Premier’s speech ‘a good start’ on environment, but questions remain on infrastructure
VANCOUVER—Premier Gordon Campbell’s environmental plan contains some important new initiatives to combat global warming, but it says little about the urgent and immediate needs facing B.C.’s public transportation system, the Canadian Union of Public Employees said today.
Delivering the closing speech at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention today, Campbell repeated his pledge from this year’s Speech from the Throne—that the government is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 33 per cent below current levels by 2020.
With 40 per cent of emissions coming from the transportation sector, the premier said, the government’s efforts in this area would include reducing carbon emissions from vehicles and promoting alternative forms of transport.
“The premier should be commended for bringing forward a plan that addresses the many challenges to our environment, and where the government is going with it,” CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said in response. “But I hope he also understands that there needs to be a discussion about public investment in infrastructure, and accountability, and that those discussions should include all the stakeholders in our communities—including working people and small business.”
O’Neill added that more specifics are also needed on two major projects Campbell mentioned in his speech: the Port Mann Bridge and the Gateway initiative.
“The premier pledged that the Gateway Project will proceed and that the Port Mann Bridge will be twinned,” said O’Neill. “But there’s no point twinning the bridge unless it’s accompanied by a massive investment in public transportation. If we’re going to have another bridge, it needs to give priority to public rapid transit, buses, HOV lanes and truck traffic at night.”
Contact: Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president: (604) 340-6768
Dan Gawthrop, CUPE Communications: (604) 999-6132