake and Northwest Community College in Smithers – it will no longer be able to do so as its 20 employees are not unionized.

As a result, the future of Mainline Roofing is in danger. Niki Lyons says job opportunities could be reduced by 40 to 60 per cent.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett is worried the concerns of Mainline Roofing are falling on deaf ears.

“The NDP is endangering the future of Mainline Roofing – and countless other local businesses like it – all to score points with their political allies,” says Barnett. “That’s no way to run a province – or an economy.”

To add insult to injury, the implementation of CBA came about with no public consultation. Niki and Chris Lyons say none of their peers have been consulted on the agreement.

“If I could say one thing to John Horgan it would be to come on up here to the North and talk to us before you create a policy that doesn’t work,” says Chris.

“Ironically, the Community Benefits Agreement doesn’t benefit communities at all,” says Barnett. “Local businesses are the backbone of our provincial economy, and nowhere is this more true than in rural areas. It’s time for the NDP to stop playing politics and start giving businesses the respect they deserve.”