A stop at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin during a quick tour of the Cariboo was an unexpected highlight, said BCNDP leader John Horgan after he visited Williams Lake on Tuesday.
“I was absolutely delighted with the museum,” Horgan said. “It was the highlight of my week and maybe my month so far.”
As Tuesday was the city’s 87th birthday celebration, Horgan had the opportunity to chat with Mayor Walt Cobb at the celebration as well.
“I’d wanted to meet with the mayor so it was a two for one deal,” Horgan said.
Horgan was on the tour with NDP MLA Carole James.
They also met with the United Steelworkers Local 1-425 for an update on Mount Polley and the recent hydro deferral program offered to mining companies in B.C.
“I support the program, but I want to make sure they aren’t shedding jobs at the same time,” Horgan said.
The union’s president Paul French said the district has sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark asking for a reinstatement of the jobs protection commissioner.
“That’s an independent body that can have a look at all the contributing factors to see what they can do to help,” said French, noting the commissioner can view a company’s books, adjust hydro or gas rates.
“It’s not a case of negotiation, they have the power to make change.”
A jobs protection commissioner was used under the Social Credit government and the NDP, French said.
“They used it for Gibraltar Mines and for Mount Polley the last time. Gordon Campbell got rid of it.”
Atlantic Power’s application to burn rail ties was also part of the discussion, French said, noting the union encouraged the government to help get a way to bring wood waste from the bush leftover from logging to the cogeneration plant.
During their tour Horgan and James met with Chambers of Commerces, service providers and small groups in other cities such as Quesnel and Prince George.
“We’ve heard repeatedly about the costs of medical services premiums and hydro rates,” Horgan said.
Services providers are continually having to justify their programs — whether they are dealing with addictions or seniors— to the ministries of Child and Family Development and Justice, he added.
“Other agencies tend to be able to get very long-term contracts, one being the example of the 20-year contract to privatize laundry services signed by Interior Health,” Horgan said. “Who signs 20 year agreements? Not even Roberto Luongo.”