Earlier, we reported climate action secretariat head Graham Whitmarsh didn't have "a satisfactory answer" as to why the labour movement hasn't been invited to participate in the Campbell administration's discussions on global warming. This, according to British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union president George Heyman. So does Environment Minister Barry Penner have a better response?
In an interview yesterday with Public Eye, we asked Minister Penner - a former government employees union member - whether the unions being excluded from those discussions for ideological reasons. "I don't think so," he said. "The climate action committee - cabinet - has been very busy. We're continuing to meet and our work is not yet done. So I expect we'll continue to meet with all kinds of groups in British Columbia. And we'll see what future agendas hold. We don't publicly discuss who we're meeting with and who weren't not meeting with. But we've been very busy. And we'll continue to meet with more British Columbians."
And will those meetings include the labour movement? "Like I said, we don't publicly discuss who comes to meet with us because we want them to have an ability to feel confident that they can say whatever they want we they get behind those closed doors. And we want to have those kinds of open and frank discussions. If they want to talk about where they've been and who they've seen, that's up to them. But we have said to people we will respect their privacy when they come to see us," he responded.