VANCOUVER - With 2,252 jobs hanging in the balance, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia (ICBA) has launched a public campaign to push the NDP-Green alliance to "#Get2Yes" on the Site C dam.
The ICBA launched its campaign with a media event at BC Hydro's Vancouver headquarters, using 2,252 Site C pink slips to illustrate how many people went to work that day on the Peace River dam site.
The association encouraged members of the public who "support clean energy jobs" to visit Get2Yes.icba.ca and send an email to B.C.'s three party leaders.
An agreement between the NDP and Green party was signed recently that would allow the New Democrats to form a minority government, ousting Clark's Liberals after an extremely close provincial election.
The agreement includes a promise to refer the Site C project to the B.C. Utilities Commission to determine its economic viability.
"In their power-sharing deal, John Horgan and Andrew Weaver agreed that Site C should be reviewed based on 'current' supply and demand metrics," said Chris Gardner, ICBA president, in a statement. "This stacks the deck against a project that isn't being built for today, but to help meet B.C.'s electricity needs for the next century, and to offer a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels."
Site C spent more than a decade going through environmental assessments and regulatory reviews, and was signed off by both the federal and provincial governments — all of which was upheld by a unanimous decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal last fall, the ICBA noted.
"B.C. can't simply throw away the $4 billion already spent on Site C," said Jordan Bateman, ICBA communications director. "Taxpayers have made a significant investment in that clean energy project, one ratified by the people who live closest to it — the BC Liberal candidate won the Site C riding by 10 to one over the NDP."
In the coming weeks, ICBA will hold more #Get2Yes on Site C campaign events in Victoria and Fort St. John.
"The 2,252 men and women working on Site C today deserve our support as their jobs hang in the balance," said Gardner. "When Horgan and Weaver talk about 'yesterday's economy,' they demean the work of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who put on a tool belt every morning and go about building our province."
The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) has voiced support for the ICBA campaign. The association represents employers who have approximately 1,000 workers at Site C, many of whom are B.C. tradespeople.
"There's just too much at stake not to finish what was started," said Paul de Jong, president of the PCA. "This is an important project that will support clean and renewable electricity for more than 100 years, contribute $3.2 billion to provincial GDP during its construction cycle alone, and provide thousands of BC jobs. Jeopardizing the livelihood of so many people across our communities is not the right thing to do."
Last year PCA launched the Let's Build It Campaign to help get some of Canada's largest energy and infrastructure projects built, including the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
— With files from the Canadian Press