Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

LNG a chance, not a windfall, says BC throne speech

In today's speech from the throne the British Columbia government dialed down the expectations of the benefits from exporting liquefied natural gas.

"This is a chance -- not a windfall," said Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon in the speech that sets out the priorities for Premier Christy Clark's government. "It will not be simply given to us, but achieved after a lot of hard work."

The LNG industry is an opportunity that will provide things like the new hospital patient tower in Victoria, the one planned in Vernon, the law school at Thompson Rivers University, the cancer treatment centre at Kordyban Lodge in Prince George and 5,800 housing units in Vancouver.

In the 2013 election Clark ran on a "Debt Free BC" platform that promoted using profits from exporting LNG to pay off the provincial debt. Past throne speeches said the profits could be used to create a prosperity fund and eliminate the provincial sales tax.

Asked about the failure to reiterate those goals, Clark said, "It was a shorter speech than I think we've ever had in the past, and maybe the shortest in history. It's about 16 minutes not including the tributes at the beginning."

Clark said it was important to focus the speech on what the government will do during the fall session of the legislature that opened today. "We're a government in a hurry. We want to make sure this happens." The throne speech focused on LNG, saying a "comprehensive legislative framework" for the industry will be put in place.

Delivery of the throne speech came on the same day that Shamsul Azhar Abbas, the CEO of the Malyasian company Petronas, warned that its Pacific NorthWest LNG project could be delayed by up to 15 years if the provincial government fails to resolve tax and regulatory issues by Oct. 31.

"We've been working towards these deadlines already," said Clark. There are 15 proposals for LNG projects, and not all will go ahead, she said. "I certainly hope this will be one of them. It's a very big project."

NDP leader John Horgan said the throne speech was empty. "I don't think you can believe Christy Clark's words anymore," he said. "She knows what to say, but it seems to me she doesn't know how to deliver on those words."

Noting the promises to eliminate the debt and create 100,000 jobs, he said, "Those promises were designed to get elected, they weren't designed to govern. I think it's that duplicity that's going to cause the Liberals to cave over the next number of years. They made outrageous commitments, and they can't keep them."

The speech also described the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision recognizing the Tsilhqot'in's aboriginal title as an opportunity. "The Supreme Court ruling on Aboriginal land title presents a new opportunity," it said. "It is an opportunity to finally resolve disputes and make decisions together that reflect our common interests and shared vision of a better future. It is an opportunity to move forward towards a more meaningful, inclusive and fair partnership."

*Story updated at 4:30 p.m..

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus