FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall is in the Peace Region this weekend and has already had numerous productive meetings with government officials and various other groups.
Speaking with Energeticcity.ca on Saturday morning, Mungall also addressed the press release that was sent out by the BC Liberal Caucus which included Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier and Peace River North MLA Dan Davies calling on Mungall to sit down with concerned residents in the area.
“It was an odd press release coming from them. Especially since what they are asking me to do, is exactly what I’m doing. I’m meeting with industry leaders, I had a really great round table discussion this morning and yesterday I was going to various job sites and speaking with the people that work at those sites as well as First Nations Leaders and I started speaking local government yesterday – Mayor Ackerman and Mayor Fraser and then today doing another round table with local government. That’s what I’m doing this entire two day trip is really getting a sense of what are the local concerns and what they want to see from the new NDP government.”
Mungall says that it was clear that the BC Liberals were trying to score political points with their press release and request.
“There are really serious issues going on here around local economic development and people wanting certainty with their jobs and I just don’t think it’s an appropriate time to be playing political games, so the two local MLAs could have called me with anyone specific they wanted me to meet and they knew I was coming. All the same, I phoned and left a message at MLA Bernier’s office. I did leave him a message letting him know that I would be happy to meet with anybody he would like to suggest so I await his reply.”
The Minister says her meetings with Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman and District of Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser were ‘fantastic’.
“It was really wonderful and what they really wanted to highlight was the importance of building local economy and ensuring that local communities get the benefit of industry and I couldn’t be more on board.
That specific request is exactly what is in our four conditions for LNG. Those four conditions are a road map to success and that is exactly how industry is seeing them.”
Mungall says she didn’t visit Site C, as the project is now before the BC Utilities Commission.
“It’s an independent process and I’m very cognizant that ensuring independence is retained.”
This wasn’t Mungall’s first trip to the Peace Region. She has been here before both as opposition critic and during her childhood.
“Not my first time at all. I was up in this area two years ago as opposition critic for advanced education and then as a child, I spent a lot of my time in the Peace River country. My parents and my family are from this region but on the Alberta side.”
In a media scrum on Friday at the Dawson Creek Rodeo and Exhibition, Mungall also addressed the notion that the BC NDP and the Greens are going to kill jobs.
“This notion that it is a brown versus green and that jobs and the environment don’t come together, that’s old and we need to get past that. I think most people are already past that but the reality is, is that it is about protecting our water, land and air as well as ensuring that we have good family supporting jobs in every region of the province. That’s our way forward, that’s our roadmap forward and that is what a lot of industries are really excited to work on.”