When it comes to environmental assessments, Cummins argues that provincial assessments are better than federal ones, which creates a problem. He prefers B.C.’s assessment because it looks at both environmental issues as well as the socioeconomic impacts of projects, and looks to seek a balance between the two. Federal assessments only look at the environmental impact.
Cummins insists, “the province has to engage the federal government in discussion on these environmental assessments and ensure that the federal assessment follows the pattern that’s been set by the province. It just makes sense to do it.”
Following his speech, Cummins took questions from the 30-odd member audience. When asked about the Conservatives’ plan to solve the lack of skilled workers in the north, Cummins pointed out part of the problem is that no one in south knows about the problem.
“There are people out there looking for work, and yet nobody really has an understanding or realization of the opportunities that are here.”
He says one way the government could help is by encouraging people to make the move.
Now that the party holds an estimated 20 per cent of the vote, Cummins want to assure the province that vote splitting will not be an issue in the next election.
“We’re not splitting the vote; we’re going up, they’re going down and we’re taking those votes away from the NDP. Don’t let this whole notion of vote splitting bother you. It’s simply not an issue.”
He says pollsters have told him that 20 per cent of the people who voted Conservative in the 2008 federal election, voted for the NDP in the 2009 provincial election. He says that’s because the Liberals lied to them on many aspects, and don’t want to condone that.
“I think it wasn’t so much a vote for the NDP, as a vote against the Liberals,” adding he did that himself.
Cummins also spoke in Dawson Creek earlier Thursday.