FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies and Chair of the BC/Yukon Caucus, along with British Columbia and Yukon Conservative Members of Parliament and Senators were in Prince George last weekend to meet with Stakeholders and discuss concerns regarding B.C.’s political reality and future.
The first day, Zimmer says they heard from the First Nations Development Group, The BC Wildlife Federation among others.
“The second day was a strategy session on how to keep B.C. successful. So basically, five years out, what do we need to do to make sure B.C. stays on a positive track.”
Zimmer says he’s concerned, as is his caucus, regarding resource development taking a huge impact if certain governments hold power.
“I’m deeply concerned with the provincial political reality there. You can say a lot about the different political parties but there are political parties that are very much against resource development and that is what concerns a lot of us in B.C. and I think especially in the north, oil and gas provides a lot of people with jobs and roofs over their heads and meals on their tables, like forestry and like mining.”
He explains that the BC NDP and BC Green Party are a risk for B.C., especially the areas that rely on resource development.
“Two other political parties, the BC NDP and the Greens seem to have vowed to shut all of those down if they get in power. My concern is that, that is now closer to being a reality then ever and we need to do what we can to fight that.”
When it comes to Site C and BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver calling those jobs ‘artificial’, Zimmer said the indirect jobs also need to be taken into account.
“There are 2,200 plus people, are they artificial people then? That is the question I would ask because they are real people working at real jobs that are really feeding their families with these jobs. I think the part that he doesn’t also see is the fact that there are 2,2000 direct jobs but you can also times that by three or even five indirect jobs related to Site C and the people that work there. It all comes down to jobs for real people.”
He also says the Green Party has stances that aren’t realistic and could look at things differently compared to what they currently see.
“The one thing that I have challenged, I’ve known a member of the Green Party in Ottawa in Elizabeth (May) fairly well and the challenge that I made to them, I just said: ‘Honestly, how can you have that particular position when you get on the same plane I do, you fly back from Ottawa to Vancouver, how can you have a position where you are against absolutely any kind of fossil fuel development and you use it yourself?’. To me, it’s hypocrisy.
Zimmer added that the ‘games’ politicians are playing are proving to be detrimental to citizens of the province.
“What is ‘political game’ to certain political parties, it is real people’s livelihoods at stake. These aren’t games for us, these are real peoples lives that are affected by the decisions they make in Victoria.”