The provincial government will be focusing on British Columbia’s main industries to maintain and create jobs, says Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.
Talking about the new BC Jobs Plan, Bennett said the key to keeping residents employed is to build on the province’s strengths.
“We are lucky in BC and especially here in the East Kootenays, to have very strong industries already in place,” he said.
“Christy Clark has been working on something she calls the BC Jobs Plan. Given the state of the international economy BC needs to protect the jobs we have and to try to grow some new jobs as well.
“Governments don’t create jobs but they can enable investment and the creation of jobs.
“We have identified our strengths in industry and will be focusing on these sectors.”
Bennett said minerals and coal remains the top sector and said the government needs to support the coal industry. “We are very lucky to have those jobs here and need to look after them,” said Bennett.
Bennett also identified the forestry and tourism sectors as being strong industries in the Elk Valley that need focus.
He also identified international students as a huge industry, almost as big as the coal industry.
“The College of the Rockies has over 100 international students,” said Bennett.
“They come from Japan, Korea, South America and Europe and they pay more fees and spend a lot of money locally while they are here. It is big business.”