Report on Budget 2012 consultations released
November 17, 2011 (VICTORIA, BC) – The Select Standing Committee on Finance has released its report on 2012 budget consultations this week, and deputy chair Doug Donaldson said he was encouraged that his efforts to include some specific recommendations related to Stikine were endorsed by all members of the bipartisan committee.
“A number of the recommendations to government in the final report came directly from the Smithers public hearing presentations and the written submissions from people in Stikine,” said Donaldson. “I advocated for them to be included as they not only make sense locally but also provincially.”
Core funding for Northwest Community College’s award-winning School of Mining and Exploration was one of the more specific recommendations that was included.
“There were very good presentations by Christine Ogryzlo from the Smithers Exploration Group and from NWCC vice-president Dave O’Leary on the value of this school,” said the Stikine MLA. “As well, Byng Giraud, a vice-president with Imperial Metals, advocated for core funding for the program when he presented in Cranbrook. I was able to build on these presentations and work with other finance committee members to make a strong case for this recommendation.”
Donaldson pointed out that core funding would bring increased stability to the program and enhance the ability of local people to get the training for jobs in Stikine.
“It is my hope that the government listens and acts on this recommendation as it will put some weight behind training that was so lacking in the Premiers job’s plan. Without improved resources for training at regional institutions like Northwest Community College, we will be faced with the fly-in, fly-out phenomenon so evident in the northeast where labour is imported from outside the province. We don’t need to do that in the northwest if we put more of a focus on training now.”
Other important recommendations that had their genesis in Stikine included sufficient funding for regional geologists travel budgets so they can get out to the office to do site visits; investment in Community Living BC for services for youth and adults with special needs; and working with Aboriginal Friendship Centres, like Smithers’ Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre, to develop a long-term capacity fund.
Overall, the Stikine MLA noted the committee was able to reach consensus on more than 80% of the report’s recommendations. “I would especially like to thank the people who made public presentations and took the time to make written submissions. Participating makes all the difference.”
For the full finance committee report and its 75 recommendations, visit dougdonaldson.ca/budget2012