MLA Peace Communities should have negotiated together on Fair Share deal

Credit: B.C. Government Caucus

The Peace River North MLA says the terms of the new “Peace River Agreement,” which replaces the area’s “Fair Share Agreement”, are far short of a slam dunk, for any of the jurisdictions involved.

Pat Pimm had a front row seat in the negotiations which led to both the Memorandum of Understanding in 2005, and the new twenty year deal, announced at the end of last week, as its replacement.

“I think the thing that we have to remember is the agreement is funded to 2035, but there’s actually a clause in the agreement that allows the agreement to virtually be permanent. There’s an opening up clause every eight years. So, in I think its 2023 and 2031, you can open things up for re-negotiation. So if the oil and gas industry is really taking off and the communities are not able to keep up with the infrastructure demand, there’s an opportunity to have that discussion again. So from that perspective, it’s pretty good.”

Sagging oil and gas industry revenues were behind the provincial government push to reopen the 2005 agreement, and it resulted in a three way bargaining table split, among local jurisdictions involved.

The local MLA believes the province may have been the chief beneficiary of that split, and more old deal solidarity at the negotiating table may have allowed the local jurisdictions to win more new deal concessions from the province, albeit in a tougher set of talks.  “I think what happened is, if the communities had all stuck together and not agreed to open the agreement, the Province would have had a harder time. I think personally, they (the communities) would have ended up with a little bit of stronger agreement. But that being said, this definitely has its benefits as well because we got 15 more years of total security.”