A few weeks ago, environmental activist Mike Sawyer made an attempt to impede a final decision on LNG Canada by filing a request to have the National Energy Board (NEB) conduct a review of TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The move has outraged communities across B.C. because the project has already undergone an exhaustive provincial review that looked at everything from environmental concerns to agreements with First Nations. It prompted Skeena MLA Ellis Ross to write directly to John Horgan, asking the premier of our province to step up to the plate and defend the development of our LNG industry.

A former chief of the Haisla First Nation, Ross correctly argues that the 670-kilometre length of the pipeline lies completely within our provincial border and by law, is governed by the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission. It is therefore appropriate for the premier to intervene in defence of provincial jurisdiction. If Horgan doesn’t, it could set a very dangerous precedent.

Chief Dan George of the Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation laments the fact that 19 out of 20 First Nations have already signed agreements amounting to almost a $1 billion in contract and employment opportunities.

There is a lot at stake in this dispute not only for the Peace Region, where two companies, Surerus and Macro are contractors but for the province as a whole. Earlier this year, Premier Horgan took on Alberta and the federal government over a federally-regulated pipeline that had already received approval from Ottawa.

Horgan must demonstrate equal enthusiasm for defence of provincial rights over pipelines or lose all credibility as a government. This is going to be challenging because the junior partners in Horgan’s minority government have threatened to withdraw support if Green Party demands are not met.

Quite clearly the Premier of this province has a choice to make.

Dan Davies

Member of the Legislative Assembly

Peace River North