THE TERRACE Standard asked both candidates for the BC Liberal nomination for Skeena the same two questions.
Here are the questions and the responses.
Question No. 1. My Mountain Co-op has a long standing request into the provincial government to forgive a delinquent loan that is now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The loan was originally taken out by the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation. Do you agree the loan should be forgiven or not?
Carol Fielding: I would work with the My Mountain Co-op group and the provincial government to advocate for a resolution that would work for both parties. As a member of the Co-op, I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to purchase their co-op membership, if they have not done so already.
Carol Leclerc: First, it is Shames Mountain Ski Corporation that has the long standing forgive a delinquent loan request not my MMC. MMC is trying to finagle a deal to buy the hill with SMSC without having to take on all SMSC debt….I believe is correct. So, if close to 50% of the provincial budget is going to health care, why is the government adding royalties onto an activity that promotes a healthy lifestyle? That’s like putting barriers for people to buy healthy food. If the ski hill were to close because the “royalties” were the difference in making it or not, then we could potentially be removing a healthy activity for people to participate in.
In addition, if the government wanted “rent” for using the hill, may be the “rent” money could be based on 2% of net revenues instead of 2% of gross revenues. MMC has no control over the weather, how many people are going to buy passes or how the long the ski season is going to be. I would much rather see dollars being put into more activities that promote a healthy lifestyle than creating obstacles. Let’s do everything we can to prevent diabetes, heart disease, strokes, obesity or other health issues that consume our precious health dollars.
The north should have different consideration as well. Our ski hill, like other northern ski hills, is not strategically located to large numbers of people like being in the Kootenays and close to Calgary, or the Okanagan or Whistler where there is large population to draw from. They also have ski facilities with far greater capacity including accommodation on site. To the government must take these considerations into account when reviewing the loan and in anticipation of being able to successfully allow MMC to move forward.
Question No. 2. The growing number of companies opening up shop in the area has increased the number of jobs. But there’s no way to know if local people are benefitting. Do you agree with setting local employment quotas and do you think companies should be more transparent about releasing local hire statistics?
Carol Fielding: Currently we know that not all northwest residents have the kind of skills required by the jobs being created by the new projects. The Northwest Regional Task Force, of which I am a participant, has, as their terms of reference, the mandate to develop a skills shortage training plan that will be completed by the end of November 2012.
This plan will work on an education/training to bridge the gaps currently being experienced in the region, so that more locals will benefit.
I believe that the majority of the projects that are coming to the region have already instituted an employ locals first position, when they can.
As for the release of information, I am not aware that this is an issue but if so would work towards a better reporting format at all levels that would outline that information.
Carol Leclerc: Yes. If companies need engineers or truck drivers or equipment operators, hiring local would make sense especially from the company’s perspective. It costs money to bring in people to work. If the local market can provide the employees needed, yes, locals should have first crack. Local workers will put the money back into the local economy rather than a “camp” worker who takes their pay cheque to their community. Setting quotas is a good idea but the people filling in the quotas shouldn`t think it is a free ticket and not perform to a high standard.