Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


February 14, 2013

Remarks on worker recruitment for HD Mining Project and the government response

S. Simpson: This minister wants to talk about inconvenient facts. The facts are that in the 16 months of his job plan 37,000 jobs were lost in the private sector.

That's your record. And what does the federal government tell us? You say that unemployment is down? That's because almost 20,000 people have lost hope and quit looking for jobs because they don't trust you to produce them. Those are the facts.

The debacle over how this government has mismanaged temporary foreign workers is astounding. B.C. has demonstrated a complete failure in protecting resource jobs for British Columbians.

On January 30 the Vancouver Sun quoted the minister, and what did the minister say? Neither he nor the Premier was told during their visit to China in 2011, when the Chinese coal investments were announced, of the full extent of the company's plans to use foreign workers.

Well, in November 2011 a briefing note was produced for the Premier and this minister that clearly said half of the 400 jobs would go to temporary foreign workers. The minister and the Premier and this government knew that the first 200 jobs were for temporary foreign workers. What else did the Premier and the minister agree to that forced them to defend this failed program so vigorously?

...

S. Simpson: The people of this province want to know why this government doesn't put British Columbians first when it comes to jobs. People across this province are angry at this government, and it starts with this minister's own people in Prince George. They're angry, and people across this province are angry.

The reality is this. HD Mining claimed that none of the 300 Canadian applicants were qualified. The Premier and the minister defended that assertion by the company. The minister claimed in the media that the company had done an exhaustive search, and then he chastised the unions for raising the concern.

We now know that many of those applicants had extensive experience in underground mining. Only when the resumé information was released, did the minister back-pedal on the position he had defended from day one.

How does the minister, who is supposed to be leading us on jobs in this province, explain doing so little due diligence on protecting jobs until he had to back out because he got caught?

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