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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16 2012
USW2009 - STEELWORKERS PROTEST AT MLA'S OFFICE -
BC JOBS FOR BC WORKERS
Chinese mining company Dehua wants to bring temporary foreign workers from China to work as miners in northern B.C. And they have the support of BC Premier Christy Clark and Jobs Minister Pat Bell to do it.
Temporary Foreign Workers are exploited through low wages, no benefits and little workplace protection. The wealth generated through those wages and resource extraction leave our province, while British Columbians are left wondering why the government won’t stand up for us?
Is this type of future we want for our country? A future where low-paid foreign workers with no rights or protection fill jobs that drive down Canadian standards and allow larger profits for already profitable mining companies?
It’s clear what’s at stake. Speak out!
Tell the Premier to say NO to Chinese coal mines in BC.
Email Christry Clark: Premier@gov.bc.ca
Email Pat Bell: JTI.Minister@gov.bc.ca
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8 2012
United Steelworkers have taken the campaign to restrict raw-log exports from BC to the provincial legislature.
Lobbyists from various USW locals will spend most of this week talking to elected representatives about the severe impact of escalating raw-log exports on jobs, markets and companies in BC’s resource-based communities.
Last year over 5.5 million cubic meters of raw logs were exported from BC, undermining manufacturing jobs and contributing to the 35,000 jobs lost since the BC Liberals were elected in 2001. Meanwhile BC sawmills and other wood-processing operations say they are having a hard time getting the good-quality logs they need to stay in business.
Forest minister Steve Thomson has reportedly overturned numerous recommendations from the province’s Timber Export Advisory Committee which advised that BC firms had offered “fair market prices” for logs that companies wanted to export. Thomson ruled that the logs should be exported anyway, making a mockery of the log-export regulatory process, said the NDP opposition.
The Liberal government ordered a review of log-export policy earlier this year after Premier Christy Clark and Thomson indicated to the annual Truck Loggers Association convention that the government would say “yes” to more exports and attacked NDP leader Adrian Dix for urging reductions in exports.
The review was scheduled to report by mid-April but nothing has been forthcoming.
MUSHROOM FARM DEATHS AND INJURIES PREVENTABLE, CORONER’S JURY TOLD
Three men who died at a Fraser Valley mushroom farm after being overcome in a shed by a mix of toxic gases despite repeated warnings from workplace safety authorities, didn't have to die, a coroner's inquest has been told.
Coroner's lawyer Chris Godwin said in his opening statement at the inquiry into the deaths that both the fatalities and injuries to three other men might have been averted if the workers had known the risk and the company had put the proper safety procedures in place. “Coroner, this was a tragedy that perhaps could have been prevented,” Godwin said.
Ut Tran, 35, Han Pham, 47, and Chi Wai Chan, 55, all died within moments of entering a pump shed where toxic gas had accumulated in September 2008. Two other workers survived but suffered permanent, severe brain damage in the incident.
Jurors heard one man went into a shed that day in September 2008 and was overcome by a mix of toxic gases. The others followed to try to help him. What followed was chaos made more difficult by the fact that the workers spoke only Vietnamese and the rescuers only English.
BC CONSERVATIVES DOWN BUT BC LIBERALS STILL FACE ELECTORAL ‘WIPEOUT’
Even with support for the B.C. Conservatives on the wane, the governing Liberals would be facing an electoral wipeout if a provincial election were held now, a new poll shows.
The telephone survey by Forum Research was conducted on May 2. It shows support for the BC New Democrats has hit 48% among decided and leaning voters, while the B.C. Conservatives, having placed third in two by-elections in April, dropped to 19% since the last Forum poll in April. The B.C. Liberals held on to 23% support – half of the support they had on election day in May, 2009.
Projecting those results on the electoral map, the pollster said voters would deliver a dramatic shakeup in provincial politics if the election – still a year away – were called now. It would see the return to government of the BC New Democratic Party in a landslide, with 70 of the 85 seats in the legislature.
The BC Liberals, having governed for more than a decade, would be reduced to just 13 seats. The rest would go to independent candidates, according to the pollster; the BC Conservatives would be shut out.
But the election is more than a year away and Premier Christy Clark has proposed changing her party’s name to help reunite Conservatives and Liberals under her “free enterprise” banner.
BC Liberal members are set to meet for their next convention in October where the name change could be put to a vote. Clark did not offer an alternative name this week but told reporters she favours something that wouldn’t alienate federal Conservatives. “We should be as inclusive as possible,” she said.
However, the Forum poll found that the proposal to rename the BC Liberals is stirring little enthusiasm, with fewer than a quarter of Liberal supporters in favour of the idea. Forum president Lorne Bozinoff ridiculed the notion that a name change would help repair the BC Liberals’ fortunes.
“It’s not like the election is so far away that people are going to forget who they are. I don’t think changing a name is going to get rid of their baggage,” he said.
Bozinoff said the only hope for the Liberals is to reinvent themselves with some bold measures, which they would have to roll out fast to somehow isolate the BC Conservatives, making it “too risky” to vote for them. They also have to recapture votes lost to the NDP. “I don’t think tinkering at the edges is going to work,” he said. “They need some big ideas.”
He said the Liberals effectively have to double their support before the May, 2013, election by winning points at a steady pace between now and voting day. “If they remain in such quicksand that will be a problem. They risk timing out if they don’t show some traction,” he said.
There is higher support among the BC Liberal faithful for a merger with the BC Conservatives – roughly three in five of Liberal supporters like the idea. But that concept faces a hurdle as well – fewer than one in four BC Conservatives want a merger.
Bozinoff said in an interview that the B.C. Liberals are in serious trouble beyond the “horserace” numbers because they are losing supporters to both the New Democrats and John Cummins’s Conservatives. Only 49% of those surveyed say they are sticking with the Liberals after voting for them in the 2009 general election. The rest have largely shifted to the NDP – 28% – and the Conservatives – 19%.