The Liberals’ jobs strategy may have a catchy title, but a closer look at the plan that they call “thorough” and “comprehensive,” shows it’s missing some key components.
The premier said the jobs plan would involve “every region in every sector of the province”, but here are just a few of the integral missing components:
Half of the province
· While Vancouver Island and the Kootenays have some of the most serious employment issues in the province, the premier failed to include them in her plan.
· When asked about Nanaimo’s unemployment numbers, Liberal MLA John Les said “Everybody is looking for work around home” and suggested residents should abandon their homes because “they may not be aware” that other communities might have jobs.
· Making matters worse, former Victoria Liberal MLA Sheila Orr tried to defend the glaring omission in the Liberal jobs plan by labelling Vancouver Islanders as “whiners.”
· Even though the premier promised during the build up to her announcement that the jobs plan would provide “specifics,” the premier said "I'm not going to get into playing that game," when asked by reporters why she did not include specific targets in her plan.
· After a reporter remarked that by their count the plan only seems to create 3,000 direct jobs, the premier further shrugged off the importance of measurable targets, saying "I don't think it's responsible to try to come up with phony numbers.”
· The Liberal jobs plan fails to address the value-added forest industry even though 34,000 jobs have been lost in B.C. as dozens of mills across the province shut down under the Liberals’ watch.
· While the premier said she would promote B.C. materials to Asian markets, this is hardly a new idea and ignores our potential as manufacturers.
Post-secondary education and skills training for British Columbians
· 80 per cent of new jobs in British Columbia will require some post-secondary education and under the B.C. Liberals, the province’s apprenticeship program is a mess and tuition and debt for college and university students are at an all-time high. The Liberal plan fails to address these major hurdles for British Columbians trying to enter the workforce.
· At a time when the restaurant and tourism industries are still struggling under the uncertainty associated with the Liberals’ HST mess, the premier had nothing to offer in terms of a quick and smooth transition back to the PST, and committed $0 toward the tourism sector in her jobs plan, one of British Columbia’s most important industries.
· The Liberal jobs plan included $0 investment in the agri-food business – an important contributor to the B.C. economy and a provider of over 315,000 jobs.
· The Liberal government spends only five per cent of the province’s GDP on agri-food (far below the national average of 14 per cent), cut the successful Buy B.C. program, and in 2009 cut the Agriculture and Lands budget by 25.4 per cent.