Clark promises more mines in ambitious jobs plan
Premier Christy Clark has laid out an ambitious plan that pledges to put the province in first or second place in the country for job creation and economic development by 2015.
Clark has been releasing pieces of her plan all week, but Thursday, she laid out the full agenda in a major policy speech in front of the Vancouver Board of Trade and on a splashy new B.C. Jobs Plan website.
Amongst the new promises was a commitment to eight new mines and the expansion of another nine mines currently operating in British Columbia by 2015.
Clark also said her plan includes opening a Major Investments Office whose central focus is helping investors open doors to emerging markets in Asia.
Clark said the office will work with investors to ensure business and government work together to promote and develop opportunities.
During the past week, Clark's jobs tour took her to Prince Rupert to support port expansion, to Kitimat where she touted liquefied natural gas exports and to Kamloops, where she said her government will increase by 50 per cent the numbers of international students studying in British Columbia in the next four years.
In Surrey, Clark added $3 million to a small business venture capital program and extended by three years a $31-million apprenticeship program. She also appointed Finance Minister Kevin Falcon to head a panel reviewing the B.C. tax system.
Clark is also planning a B.C. trade mission to China and India in November.
"We are facing a generational opportunity," she told the Vancouver Board of Trade. "We have a chance to lead Canada into the next century."
B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair was unimpressed, saying the plan does nothing to create jobs now.
Earlier on Thursday Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. confirmed it is aiming to expand its coal production in British Columbia by almost 20 per cent.
Teck runs five mines in the province and has expansion plans for most of them. It may also re-open its Quintette coal mine in northern B.C. Company spokesperson Marcia Smith said it will begin recruiting 250 new workers immediately.