Resource ministries not going back

Forests

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark’s shuffle of B.C. resource ministries is not a reversal of the previous government’s effort to streamline industrial project approvals, the minister responsible says.

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson has added forests and lands to his title along with natural resource operations. Thomson was assigned last year to oversee the centralization of land use permits that remains the most controversial of former premier Gordon Campbell’s changes.

Unveiling her first cabinet last week, Clark named Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes as a parliamentary secretary to review natural resource operations. But Thomson said that should not be interpreted as a retreat.

“We’re obviously going to look at how that all fits together in the new ministry, and that’s part of Randy Hawes’ job as well,” Thomson said in an interview. “But the basic objective of what we’re trying to achieve in natural resource operations – one project, one process – stays exactly the same.”

Critics have said streamlining approvals for roads, logging, mining and energy projects is a recipe for lowering standards in the name of job creation. Clark has placed a further emphasis on rural resource jobs by moving Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell from forests to a new ministry of jobs, tourism and innovation.

Going into the new cabinet’s first meeting last week, Bell said he is expected to help develop new industries as well as expand the existing forestry and mining sectors.

“The job Premier Clark has given me is to go out and create jobs, and I intend to do that,” Bell said.

Clark campaigned on a promise to deliver rural jobs, and has carried on Campbell’s effort to simplify federal as well as provincial environmental approvals. One of Clark’s first acts as premier was to lobby Prime Minister Stephen Harper for federal approval of a gold and copper mine in the Cariboo region.

Just Posted

Duo robs Harrison Hot Springs gas station

Husky manager planning to tighten security

Snow prayers answered as Manning Park ski hill opens Friday

Ski hill will be open seven days a week starting Dec. 14, and cross-country trails as well

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Most Read