Former Social Credit cabinet minister Rafe Mair has some advice for the new NDP government … learn how to blame the Liberals for things that go wrong.
If the NDP doesn’t learn how to blame the Liberals, he said, then the blame will shift to the NDP. It’s sage advice and it’s what the Liberals have been able to do well for years.
The first big test was Petronas’ cancellation of the Pacific Northwest LNG project near Prince Rupert. Petronas was steadfast in saying the cancellation was a direct result of global market conditions, yet the blame game got underway in earnest as the Liberals are now going to blame the NDP for everything, real or imagined, that negatively impacts the B.C. economy.
“The demise of LNG under the GreenDp’s and the uncertainty they have created right across our resource sector in the province has confirmed to investors BC is no longer open to business,” posted Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris on his Facebook page.
Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad even channelled Donald Trump with a ‘very sad’ end to his Facebook post:
“Very unfortunate to see the Petronas has put it’s (sic) project in Prince Rupert on hold (or on the shelf). They had all of the approvals they needed. Interesting thing is that the only difference between last January and today is a different government.
“The two MLAs in that area signed a moratorium against the project and I believe the NDP’s official position was ‘wrong project, wrong place.’ It’s no wonder that the company decided to shelf the project.
“Here’s a quote from the NDP energy minister: Ms. Mungall said the government is conditionally interested in seeing the LNG sector move forward. She said conditions around a fair profit for B.C., a meaningful role for First Nations and environmental impact are ‘a road map and not a road block.’
“What she is really saying here is that they will change the rules which leaves companies that want to invest billions on hold or cancelled until the new reality of taxes and regulations are fully known.
“NDP job killing already started. This one is 5000 constructions jobs and 630 full time jobs in the lost opportunity column. Very sad.”
Conservative MP for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies Bob Zimmer even got in on the act:
“(Streamlining the National Energy Board review process), along with the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance and the extension of export licenses were, unfortunately, not enough to overcome the current market forces and it appears that will not be the only obstacle in front of these types of projects in BC,” he said in a press release. “Based on Premier Horgan’s comments today his government will not only be increasing the carbon tax but they will also ‘employ every tool available’ against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.”
Zimmer seems to have forgotten that former Premier Christy Clark embraced an increase in the carbon tax in her latest throne speech. OK, that wasn’t a real throne speech, but you get the picture. All this goes on even though Petronas has said their decision had nothing to do with the new government and even though a $40 billion LNG project in Australia was shelved for pretty much the same reasoning suggesting that global market forces may have had a wee bit of an influence.
But, the Liberal blame game goes on constantly. They are masters at it and it is very effective.
Mair is right. If the NDP want to survive long enough to change the narrative in this province, they need to learn how to counteract the ‘blame game.’