Resource ministries not going back

Forests

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark’s shuffle of B.C. resource ministries is not a reversal of the previous government’s effort to streamline industrial project approvals, the minister responsible says.

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson has added forests and lands to his title along with natural resource operations. Thomson was assigned last year to oversee the centralization of land use permits that remains the most controversial of former premier Gordon Campbell’s changes.

Unveiling her first cabinet last week, Clark named Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes as a parliamentary secretary to review natural resource operations. But Thomson said that should not be interpreted as a retreat.

“We’re obviously going to look at how that all fits together in the new ministry, and that’s part of Randy Hawes’ job as well,” Thomson said in an interview. “But the basic objective of what we’re trying to achieve in natural resource operations – one project, one process – stays exactly the same.”

Critics have said streamlining approvals for roads, logging, mining and energy projects is a recipe for lowering standards in the name of job creation. Clark has placed a further emphasis on rural resource jobs by moving Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell from forests to a new ministry of jobs, tourism and innovation.

Going into the new cabinet’s first meeting last week, Bell said he is expected to help develop new industries as well as expand the existing forestry and mining sectors.

“The job Premier Clark has given me is to go out and create jobs, and I intend to do that,” Bell said.

Clark campaigned on a promise to deliver rural jobs, and has carried on Campbell’s effort to simplify federal as well as provincial environmental approvals. One of Clark’s first acts as premier was to lobby Prime Minister Stephen Harper for federal approval of a gold and copper mine in the Cariboo region.

Just Posted

Arguments ramp up against proposed Sooke daycare

Proposed Church Road facility clears the latest hurdle

Lengthy cannabis report leaves Sooke council with questions

Temporary use option for pot producers seen as untenable

Vancouver Island School of Art gets new home approved

A new rental complex by ARYZE and The Purdey Group will also house the new art campus

Cloudy skies ahead for Thursday

Plus a look at your weekend

Health Canada suspends Island pot producer’s licence following unannounced visit

Evergreen Medicinal Supply is working on “corrective action”

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Sooke athletes win gold at 55+ Games

Myrtle Acton, 86, leads way with three first place finishes

Most Read