Central Saanich Manufacturer wants government to do its job

NDP Leader John Horgan hears from Central Saanich company that they want the chance to grow.

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan

Quester Tangent needs local, provincial and federal governments to create strong communities — and allow companies like his the means and the atmosphere in which to pay good wages and help keep their employees happy.

The company’s vice-president and chief operating officer delivered that message to B.C. New Democratic Party Leader John Horgan, MLA for Surrey-Whalley Bruce Ralston and Saanich North and the Islands MLA Gary Holman during a tour of their Central Saanich manufacturing facility this week.

Horgan has been touring the province, speaking with various business sectors and others about provincial and local issues. He was, most recently, in the south Okanagan, prior to returning to the Island this week.

Horgan said he’s heard plenty from Saanich Peninsula industry that there’s a constant demand for more affordable housing. Yet, Collins told him during the tour that he’s not fully on board with that camp.

“I would rather focus on the business than affordable housing,” Collins said. “The job of the provincial government is to provide community (through education, health care, etc.). My job is to be able to make enough money to pay employees enough money to want to come here.”

Collins said the high cost of living in the south Island has made recruiting engineers for job vacancies at Quester Tangent difficult.

“We want to be able to pay the salaries needed for the talent we want,” Collins said.

Quester Tangent is a leading North American manufacturer, supplier, and integrator of train electronics and software solutions for the passenger rail and locomotive industries. They recently signed a contract with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) Limited to deliver Train Monitoring and Diagnostic Systems, Networks and Engineering Services for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). CRRC’s deal with the CTA is worth $1.3 billion.

Horgan agreed that government’s job is to do the things that Collins pointed out, adding that business has to do its part.

One of those areas, Horgan continued, is to invest in education to create a more skilled workforce, able to take jobs like those at Quester Tangent. He said an NDP government would focus on more investment in secondary schools.

At the same time, however, Horgan noted housing affordability rains a serious issue for people looking to live in places like the Saanich Peninsula.

“People are generally paying more and getting less.”

In the region, Holman has been working with various stakeholders on an affordable housing inventory, trying to create a picture of what’s available, where the demand is and create a baseline from which housing providers and developers can build.

Horgan said, as his party’s leader, he often gets a lot of wish lists from people, wanting more from the government. He said he feels the governing B.C. Liberals have shortchanged education and continue to forecast its revenues from nonexistent Liquefied Natural Gas sources.

He used one of his trademark lines — “blackjack, booze and bungalows” — to describe where the Liberals get most of their general revenue. He called all of that non-sustainable sources of tax dollars.

Better yet, he said, is to create the environment for businesses like Quester Tangent to thrive and contribute to the community being built by the various levels of government.

The province heads to its next election in May, 2017.

Just Posted

Police identify man found dead in Saanich, seek his backpack and shoes

Investigators seek shoes, backpack that Andrew Michael Sidor was seen wearing

Protester threatens citizen’s arrest at federal government event in Oak Bay

Police escort protester away after confronting federal minister

Uplands Park designated a national heritage site

Feds make $4.3 million announcement in Oak Bay

Oak Bay police arrest one of two suspects after resident held at gunpoint

Police expect second arrest ‘in the very near future’ after armed robbery

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

Man launches petition to bring charter schools to B.C.

The move could see up to 20 charter schools come to the province

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Most Read