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BC NDP releases plan to keep shipyards competitive, add jobs

Citynews 1130 Vancouver
FILE - British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Summary

The BC NDP promised a long-term shipbuilding strategy Friday

Leader John Horgan promises to bring construction of Canada's next Polar Icebreaker back to the B.C. shipyards

The NDP shipbuilding plans include working with the federal government on strategic investments

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The BC NDP promised a long-term shipbuilding strategy Friday, aimed at creating more jobs.

“For years, shipbuilding was being outsourced to other countries, leaving B.C. workers and companies behind,” NDP Leader John Horgan said after a tour of the Seaspan Shipyards in North Vancouver on Friday.

“Our long-term strategy is about making strategic investments that will keep BC shipyards modern and competitive, able to win more contracts and create more jobs.”

Horgan also pledged, if re-elected in the Oct. 24 provincial election, to work to bring construction of Canada’s next Polar Icebreaker back to the B.C. shipyards — a project he said would create up to 1,400 jobs.

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Seaspan Shipyards CEO Mark Lamarre said the shipbuilding strategy is important to protecting the industry.

“By leveraging the world-class talent of more than 2,700 employees and our strategic location on the Pacific coast, in less than a decade we have revived industrial shipbuilding expertise and capacity in B.C. that had been lost,” he added. “We cannot afford to lose it again. The shipbuilding and marine industry in this province has become a critical and long-term economic engine, and we need to preserve and protect it.”

The NDP shipbuilding plans include working with the federal government on strategic investments, including areas such as repair, maintenance, and refit.

According to Statistics Canada, B.C. gained 54,800 jobs in September, more than 70 per cent of them full-time, as the province outpaced the national average.

B.C. has recovered 301,700 jobs since the pandemic struck, returning to 96.3 per cent of pre-pandemic employment levels.