Donaldson: Liberals miss mark

Doug Donaldson, NDP MLA for Stikine, isn't impressed with the pre-election budget tabled by the provincial Liberal government.

In town for last week’s Rock Talk and the Chamber of Commerce reception for new businesses, Doug Donaldson, NDP MLA Stikine, took a few minutes to share his thoughts on the recent budget and amendments to timber legislation announced last week by the provincial Liberal government.

“It’s not a balanced budget,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson pointed to the revenues the provincial government was putting on the positive side of the ledger without having yet realized the revenues.

Some of the properties for sale, Donaldson said, have been included in the last three budgets.

The government also included a substantial dividend from BC Hydro in the revenue column, even though the corporation is currently billions of dollars in debt.

“If these two items don’t come through it could easily be a budget with a $500 million defect,” Donaldson said.

On the forestry front, the budget saw $40 million cut from forest health and nothing about the midterm timber supply report.

That means it will be difficult to implement any of the recommendations in the midterm timber supply report.

The environmental assessment office was flat-lined in the budget even though they are considering billions of dollars of projects.

“How is the environmental assessment office supposed to do its job and not have delays in the process if it doesn’t have the funding,” Donaldson asked.

“They have an order of magnitude in the increase in the number of projects that they’re having to process without an increase in their resources?”

The move, Donaldson said, erodes the public’s confidence in the environmental office’s ability to consider these projects.

Despite a burgeoning job market, especially in the resource sector, the pre-election budget announced a $45 million cut in core funding to post-secondary institutions over the next three years.

“How can we have people trained for jobs that could be coming our way,” Donaldson said.

“You look at that [budget cut] and you look at the NWCC School of Exploration and Mining and you wonder how are they ever going to get a commitment for continuous funding rather than lurching from year to year.

Donaldson, who serves as the mining critic for the opposition NDP, said that of five ministries involved with mining, three had their budgets cut and two were flatlined.

This, Donaldson said, would likely lead to additional delays in the permitting process and erosion in the trust in the permitting process.

Donaldson was also not impressed with the Liberals performance on the environment front, pointing to the Auditor General’s recent report on biodiversity.

“There was some pretty damning stuff in there,” Donaldson said of the report.

“The gaps the auditor general identified such as no understanding of biodiversity, no understanding of the effect of the conservation measures that are in place and not adequately measuring or reporting on biodiversity – those are trends we’ve seen over the last 12 years.”

 

 

Just Posted

CT scanner officially open in Smithers

As of noon on July 12 the machine had scanned 45 patients, five of which were emergency CT scans.

Musical collaboration comes together at Midsummer Music Festival

The project was done to acknowledge a potential for harmony among otherwise disparate communities.

WATCH: Mip performs at Bulkley Valley Brewery July 12

Catch two songs from Mip’s nearly three-hour set at the brewery on July 12.

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

VIDEO: Woodchuck rescued from under car on Main Street

Angelika Langen, co-founder of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, made the rescue.

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

Most Read