George Massey Tunnel connecting Richmond and North Delta is the biggest traffic bottleneck in Metro Vancouver. (North Delta Reporter)

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

B.C.’s agreement with the B.C. Green Party shows that minority governments can be stable and effective, Finance Minister Carole James said in the wake of the federal election.

After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won more than 150 seats Monday to secure a minority government, he needs support of one or more other parties to pass legislation. The federal NDP were reduced to 25 seats, but that still leaves them enough to provide majority votes if they cooperate with the Liberals on issues they agree on.

James was asked Tuesday about the prospects for federal support on extending SkyTrain in Surrey, and constructing an eight-lane replacement for the four-land George Massey Tunnel connecting Richmond and Delta.

“I think it will be some time, but we also have the opportunity, if the governing party is going to work together with New Democrats,” James said. “We know the values of child care, we know the values of green transportation, and the opportunities that provides for us to address our issues around climate, are commonalities there.”

The SkyTrain project took an unexpected turn when Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum won election on a promise to replace a surface light rail extension with elevated SkyTrain technology to match the rest of the Metro Vancouver system. Federal and B.C. governments have committed $1.6 billion to extend the system towards Langley, but switching to SkyTrain adds considerably to the costs.

RELATED: Trudeau won, but not a majority. What comes next?

RELATED: More federal funds needed for Skytrain extension

The B.C. NDP government scrapped the B.C. Liberal plan for a 10-lane bridge to replace the Massey tunnel, and Metro politicians have since come together to support an eight-lane replacement tunnel instead. That requires federal fisheries permits to dredge the river bottom so tunnel sections can be floated out and put in place, a process that could put the replacement up to 10 years away. The price tag is also up in the air for a project that would require federal and provincial financing.

After being involved in the 2017 negotiations with the B.C. Green Party for a minority government, James said the task facing the Liberal minority is a delicate one.

“It will be a long week, a long couple of weeks, that’s what I also remember,” James said. “People often say minority governments have a short shelf life. I think we’ve proven here in British Columbia that when you work together, and when you focus on the people of the province, you can get great things done.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm beats Vernon in BCHL video final

Silverbacks to meet Cowichan Valley Capitals in league’s simulated video Fred Page Cup final

COVID-19: More infected passengers on planes flying to and from Okanagan and Kamloops airports

The BC Centre of Disease Control has identified numerous flights with COVID-19 cases

COVID-19: Interior Crisis Line calls increase

Calls directly related to pandemic up 25 per cent over final two weeks of March

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Visitor to Kamloops army club tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The individual visited Anavets 290 Army and Navy Club between March 13 and March 17

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Okanagan nordic centre loses out on 2021 nationals

Sovereign Lake near Vernon was to host 2020 Canadian championships, canceled due to COVID-19

Most Read