In the 2013 election, Christy Clark promised a $100 billion prosperity fund, an end to the provincial sales tax, an end to provincial debt, and 100,000 jobs at over a dozen Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants with the first to be opened in 2015.
To say that there is a gap between what the B.C. Liberals promised and the current reality would be a bit of an understatement. And it is in the middle of this gap that the B.C. Liberals are writing, and re-writing, legislation on the fly, and making deals that are not, in my view, in the best interests of British Columbians.
The most recent signs of this desperation are Bill 26, the LNG Income Tax Amendment Act and certain sections of Bill 23, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (2015).
I support LNG as an opportunity, in the same way I support the judicious and reasonable use of our natural resources, as long as we are proceeding in a way that protects our environment and ensures that the citizens of British Columbia, who are the owners of these resources, are fairly compensated.
And as your representative in the Legislature it is my responsibility to review legislation to ensure that it meets the standard of putting the best interests of British Columbians first.
Bill 23 and 26 do not meet that standard. Instead, these bills create a situation where a government, which is desperate to sign an LNG deal at any cost, can develop projects and sign royalty agreements in secret that could ultimately result in the complete give-away of yet another precious resource.
These agreements will also bind future governments to deals that could be ridiculously advantageous to a foreign company, simply so that the B.C. Liberals can claim progress on the LNG file prior to the next election.
We are tremendously blessed in this province to have such vast publicly-owned resources. I believe that not only should they be used today to meet our current needs, but also managed to provide wealth for future generations.
Instead, the B.C. Liberals are currently setting up a massive give-away simply to suit their narrow political agenda.
Norm Macdonald is the NDP MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke. He can be reached by phone at 1-866-870-4188 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.