MLA responds

I am responding to the Steelworkers Union letter in your paper on November 15.

I am responding to the Steelworkers Union letter in your paper on November 15.

Unions and union reps play an important role in the employee-employer relationship, so I understand why Alex Hanson of the United Steelworkers would be concerned if he thought good jobs were going to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW), rather than to available B.C. workers. I’d also understand if it made sense to train up British Columbians for these specific temporary jobs. In fact, if that were the case, I’d be upset too. However, the facts show a different story:

1. The federal government decided to allow 200 TFWs into B.C. from China because

underground coal mining has all but disappeared in Canada and there are no surplus qualified underground coal miners available.

2. Underground coal mining is extremely dangerous because of methane gas and coal dust. Surface coal mine workers and underground metal mine workers are generally not trained for this unique work and those who are trained, are already working.

3. The 200 Chinese underground coal miners are here for 4-6 months to take a bulk sample of coal for testing. If the coal proves to be of high quality, the company may choose to invest the hundreds of millions required to build an underground coal mine.

4. There will be no new mine and no new jobs for British Columbians, and no new training opportunities, unless the company makes the decision to build the first new Canadian underground coal mine in decades and that decision will not be made UNLESS these temporary foreign workers take the bulk sample.

5. If the company chooses to spend the hundreds of millions to build an underground coal mine, it will take two years to construct, an adequate time for Canadian workers to be trained for the opportunities.

6. It makes no sense for the tax payer to invest in years of training until we know there will be underground coal mines to work in. Only the NDP would start training for new mines that do not exist.

I respect unions and union reps, but let’s have these discussions about new jobs, business and skills training from a factual basis and keep the politics out of it.

 

Bill Bennett

MLA, Kootenay East

Just Posted

Sledder dies near Fernie

Fernie Search and Rescue was tasked by the RCMP to respond to a sledder in medical distress

GALLERY: Elkford goes wild for winter

Big turnout to annual Winter in the Wild festival in Elkford

Fernie Mountain Film Festival this weekend

The Radicals, This Mountain Life to headline Fernie Mountain Film Festival Feb. 22-24

City of Fernie poised to approve $19.3m loan for multi-purpose centre

The City must prove it can pay its portion of the $72.5 million centre if successful for a grant

Elk Valley mines boost overall Teck production

Fording River, Elkview achieve record fourth quarter; Fording, Greenhills have bumper year

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Kootenay man dies in crash near Sparwood

Accident occurred last night east of Sparwood, RCMP appealing for witnesses

POLL: Are Wildlife Detection Systems in the Elk Valley working?

In 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed two wildlife… Continue reading

Sparwood zoning bylaw review underway

This is the first comprehensive review of the bylaw since it was adopted in 1981

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Most Read