Premier shifts job focus to technology
Premier Christy Clark pushed past controversy over her party's fundraising Monday to roll out her government's updated jobs plan, five years after it became the theme of her leadership.
Clark announced the appointment of University of B.C. president Santa Ono as the government's new chief advisor on innovation, to work towards the latest jobs plan goals of new technology and climate change.
"You will see some nuances from our previous jobs plan five years ago," Clark said at an oil and gas well monitoring company in North Vancouver. "The first one is a new and growing emphasis on technology."
The latest goals are in many cases updates of previous ones, including the permitting and construction of eight new mines in B.C. by 2022. Others include growing tourism revenues by five per cent in each of the next two years, increasing workforce participation for aboriginal people, and having three liquefied natural gas export facilities under construction by 2020.
Clark highlighted the 100,000 technology jobs in the B.C. economy, which she said average 75 per cent higher pay than the industrial average.
Those jobs, and most of the new employment in the province, have come to the urban southwest, while the rest of the province has seen workforce declines.
Both Clark and Jobs Minister Shirley Bond acknowledged the lack of job growth in rural B.C., promising a new strategy to diversify that economy that is being worked on by Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.
Without directly mentioning the Trans Mountain oil pipeline project her government has issued permits to begin, Clark said "getting to yes" on major projects like the Site C dam on the Peace River are a key part of rural development.
"Saying no and waving the white flag when things get tough, are not the ways to get there," Clark said.