Skeena MLA says smaller industrial projects are key to BC's economic recovery

John Crawford

With the BC Legislature set to resume sitting next week, the Liberal M-L-A for Skeena says he'll be focused on economic recovery for the province in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ellis Ross says with so much red tape and political wrangling in the way of mega-projects these days, the government needs to focus on encouraging smaller industrial development.

"We're lucky that Chevron got off the ground, we're lucky that LNG Canada got off the ground -- but in the meantime, until we fix all the red tape associated with major projects, we should be looking at smaller projects, shovel-ready projects -- and I'm talking about Top Speed out of Terrace, I'm talking about Olefins out of Mcleod Lake, I'm talking about Eliza's Village (in Thornhill), I'm talking about BitCrude out of Rupert -- these are all smaller projects that can be built now, and what I like about these projects is that we're not depending on taxpayers to fund these projects," he said.
Ross says these projects could begin construction within a year if government could eliminate the red tape that stands in the way.
He says some of the projects would not only help the economy but would also help reduce emissions by getting remote northern communities away from burning diesel.

As for the COVID-19 crisis, while he often disagrees with the NDP's approach to many issues, Ross did give the Horgan government credit for its decision to keep politics out of the decision-making when it came to establishing measures for dealing with the novel coronavirus.

"Government didn't make the calls -- they actually depended 100% on Dr. Bonnie Henry; this is a person that specializes in the medical industry; when all this started, one of the first things I did was go to a meeting with, not the medical professionals doing the talking, I listened to a guy talk who specialized in epidemics and viruses, and that had to do with how do we stop the virus from spreading? So I think BC did it right, put it entirely in Bonnie Henry's hands and let her deal with recommendations and guidelines -- this was no time for a politician," he said.

And Ross says that's still the case, as a second wave of the virus is likely coming, and he says that means our best way forward is to continue to listen to the advice of Dr. Henry.

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