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Tie auto industry bailout to green technology: James

B.C. NDP leader Carole James said today that Canada’s auto sector shouldn’t get any federal bailout money unless it starts developing greener technology.

“I don’t think money should be handed over no strings attached,” James told reporters at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre. “I think it has to be attached to how do you weather the storm and strengthen the industry for the future?”

She added: “Certainly for the auto industry that means looking at green technology.”

Earlier in the week, Premier Gordon Campbell responded critically to the federal government’s Nov. 19 throne speech, which promised support for Canada’s auto and aerospace industries. Campbell called for a broader relief package that would include help for all workers, including those in B.C.’s beleaguered forestry sector.

Asked about the Premier’s demands for federal aid, James suggested Campbell has frequently ignored the struggling forest industry.

“I find it a bit rich,” she said. “Where’s he been for the last three years?”

James said Campbell could show his commitment to the province’s forestry sector by boosting investment in silviculture and reforestation.

“That will put people back to work and help with sustainable forestry in the future,” she said. James’ comments followed a fiery speech to the B.C. Federation of Labour convention where she promised a “tough” and “heated” May 2009 election campaign.

If elected, the NDP leader promised to stop privatization in B.C.’s healthcare system, restrict raw log exports, build 2,400 units of affordable housing and cancel government advertising.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for the Hook.

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