“We can spend the money now, but there is nothing coming in,”
That’s from Prince George-Mackenzie Liberal MLA Mike Morris on yesterday’s (Monday) throne speech that highlighted lots of spending to improve health care and other necessities in the province.
However, Morris told Vista Radio there was no mention of how to improve our natural resource sector – he added the best way is to diversify our economy something a lot of people don’t want to talk about.
“You know we’ve had our heads buried in this forestry bucket now for nearly a century and people can’t think of other opportunities other than forestry. But, the problem is that we are out of harvestable trees and we have to look at other opportunities.”
Some of those new opportunities Morris mentioned include some very significant copper fines in our area as well as nickel and other minerals – all the essential ingredients necessary to electrify BC and improve the efficiency of our transportation systems.
Another solution Morris touched on would be the construction of a petrochemical plant in Prince George.
West Coast Olefins tabled a 5.6 billion dollar petrochemical plant within the BCR Industrial site that was essentially scrapped by the company in October of 2021 due to mounting opposition from residents, Prince George City Council and most notably the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
In addition, a proposed Natural Gas Extraction Plant in Pineview, near Prince George was shot down by the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George by a 9-5 margin in December of that year.
Even with those speed bumps, Morris believes the benefits outweigh the risks.
“We should be producing the polyurethane, the polyethylenes, and polypropylene products that make up the electrified world that we have with vehicles and polymers that we have in our watered aircraft and transportation systems. We can build it all and manufacture it all here in Prince George actually.”
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond noted the throne speech also outlined the number of struggles BC residents are facing.
“Many people are working harder than ever and they are just not getting ahead. The Throne Speech outlined the fact that British Columbians under this government are facing challenges from a financial perspective, a safety perspective, and a health perspective.”
“I mean, I can’t tell you how many times it was repeated in the Throne Speech that food prices are going up, it’s hard to find a doctor, mental health and addictions challenges are a significant issue, we have a toxic drug crisis and housing costs are up,” added Bond.
“What British Columbians deserve is action. They want to know what it’s going to take for them to get a family doctor. People who are waiting for diagnostics, those kinds of things. What is it going to take to reduce those waitlists?
Budget Day in BC is set for February 28th.