Horgan doesn’t have a plan to grow exports and create jobs in natural resources: Wilkinson

B.C. Liberals said on Wednesday that in his address to the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George, Premier John Horgan laid bare his long-awaited plan for B.C.’s natural resource industry — he doesn’t have one.

“What we heard today is that John Horgan and the NDP have no economic strategy in place to save jobs, or promote B.C. exports,” said BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson. “If John Horgan is serious about expanding the demand for B.C.’s natural resources beyond the U.S. market, his recent decision to close all 13 of B.C.’s overseas trade offices is not the way to go about it.”

A recent poll published by Abacus Data confirmed the business community’s profound lack of confidence in the NDP’s willingness or ability to help rescue B.C.’s forest industry or promote our mining and energy exports. The survey indicates 59 per cent feel that “declining opportunities” describes the state of the resource sector under the NDP. The majority polled said the natural resource sector was in poor or terrible condition, with forestry being rated in the worst shape at 77 per cent.

“We had almost 100 mill closures or curtailments in 2019. There are 3,000 forestry workers entering their eighth straight month of strike action because the NDP is intent on breaking up Western Forest Products, and the rest of the resource sector is still facing increased taxes and more red tape,” Wilkinson emphasized. “We need a plan to grow the economy and to create jobs, but all the NDP has come up with is a lackluster early retirement package.”

B.C. exports are down almost seven per cent across the board. Exports in the forest industry have declined almost 20 per cent, along with a 10-per-cent decline in mining exports within the past year.