A speech Tuesday by Canada's natural resources minister may offer a hint of what British Columbians can expect to hear over the months and years ahead.
Joe Oliver is pressing the case for the Tories that the economic benefits of exploiting the country's natural resources are a crucial factor behind streamlining environmental assessments.
With forestry, the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and, locally, the proposed Ajax mining project, facts and figures are sure to come fast and furious from Ottawa.
Oliver tried to leave little doubt that energy, forestry, metals and minerals are key to a robust economy. Indeed, the minister said when indirect effects are taken into account, those sectors are responsible for 20 per cent of the economy. That's major dough, not just for provinces blessed with natural resources, but also for so-called "have-not" provinces, which will benefit from equalization transfer payments.
The federal Natural Resources Department estimates $650 billion in investment in about 600 major resource projects over the next 10 years, a figure that Oliver says represents hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs.
While critics take issue with Oliver's numbers for neglecting the cost of environmental impacts, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the jobs are going where projects are off the ground.
Just this week the Vancouver Sun reported a trend in young British Columbians moving to Alberta, which continues to offer plenty of jobs as a result of the oilsands.
And it's not just Alberta. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland continue to boom due to their natural resources, which include potash and oil.
If Oliver's numbers hold true, B.C. may find it increasingly hard to ignore megaprojects such as Northern Gateway and Ajax. In the months and years ahead, elected officials in this province will be under intense pressure to back these projects or risk losing British Columbians to other provinces.
One thing is clear: we know the federal government will likely support anything that supports the economy and provides jobs, and that includes major projects like Ajax.
It's an enticing apple; will B.C. pick it?
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.