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She expressed concern over Leader of the Opposition Tom Mulcair’s calling development in the resource sector a “disease”, as well as the provincial NDP supporting his views.

“It’s not a disease; it’s actually what supports families and makes communities grow, and in the northeast of British Columbia it becomes important on a national scale,” she explains.

She points out that much of Premier Christy Clark’s Jobs Plan depends on the development of liquefied natural gas. That won’t happen unless development is taking place in northeast B.C.

“We can’t afford to have someone suggest that all of that should grind to a halt.”

Like Clark, Polak argues that the province should be aggressive in venturing into the LNG market, as there is a “very small window of time” to do so. Several other countries like Australia are also competing hard for the same market. That’s why Asia is so vital to the equation, and why the premier has now taken on two trade missions to the continent. Asian countries are paying between $12 and $17 per kilojule of LNG right now, which is far higher than anyone domestically.

“This is not the kind of opportunity that will still be waiting for us another 10 years from now,” she maintains. “If we don’t capture the opportunity while it’s there, others will establish themselves in those markets and we won’t break in.”

While in town, Polak says she is meeting with the First Nations of Treaty 8 as well as stakeholder groups who have an interest in the government’s relationship with First Nations here.

“We are making sure that the way we relate to stakeholders, be it guide outfitters, trappers, whoever’s on the land base, is working to their benefit as we develop better relationships with Treaty 8 First Nations.”

Polak will travel to Fort Nelson tomorrow to sign an unspecified agreement. 

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