Premier Christy Clark and Laurie Throness

Clark ties liquefied natural gas plan to Agassiz job security

Premier's visit includes trips to manufacture plants, talks about LNG plant providing jobs across British Columbia

It’s been a busy year for B.C.’s premier. Since becoming the Liberal Party leader last March, Christy Clark has had to negotiate heavy issues, including the HST recall, a lengthy teachers union dispute, an overburdened justice system and most recently, debates over marijuana decriminalization.

But when asked which one issue she would like to clear off her desk for good, during an interview with Black Press this week, Clark paused to consider the options.

“If there was one thing I could snap my fingers and finish tomorrow,” she said, “it would have to our Jobs Plan.”

The plan is “hugely important for the province,” she said, and groundwork has been laid.

“Now we need to execute it.”

Clark was touring Agassiz and Rosedale on Thursday, making stops Britco and Ty Crop manufacturing. Britco is large-scale modular building manufacturer, and provided housing during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They have plants in Agassiz and Langley. Rosedale-based Ty Crop builds trailers and oil field equipment. Both companies are large employers in the Fraser Valley.

Her tour included a visit to The Observer office in Agassiz for a sit-down interview, where she focused on the promise of trade agreements with Asian countries. Earlier that day, she had met with Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of the State Council of China, to discuss B.C.’s potential as a destination for Chinese investment and as a North American hub for trans-Pacific trade, business and cultural exchange.

Encouraging trade and investments will secure jobs across the province, she said Thursday. Clark has been calling for a liquefied natural gas plant in B.C., with plans to export much of that resource to Asia.

The economy is connected “north to south, east to west,” she said, and a northern B.C. LNG plant would provide jobs throughout the province, including at manufacturers like Ty Crop and Britco.

The cost of natural gas is much higher in Asia than it is in North America, she said, and now is the time to capitalize on that discrepancy.

Clark’s visit wasn’t just about securing jobs. While she still hasn’t called a by-election in the Chilliwack-Hope riding, the Liberals have nominated Laurie Throness as their candidate. The MLA seat was left vacant by Liberal MLA Barry Penner, who retired earlier this year.

Throness and Clark walked along Pioneer Avenue in Agassiz, popping into several businesses to chat and have photos taken with people along the way.