Call to ban coal ‘a big thing’ for Surrey-White Rock

Call to ban coal ‘a big thing’ for Surrey-White Rock

Premier’s counter to softwood levy praised

On a BC Liberal campaign stop in Surrey this week, Premier Christy Clark called on the federal government to ban the shipment of U.S. thermal coal through B.C. – including along the waterfront line that runs through White Rock and South Surrey.

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver endorsed Clark’s suggestion, noting the BC Liberals and NDP both voted against a similar call he made in the legislature three years ago.

“I sincerely hope that this move the premier has made is more than just election politics,” Weaver said.

Clark announced the move Wednesday, in response to 20 per cent preliminary lumber duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department set to take effect May 1. She said her government has been considering the request for some time, but didn’t want to provoke U.S. President Donald Trump while softwood lumber talks were proceeding.

Surrey-White Rock candidate Tracy Redies attended Clark’s announcement at Catalyst paper, a company that had won an unfair trade case with the U.S. over glossy paper.

“I’m very pleased with the announcement,” Tracy Redies told Peace Arch News. “Coal trains have been an issue here in our riding for a number of years. I think this will be a big thing for our riding if we can make this go away.”

Redies, who moved to south Langley from the Semiahmoo Peninsula 18 months ago, said she was not previously involved in the coal-train issue but does have concerns with “the increase and the number of trains rolling through.”

– Tom Fletcher & Tracy Holmes