B.C. mulls flying welfare recipients north to jobs

The B.C. government is floating a proposal to fly people on social assistance north and give them accommodation and training to fill vacant jobs in the booming oil and gas sector.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon first suggested the plan at a business meeting in Kamloops on Tuesday.

On Wednesday Kamloops Liberal MLA Terry Lake told CBC News the plan is in its infancy, meaning in political terms, it's a trial balloon.

"It is a unique idea that will take some development. But I think a lot of people, it will resonate with them because it just makes sense," said Lake.

"Why not offer people who are able to work the ability to get some training, the ability to provide funding to get them into communities where they desperately need young people to work in those industries."

"Why not solve two problems at once: the labour demand and the need for a job?"

The idea of flying the unemployed north for work is a sensitive political topic.

That's what Liberal MLA John Les discovered last year when he faced backlash for suggesting those out of work in Nanaimo move north for work.

Lake says there is no timeline for when the government might unveil a so called welfare-to-airplane-to work program, but he promises the public will be consulted.

"What do British Columbians think about that idea, is it something that's got traction? If it does, let's develop the details."