Premier Clark makes big promises as support for her government falls

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Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom and Premier Christy Clark announced an extension of the Pacific Gateway Strategy on Monday that will see 17,000 new jobs created in B.C. by 2020. Photo: Ashley Viens.

Premier Christy Clark unveiled B.C.’s latest jobs plan on Monday, the same day a new poll revealed her Liberal government is in free fall.

Clark and Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom were at Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver to announce an extension of the Pacific Gateway Strategy, an initiative the premier said would create 17,000 new jobs by 2020.

But later that day, an Angus Reid poll showed her government enjoys the support of only 23 per cent of British Columbians, the same number that support the B.C. Conservatives. The NDP scored 43 per cent support.

It is the first time the Liberals and Conservatives tied in public support.

“I think jobs help the average person,” said Clark. “If you have a job, then you can buy a car. If you can buy a car, you can get to work. If you can get to work, then you can start to worry about the roads you’re driving on.”

“If we can enable a thriving private sector – and that’s not just in the North, it’s all over the province – we’re going to be making sure families across the province have jobs,” said Clark.

The plan is also expected to encourage increased investment from Asian markets in natural resource industries in B.C.

“The rapidly growing economies of Asia are creating stronger demand for natural resources,” said Don Lindsay, the president and CEO of Teck Resources Ltd. “Whether it’s mining, forestry, agriculture, or any number of other industries, they all rely on an efficient transportation infrastructure.”

Lindsay said that Teck has already invested over $1 billion in new jobs and will be committing another $1 billion in coming years.

According to Clark, investment from the private sector is extremely important.

“The thing is, government gets in the way of it,” she said. “We’re really focused on making sure that rather than getting in the way, we’re getting out of the way.”

Whether policies and promises like these will have any impact on the party’s support remains to be seen.

According to the Angus Reid poll, which involved 800 people and was conducted online, one in three voters who voted Liberal in 2009 would now vote Conservative. The poll’s margin of error is 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Reported by Ashley Viens

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