January 28, 2013 BC Chamber Public Affairs Update

Public Affairs Update Header
January 28, 2013
In This Issue
Government and Industry Leaders Engage on Spill Response
BC Government Proposes New Labour Framework with Teachers
BC NDP Leading in Popular Opinion
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in BC.
Government and Industry Leaders Engage on Spill Response
Thirteen key stakeholder organizations, including representatives from railway, petroleum, transportation and business sectors, met with Ministry of Environment representatives last week to begin developing be a world-leading oil spill response plan.

At the meeting, discussion revolved around the BC government’s recently released policy intentions paper which outlines how government will work with various industries to establish a spill response regime that deals with hazardous materials spills.

Currently, the Ministry of Environment receives approximately 3,500 notifications of environmental emergencies per year; this includes oil-tank leaks, home-based oil spills, overturned tanker trucks, oil and fuel spills on water, rail accidents and chemical spills. Most of these notifications are minor, however, the number of incidents is expected to rise along with the increase in hazardous materials movement.

BC Government Proposes New Labour Framework with Teachers
The BC government has proposed new changes to labour negotiations with teachers, by attempting to seek a 10 year agreement. Government’s proposal, Working Together For Students: A Framework For Long Term Stability In Education, specifies that in return for a 10-year agreement, the government is prepared to offer public school teachers:

  • A formal role in education policy decisions through a policy council made up of the government, school trustees and the teachers’ union to discuss and resolve issues such as professional development, and matters of class size and composition;
  • Input in allocating a $100-million Priority Education Investment Fund, available in the third year of an agreement; and
  • Salary certainty and fairness by indexing public school teacher salaries to increases given to other public sector employees.

The framework also sets out a process that calls on professional mediators and conciliators to help resolve bargaining impasses. The BC Teacher’s Union has expressed public concern with the proposal.

BC NDP Leading in Popular Opinion
A new Angus Reid poll released last week indicates that 46 percent of decided voters and leaners in BC would support the BC NDP candidate in their riding if a provincial election were held tomorrow. Comparatively, 31 percent of respondents support the BC Liberals, and ten percent of voters would support each the Green and Conservative parties.

BC NDP leader Adrian Dix has the highest approval rating of any party leader at 46 percent, and is the leading choice for Premier with 29 percent. Premier Christy Clark, however, has gained points in both categories with a 31 percent party leader approval rating and a 19 percent rating as choice for preferred Premier.

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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.

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