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LETTER: COVID-19 and workforce opportunities

LETTER: COVID-19 and workforce opportunities

Dear editor,

In the face of these uncertain times, many of us are concerned about how our livelihoods will fare: between oil plummeting to under $5 and our local, community-owned shops closing for an indefinite period, we all share the concern of how long= this will continue and what will we be facing when it’s over.

Despite the various federal and provincial relief packages that have been announced, many of us still have questions; will I be able to afford my rent or mortgage? Will my job still exist? Will our economy recover?

There are no guarantees right now and it’s scary. However, there is an opportunity here – for British Columbians and Canadians – to take this period and begin the shift off fossil fuels, LNG, and the mega-corporation. Right now is our chance to begin that transition.

Canada is already behind many other countries (well behind the U.S., who leads the world with installed geothermal energy) in investing in alternative forms.

Instead of oil patch workers experiencing layoffs, we could be promoting skills training to geothermal exploration and drilling. Instead of continuing with large construction camps, that are exacerbating the public safety risk, we can stimulate the economy by supporting locally-sourced energy products.

Instead of destroying more lands by clear-cutting for timber or new roads, workers could be involved in remediation work.
Micro-hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal opportunities are plentiful in Canada and can well meet our energy demands.

Additionally, our construction labourers have decades of work in basic retrofitting. Well-paying jobs exist. The unravelling of the fossil fuel industry had already started a decade before COVID19 hit us. It’s time to question how secure this industry– which includes LNG – truly is and how much longer those jobs will be here. It’s time to start building
opportunities for new, sustainable jobs.

Tara Howse, Rossland
Len Ingram, Lake Country


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