B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins isn’t ready to weigh in on the Ajax mine, but he does support the proposed Enbridge pipeline.
“Essentially we’re in favour of Enbridge and we’re in favour (of the twinning) of Kinder Morgan,” said Cummins.
Cummins sat down with The Daily News on Thursday afternoon before enjoying a pint and politics night with fellow B.C. Conservatives at The Inlander Neighbourhood Pub in Valleyview.
He said the environmental concerns surrounding the Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan projects are legitimate. But the jobs and tax revenue the two projects will create are too valuable to discount.
If elected, the Conservatives will work with Enbridge and Kinder Morgan to mitigate any risk as best as possible, he said.
“There’s a huge number of high-paying jobs there in a region that needs them,” said Cummins. “We certainly think it’s a worthwhile project.”
As for Ajax, Cummins wants to hear all the facts from the mining company and the environmental assessment before he forms an opinion.
“I’m not ready to weigh in on that,” he said.
With a political history that includes Conservative, New Democrat and Liberal supporters, Cummins considers Kamloops a bellwether riding that’s crucial to a Conservative victory in the May election.
He believes his party’s chances are good despite the turmoil of these last few months.
The Conservative’s only sitting MLA, John van Dongen, left the party in September, giving them no representation in the legislature.
And 15 party members were recently sent letters of reprimand after challenging Cummins’ leadership — this despite him getting a 70 per cent leadership endorsement at the party’s annual general meeting. He said two of the 15 have been ejected from the party.
The Tories have yet to seek nominations for Kamloops. Cummins anticipates a nomination meeting will be held by Christmas or early in 2013.
“We have no candidate but some people have expressed interest,” he said.
Cummins meets with Conservatives in Kelowna Friday.