Education, skills training NDP priorities in B.C., says finance critic

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston discussed financial priorities at local and provincewide levels Friday in the Comox Valley.

COMOX VALLEY NDP candidate Kassandra Dycke listens to finance critic Bruce Ralston.

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston discussed financial priorities at local and provincewide levels Friday with the Cumberland and Comox Valley chambers of commerce.

Ralston recognizes potential for long-term, sustainable jobs in the Valley, noting tourism, agriculture and the shellfish industry. If the party wins the spring election, the NDP would provide stable funding to Tourism B.C., and bring in a stronger Buy B.C. program, he said.

While the NDP favours an industry-led tourism model, Ralston said the Liberals have re-done Tourism BC in a partial and ineffective manner.

“For some reason the provincial government chose to assert control over it,” he told reporters Friday.

The potential envisioned from the 2010 Olympics has not been realized, added Ralston, who notes new markets such as adventure and cultural tourism in Cumberland.

“That was one of the striking things about Cumberland,” he said. “Cumberland has a different kind of economy with potential for growth.”

The Comox Valley Chamber, he said, is more focused on the federal budget and implications for a training agenda.

An NDP priority is education and skills training, which the party says are key to preparing young people for jobs.

“Adrian (NDP leader Dix) has made skills training a high priority with us,” Ralston said. “That’s something that is a long-term commitment.”

The party plans to instigate a $100 million grant program to help students obtain post-secondary education, funded by reinstating a capital tax on banks.

Ralston said the NDP recognizes the importance of the local shellfish industry, which must not be put at risk by the Liberals’ weak environmental assessment for the proposed Raven coal mine.

“There’s some basic science still missing. I’m not sure I understand how any kind of conclusion can be drawn until that science is in place,” said Valley NDP candidate Kassandra Dycke, who notes the industry employs upwards of 600 full-time people. “That shellfish industry could be impacted in a really devastating way if we don’t follow through with a comprehensive, stringent environmental assessment process that ensures that that industry would be protected and sustainable for the long term.”

Ralston feels Premier Christy Clark’s focus and commitment “seems to waver from week to week,” and that the Liberal platform is broadly focused and unclear. He said the NDP wants to present a modest platform that reflects the economic temper of the times.

“I think people will be reassured by that,” he said. “My sense is people are ready for change. That’s what we’re trying to deliver: one practical step at a time.”

Just Posted

Y2K Spitfire comes home

Stocky Edwards guest of honour at banquet

Crown Isle acquires Longlands Golf Course

The Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community just got a little bit… Continue reading

Heliports certified at Comox Valley, Campbell River hospitals

Both sites should see heliports up and running by late summer

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Three small wildfires burning west of Courtenay

The blazes are the result of a brief thunderstorm last night

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

Take a look at K’omox National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations

With performances, workshops, artisan vendors and traditional foods filling the day Thursday,… Continue reading

Second Narrows Bridge collapse survivor remembers tragic day

Kelowna’s Norm Atkinson remembers what it was like to survive B.C. ‘s worst industrial accident

Lions need to focus on football after disruptive fan incident: coach

Wally Buono says his players need to focus on football after defensive back Marcell Young hit a fan

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women to be hired

Get your hot dog water, only $40 in Vancouver

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

Privacy questions linger two years after Canada-U.S. terror list deal struck

Two years after Canadian and U.S. security agencies signed an updated agreement officials consider privacy risk

Manitoba MP was allegedly abusive at Red Cross shelter

Canadian Red Cross has filed a complaint that Liberal backbencher MaryAnn Mihychuk ignored protocol

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Most Read