By his own admission, Premier John Horgan confessed the mess created by his botched caribou recovery plan was “my bad.” I give him credit for admitting to his own mistake, but one would hope our premier has learned from this huge misstep, let alone repeat another. But that’s exactly what happened this week.
On Friday, it was revealed that B.C. posted a total of 3,700 job losses — mostly full-time — all in the month of June. As we are all painfully aware, this includes the announcement of 190 people who will lose their pay cheque when Louisiana Pacific shuts down its Peace Valley OSB mill indefinitely in Fort St. John.
These workers join hundreds more who have lost their jobs in our region and throughout B.C.’s forest industry amid permanent and indefinite mill closures. In a bid to lower expectations, NDP finance minister Carole James already signaled that there would be no new provincial funding to assist a forest industry in crisis. And that’s when the bomb dropped.
On Sunday, Horgan announced he will blow a million dollars to purchase free tickets to the symphony for families located throughout the Lower Mainland, a region filled with NDP-held ridings. I wish I was making this up.
“What great news for our community!” declared Vancouver West End and NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert.
To add insult to already injured forestry workers, Horgan compounded the error by announcing a new training program on Monday to “help people gain experience and secure forestry jobs.” This time it was NDP social services minister Shane Simpson, who touted: “One key way to reduce poverty is to open doors for people to new jobs and careers. This program will prepare people for a wide variety of forestry jobs, putting them on the path to better opportunities.”
Are you kidding, Premier Horgan?
These are not missteps. This is the mark of pure incompetency, if not downright insensitivity to the human toll mounting along with the economic turmoil in rural and Northern B.C. Meanwhile, the premier calmly plays the fiddle while the forest industry continues to burn down all around him.
Dan Davies is the MLA for Peace River North.