#1: The Woodfibre LNG site has been providing good industry jobs to Squamish for over 100 years.
First up, how do you define a “good industry job?” When the pulp mill was running, yes, there were 400 jobs, but there was also toxic environmental pollution that destroyed the health of Howe Sound. Herring and ooligan disappeared. Salmon runs were decimated. We didn’t see whales in Howe Sound for nearly 100 years. Is that a “good industry job?”
We don’t think so. We know better now than we did then, and we see “good industry jobs” as those jobs that benefit everyone, that increase the health and wellbeing of our communities, and protect our ecosystems and our climate.
Not jobs that would increase fracking, might destroy salmon runs, poison water, and increase cancer rates for people who live in northern BC, particularly in Indigenous communities (this is known as environmental racism).
Not jobs that only benefit a few people, that will increase local air pollution, tear at the social fabric of our communities, and threaten the incredible recovery of Howe Sound.
And not jobs that will lock in carbon pollution for another 40 years and help destroy our climate.
Secondly, while Woodfibre LNG is trying to buy social license for “good industry jobs” it is actively lobbying the provincial government to bring in temporary foreign workers.
During construction, Woodfibre LNG has estimated that only 38.5 of the total 895 jobs will be filled by Squamish locals.
In 2014, former premier Christy Clark signed a deal to allow temporary foreign workers to build LNG export facilities.
In an update to Squamish council on November 12, 2019, Woodfibre LNG’s vice president of corporate affairs, Rob Mingay, said:
“We are in an extremely tight labour market. We are virtually full employment throughout the Province. We are going to do absolutely everything we can, first of all, to provide jobs for Squamish Nation, to provide procurement opportunities for the Squamish Nation, and to provide opportunities — where the skills are there — for those who reside in the Sea to Sky Corridor and Squamish in particular... But we also know that it’s not going to be possible. There are not 850 skilled workers in the trades we need in this Sea to Sky Corridor.”
Woodfibre LNG staff also noted at the same meeting that they are exploring water taxis direct from Vancouver airport. This means fly-in, fly-out workers.
While yes, the labour market may have changed with COVID-19, we still don’t have the skilled workers to do these jobs. Woodfibre LNG’s allusion to “good industry jobs” is nothing more than clever marketing designed to fool the gullible.
My Sea to Sky