Lower Mainland to score resource jobs: report
Former Statistics Canada chief economic analyst Phillip Cross releases a report aiming to debunk the most common myths about British Columbia’s resource economy at a press conference in Vancouver Thursday. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
The bulk of the province's new resource industry jobs will be in the Lower Mainland, not rural areas.
That's according to a report released Thursday from the ex-chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada, which concluded that increasing B.C.'s resource sector by 10% would create nearly 30,000 jobs and add more than $2 billion to the economy.
“There's a real anti-resource bias to a lot for the discussion,” said Ottawa-based Philip Cross at a news conference in Vancouver. “We're talking about an industry that is three times as big as the tourism sector ... We're not talking about $10-an-hour jobs at McDonald’s — we're talking about full-time, well-paying jobs.”
The report was commissioned by the new group Resource Works, which hopes to combat what it called popular “myths” about the importance of mining, forestry, oil and gas. Resource Works' board includes former BC Liberal MLA Geoff Plant and representatives of businesses, academia and labour.
Cross countered arguments by some oil sands critics that Canada should refine gas at home.
“You hear that all time with the oil sands, (that) we shouldn't be exporting raw bitumen, we should be refining gasoline in this country,” Cross said. “But you want to be developing those parts of the economy where you have greatest comparative advantage — where Canada has a unique advantage is in extracting natural resources.”
B.C. Business Council president and CEO Greg D'Avignon said the business community should have made the case earlier.
“The profound impact of natural resources and energy can be hard to spot sometimes in the Lower Mainland and its day-to-day contribution is not readily apparent,” he said.