BURNABY, BC, July 29, 2014 /CNW/ – Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney should nix the B.C. Liberal government’s plan to use temporary foreign workers to develop the province’s liquefied natural gas industry, says the United Steelworkers (USW).
In signing a memorandum of understanding with the People’s Republic of China, B.C. Premier Christy Clark appears set to repeat the mistakes from the HD Mining debacle of hiring temporary foreign workers (TFWs) instead of British Columbians, the USW says.
Clark’s deal pledges that B.C. and China will “work together with the appropriate authorities to secure and facilitate the entry of foreign workers” to develop B.C.’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.
“History is repeating itself,” says Stephen Hunt, the USW’s Western Canadian Director.
“In the HD Mining case in Tumbler Ridge, the company claimed it couldn’t find any qualified Canadians and hired miners from China,” Hunt says. “In fact, hundreds of Canadians had applied for positions, including many with several years of mining experience.”
It took a Freedom of Information request by the USW to reveal the level of collusion between the B.C. and Chinese governments in the use of TFWs at HD Mining, Hunt notes…
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SFU professor and energy expert Mark Jaccard says there are some problems with Clark’s LNG plan. He says China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan have a lot of options for getting gas.
“That is going to create this ‘gas-on-gas’ competion that will lower prices over time,” says Jaccard. “The Chinese can develop their own huge shale gas resources or connect by pipeline to Russia or other central Asia countries.”
Jaccard says prices are likely to fall over time, and the huge profits that the government is predicted could be in jepoardy.