Horgan praises LNG approval, Weaver pans it

Premier John Horgan
Premier John Horgan

LNG Canada’s decision to go ahead with an estimated $40 billion liquefied natural gas facility near Kitimat is being hailed by the NDP government, but not by the party that holds the balance of power.

“British Columbians want a future that brings opportunities for them and their kids in the communities they call home, while living up to our responsibilities to guarantee clean air, land and water for the generations that follow,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement.

He will be attending an announcement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and LNG Canada.

“Ours is a province of unlimited potential, and the responsibility of this generation of British Columbians is to make decisions that embrace and preserve that potential,” he said. “Today’s decision by LNG Canada to invest in northern B.C. demonstrates that balancing our economic, environmental and reconciliation priorities is possible. It’s a balance that will benefit the people of B.C. as we build a cleaner economy.”

This project will see construction of a natural gas pipeline from northeast B.C. to Kitimat where a new terminal will process and ship LNG to Asian markets, generating $24 billion of direct investment in B.C., according to the government.

The Green Party, however, does not share the NDP’s enthusiasm.

“Our caucus has been clear that we do not support the government’s LNG regime,” said Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. “The government does not have our votes to implement this regime and will have to work with the B.C. Liberal MLAs if they want this project to go forward.”

He said adding a new source of greenhouse gases means that the rest of the economy will have to make even more sacrifices to meet climate targets.

“A significant portion of the LNG Canada investment will be spent on a plant manufactured overseas, with steel sourced from other countries,” he said. “B.C. taxpayers will subsidize its power by paying rates twice as high and taking on the enormous public debt required to build Site C. There may be as little as 100 permanent jobs at LNG Canada. I believe we can create far more jobs in other industries that won’t drastically increase our emissions.”

The NDP government is touting it new LNG framework, which it released in March, as helping with the decision to proceed.

According to government, under the new framework, LNG projects should:

* Guarantee a fair return for B.C.’s natural resources: This project is expected to generate about $23 billion in public revenue over 40 years – new funds available to invest in health care, schools, child care and other key public services.

* Guarantee jobs and training opportunities for British Columbians: This project will create up to 10,000 jobs during construction and up to 950 permanent jobs once operations are underway.

* Respect and make partners of First Nations: Project partners have reached agreements with elected First Nations at the project site and along the pipeline route.

* Protect B.C.’s air, land and water, including living up to the Province’s climate commitments: LNG’s Canada project, as announced today – the world’s cleanest in terms of greenhouse gas emissions – will be accommodated within the government’s legislated emissions reduction targets.

“I am deeply disappointed that the NDP minority government’s tax giveaway has resulted in the country’s single biggest source of emissions receiving a final investment decision,” said Weaver.

Karen Ogen-Toews, First Nations LNG Alliance CEO, said the announcement is good for the province.

“This is great news for the B.C. economy, for Canada, and for First Nations in B.C.,” she said. “Responsible LNG development means real benefits to Indigenous peoples and communities, long-term careers and reliable revenue to help First Nations close the economic gap between their members and other Canadians. LNG Canada has been a leader in dealing with First Nations. Our congratulations and thanks to their partners.”