Little benefit for British Columbians in LNG deal, opposition leader charges

A dated photo of the province's official opposition, NDP John Horgan.

The government is preparing to recall the legislature on Monday to introduce and debate legislation which will push forward the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project Development Agreement signed last month by Finance Minister Mike De Jong.

The agreement — the first of its kind with a liquefied natural gas proponent — represents the largest capital investment, $36 billion, in BC history.

It provides the Petronas-led shareholders group, with assurances it will not face significant increases in certain specific taxes, and environmental charges for the specified term of the agreement.

However, the government release on the deal this week also notes it does not provide the proponent with assurance on laws of general application, such as changes to the provincial sales tax, or corporate income tax rates.

Still, that doesn’t satisfy the official opposition party, and NDP leader John Horgan claims that while his party supports LNG industry development in general, this agreement represents a good deal for Petronas, and other foreign multi-national corporations, but not British Columbians.

“It looks like Premier Christy Clark is prepared to sell out British Columbians in order to get a deal signed on her political timeline, before the next election,” Horgan argues.

“New Democrats will be examining the deal closely and fighting to ensure British Columbians aren’t left behind by Premier Clark.”

Pacific NorthWest hopes to build a facility in the District of Port Edward on land administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

It would liquefy and export natural gas produced by Progress Energy here in Northeast BC, and then shipped to the west coast by a pipeline owned and operated by TransCanada Pipelines Limited.

As such, the investment is expected to support up to 4,500 jobs at peak construction.

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