Resource industries critical, says MLA Belsey

  • Oct. 29, 2003 7:00 p.m.

North Coast MLA Bill Belsey said in the legislature this week that rural industries, such as forestry and mining, are critical to the successes of the health and education systems. Belsey was throwing his support behind a motion that the House recognize the contribution of resource development in rural British Columbia to the health and education infrastructure in all communities.
“Resource development, including extraction and processing, has led to thriving communities,” said Belsey. “Our natural resources are very important to our communities in the heartlands. Today, without the revenue from resource development, we may not have heartland communities that provide the highly sought-after style of living that supports education and health care.”
Belsey spoke of both the mining and the forestry industries, which contribute greatly to his riding. B.C.’s mining industry generates over $3 billion in revenue and $89 billion in government resources. Mining is a leading employer in B.C., providing approximately 10,000 direct jobs and roughly 20,000 indirect jobs.
“The forest sector’s contribution to the government is almost equivalent to the Minister of Education’s annual budget for kindergarten through grade 12,” Belsey said. “Forest activities contribute approximately $17 billion to the province’s gross domestic product.
“Some seem to have forgotten that the basic services government offer cost money and, since British Columbia joined confederation, the vast majority of this money has come from our resources,” Belsey added. “I support the motion because the communities that I represent know where the tax dollars come from for education and health care. Those much-needed tax dollars come from the resource sectors developed throughout and around our province.”