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Industry Voices: B.C. building stalled because of political arrogance

Tom Sigurdson
Industry Voices: B.C. building stalled because of political arrogance

On May 9, a-near-jubilant Christy Clark told British Columbians that if there was one thing she learned from the voters that day, it was they wanted to see a more co-operative, collaborative Legislative Assembly.

One has to wonder if the lesson was truly learned or were her words hollow. Since May 9, there has been little demonstration of co-operation or collaboration from the BC Liberals.

There are many things that remain uncertain about the political future of B.C.

But one thing is known — the BC Liberals will not have the confidence of the legislature. By the time a new government is in place and working in the legislature, almost 12 weeks will have been squandered due to the desperate attempt of a few to hold on to political power.

Sixty per cent of British Columbians who voted in the general election, voted for a change.

But the democratic will of the electorate is being ignored by those who say they learned a lesson. But what lesson was learned? How democracy works? Math?

Meanwhile the proposed plan for public infrastructure construction under the BC NDP is on hold. And that waiting period is no small amount of work for the members I represent. The BC Building Trades represents over 40,000 highly skilled workers who build British Columbia and we are wanting to get on to the projects that were talked about during the election.

The Pattullo bridge replacement, the twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the Alberta border, new hospitals in Cowichan, Burnaby and Surrey; new schools in expanding communities across B.C.

These critical projects are on hold and such delays have major consequences.

The federal government has proposed infrastructure spending for projects across our nation and while all other provinces are sharpening their quills and drafting proposals for federal infrastructure funding, B.C.’s plan is stalled.

It’s stalled because of a political arrogance that clearly demonstrates there will be no co-operation or collaboration from the soon-to-be official Opposition Liberals. So much for working for the best interests of British Columbians.

Recently, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson sounded the alarm and asked for rapid action on implementation of the Mayors Transit Plan. Who in Victoria was listening?

Our shipyards are also missing the boat.

On June 6, BC Ferries announced they were hiring Dutch-owned shipyards to build two new ferries.

Why is it acceptable that good, family-supporting jobs will be shipped overseas because ferry procurement is structured against our local shipyards?

The BC NDP has committed that they will allow BC shipyards to bid competitively on every new ferry built.

This is the kind of leadership we need in B.C.

A government committed to building here and now. A government committed to providing opportunities for young British Columbians to learn a trade which will sustain them for a lifetime.

It is time to stop the nonsense. If the BC Liberals have any self-respect they will respect the decision of British Columbians and demonstrate the co-operation and collaboration that Clark spoke of late into the night of May 9.

Tom Sigurdson is the executive director of the BC Building Trades Council. Send comments or questions to

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