NDP leader John Horgan paid a third visit to Maple Ridge – and twice in three days – on Tuesday, this time to talk trades training at the International Union of Operating Engineers centre on 256th Street.
The NDP wants to expand skills and apprenticeship training by setting definite ratios for the numbers of apprentices on government projects, such as roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
The party also wants to provide incentives for public sector agencies to hire apprentices, wants to require local hiring, and strengthen accrediting requirements.
Horgan claims that 96,000 jobs in B.C. could be created through school, hospital and highway construction, as well as new home building, under the NDP.
However, the news release didn’t give any costs for such steps or explain how it would be funded.
Horgan said B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark “gutted” the apprenticeship system.
“And jobs that would have gone to British Columbians went to temporary foreign workers.”
According to the B.C. Federation of Labour, the Liberal government, in 2002, shut down the Industry Trades and Apprenticeship Commission, composed of businesses, labour, schools and government, and adopted an industry-run training system.
That resulted in a drop of apprentices who actually go on to complete their training, from between 60 to 80 per cent in the 1990s to 43 per cent in 2011, says the B.C. Federation of Labour.
Instead, in 2004, the government created the Industry Training Authority, a Crown agency.
Horgan’s visit is the third to this area in the run-up to the May 9 provincial election.
Liberal leader Christy Clark visits Marc Dalton’s campaign office in downtown Maple Ridge on Thursday, at 5 p.m.
The Islamic Society of Ridge Meadows made the announcement as it endorsed Liberal candidate Doug Bing in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding.
“We’re inviting our community to come out and meet her,” Ahmed Yousef, with the society, who’s working on Bing’s campaign.
“I see Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows having quite a bit more prominence on the provincial side of the discussion,” after next election, Yousef added.
Liberal candidate Marc Dalton countered that the NDP’s opposition to BC Hydro’s Site C expansion dam project in the Peace country and their opposition to LNG will undermine the economy.
Since 2011, there have been more than 200,000 jobs created, most of which are full time, Dalton added.
“Our focus has been keeping taxes low and creating jobs. We’ve have Canada’s strongest economy and we also lead the country in job creation. So, we’re getting it right.”
The government is also reallocating $130 million for skills training and education, and committed $185 million for equipment and infrastructure for trades instruction, he added.
He said the Operating Engineers also support Site C.
“We want to see this province prosper,” Dalton said.
“They have been against LNG.” Billions though have already being spent on LNG, he added, noting that two LNG projects are underway.