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Premier not concerned about impacts to B.C. after Canada raises tariffs for Russia

‘We’re not, at this point, concerned that there will be significant costs to British Columbians’
British Columbia Premier John Horgan poses for a portrait after a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Victoria, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C.’s premier says he supports the federal government’s decision to impose a 35 per cent tariff on Russian and Belarusian exports to Canada.

John Horgan said the Finance Ministry is looking into the potential consequences for the private sector, including for major construction projects that rely on Russian steel, to determine what the province can do to protect its economy while ensuring sanctions continue.

“We’re not, at this point, concerned that there will be significant costs to British Columbians,” he told a news conference Thursday.

“The only way we’re going to change a brutal dictator’s mind is to make it extremely uncomfortable for him to continue on the same course that he’s on. Economic sanctions will work if they are universally embraced and it appears, in an unprecedented way, the international community is standing together against the intrusion into Ukraine and encouraging the Putin regime to back off.”

He said B.C. is also ready to welcome Ukrainian immigrants and refugees but is unsure how many people the federal government will send to the province.

Horgan said Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen began contacting non-governmental organizations and faith groups that often help refugees settle into communities after federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser streamlined the process for Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s military assault.

Horgan said the province fully supports the accelerated immigration and refugee plans, but an extraordinary number of people moved to B.C. last year so he will be working to ensure the province doesn’t take in more people than it can handle.

“We’re going to be working in collaboration with local agencies to make sure that we do everything we can to house, protect and care for as many people as we can,” he said.

— By Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press

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