Premier's speech 'a good start' on environment, but questions remain on
VANCOUVER, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - Premier Gordon Campbell's environmental plan
contains some important new initiatives to combat global warming, but it says
little about the urgent and immediate needs facing B.C.'s public
transportation system, the Canadian Union of Public Employees said today.
Delivering the closing speech at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities
convention today, Campbell repeated his pledge from this year's Speech from
the Throne - that the government is committed to reducing carbon emissions by
33 per cent below current levels by 2020.
With 40 per cent of emissions coming from the transportation sector, the
premier said, the government's efforts in this area would include reducing
carbon emissions from vehicles and promoting alternative forms of transport.
"The premier should be commended for bringing forward a plan that
addresses the many challenges to our environment, and where the government is
going with it," CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill said in response. "But I hope
he also understands that there needs to be a discussion about public
investment in infrastructure, and accountability, and that those discussions
should include all the stakeholders in our communities - including working
people and small business."
O'Neill added that more specifics are also needed on two major projects
Campbell mentioned in his speech: the Port Mann Bridge and the Gateway
"The premier pledged that the Gateway Project will proceed and that the
Port Mann Bridge will be twinned," said O'Neill. "But there's no point
twinning the bridge unless it's accompanied by a massive investment in public
transportation. If we're going to have another bridge, it needs to give
priority to public rapid transit, buses, HOV lanes and truck traffic at
For further information:
For further information: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC president: (604)
340-6768; Dan Gawthrop, CUPE Communications: (604) 999-6132