FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the election just around one week away, Energeticcity.ca will be profiling each candidate during the week of May 1. Each candidate has been asked 10 questions that are related to the North Peace.
BC Liberal candidate Dan Davies gave the following responses to the questions presented to him.
- Should the Site C project be sent to the BC Utilities Commission for review?
Answer: BC Hydro voluntarily submits copies of its Site C Quarterly Progress Reports and the Site C Annual Progress Report to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). These reports provide information on project progress, accomplishments, risks and costs. Site C went through other reviews by the accounting firm KPMG, the Ministry of Finance, a panel of industry contractors, and a provincial and federal environmental assessment. It took seven years of study, research and examination.
Site C is the largest infrastructure project in B.C. and the largest clean energy project under construction in North America. It means thousands of jobs for British Columbians and a hundred years of clean, affordable and reliable power. Our province will be able to meet the increasing demand for electricity as our population is expected to grow by one million and our power needs by 40% within 20 years.
Site C will contribute $3.2 billion to our economy during construction and is benefiting communities right across our province. More than 275 B.C. businesses located across our province have participated in Site C construction so far, with many opportunities still to come.
And more than 2,000 people are directly working on Site C right now – 81% of them are British Columbians. Each of those workers is taking home a good paycheque that enables them to look after the people they love.
The Site C Clean Energy Project is the only way to guarantee 100 years of clean, affordable, and reliable electricity – enough to power 450,000 B.C. homes and to secure our electricity needs, now and in the future.
Today’s BC Liberals will move forward and get Site C built. We have a plan and will stick to it.
- How do you envision strengthening the relationship with First Nations?
Answer: We are proud of the relationships we have built with First Nations over the years, reaching close to 500 economic and reconciliation agreements – nearly 400 of those since 2013. This approach, plus our continued involvement in the Treaty process for those Nations who wish to explore Treaty, provides First Nations with a path forward to reconciliation. Today’s BC Liberals are committed to province-wide reconciliation, and also reconciliation on a nation-to-nation basis. The annual First Nation’s Leader’s Gathering with the Premier and Cabinet served as a forum for boarder dialogue on a range of issues of shared concern including economic development and education.
One area of mutual interest is shared responsibility of First Nation youth to ensure the gaps that exist are closed permanently. Every young person in B.C. should have the same advantages from a growing economy.
In partnership with First Nations, Today’s BC Liberals will continue to work towards meaningful reconciliation. I have been reaching out to our local first nation communities to hear local concerns and look forward to building a meaningful relationship.
- Is the ‘Fair Share’ agreement the best deal?
Answer: The agreement was achieved with the consent of all local governments in the region, and is valued at over $1.1 billion over its term. Local governments and rural areas needed the ability to plan for future needs with certainty and the current deal provides that. My goal will be to continue to work with local governments to ensure the deal does remain “fair” for this community and the region.
- How do you think the Province should go about in getting the best deal when it comes to the Softwood Lumber dispute?
Answer: Our party has made clear that we’ll use every tool available to fight the Trump administration’s unfair and unwarranted trade action. We are the only party with a plan to stand up for BC forest workers and secure a fair softwood lumber agreement. The risk and uncertainty of continued U.S. trade action against BC and Canada requires strong leadership, continued expansion into new markets, and a plan to protect jobs
Since we launched the BC Jobs Plan in 2011, British Columbia has gained more forest sector jobs by far than any other province – adding 9,825 jobs, or a gain of 17%. We’ve done that by diversifying our forest products and export markets, increasing our softwood lumber exports to China almost 2,000% and making major inroads in growing markets like India, South Korea, and Japan. And BC is uniquely positioned to supply Asia’s growing demand for power generation, both with cleaner-burning biomass products like pellets and with LNG.
- The Clark government said that LNG would be up and running by now and since it hasn’t, do you see LNG starting up in the next four years?
Answer: We set out to create an LNG industry to secure BC’s future prosperity – and leave a legacy for future generations. This is an incredible opportunity for us to build a new industry in BC that will benefit us for decades to come. We need to keep working to make it happen.
Our BC Liberal government has created all the conditions for success – a competitive tax structure and strong environmental protections. And while we wait for global natural gas prices to improve and make projects viable – we are already leading Canada in economic growth and job creation.
There are 20 LNG proposals in BC at various stages of development – and they’ve invested over $20B in prep work. And Woodfibre LNG has decided to move forward with construction – a $1.6B project that will create 650 jobs. These investments have been a huge benefit to communities. If elected, I will do everything I can to build on that investment to bring jobs and opportunities to the entire northeast.
- The Taylor Bridge is a key part of infrastructure that residents are calling on to be replaced. What are your plans for the bridge?
Answer: This is a critical piece of infrastructure and is a priority for me and the region. We need to keep growing the economy so that we can invest in infrastructure, and you need a strong MLA in government that can advocate for Peace River North in the Legislature. I am committed to working with the minister of Transport to get this project onto the priority list!
- Communities are facing shortages in the Peace when it comes to doctors. What would your plan be to get recruitment up and get more doctors here?
Answer: We will continue to work with Doctors of BC and other partners to encourage doctors to establish and expand family practices throughout B.C. by:
- Growing the number of graduating doctors from B.C.’s medical programs to 400 by 2025—ensuring that the majority of these new students are placed in the distributed medical programs at the University of Northern British Columbia, University of Victoria, and UBC Okanagan.
- Identifying retention programs to ensure these health care providers remain in rural and northern communities.
- Expanding our Practice-Ready Assessment-BC program that fast-tracks international physicians into clinical practice in rural communities.
- What is your long-term plan for the regional economy?
Answer: Economic diversity is our strength. We have seen our local economy suffer recently, but is now on the upswing. I will continue to do everything I can to get our LNG plan moving forward for our province. These LNG facilities will require an enormous amount of natural gas from our area and will lead to a sustainable long-term industry for the northeast. We are also seeing some domestic opportunities of providing gas to eastern Canada. These are also some incredible opportunities in the Montney basin regarding light oil, which will provide some strong economic opportunities for the local areas. I will continue to work with our foundational industries like forestry and agriculture. Both of these industries are key to our province and our region. There are a number of other opportunities that can be built upon as well in our regions such as mining, and tourism.
Finally, I will be working with the government to deal with levelling the playing field with our Alberta neighbours. I will look at other jurisdictions such as Saskatchewan to ensure taxes and fees are collected from Alberta companies working in our province so as not to put our own companies at a disadvantage.
- With the announcement that the Federal Government is aiming to have marijuana legalized by July 1, 2018, what would you like to see the Province of B.C. do in terms of Provincial guidelines/regulation?
Answer: We will work with health and public safety officials to ensure our three principles around the federal government’s move to legalize marijuana are respected:
- Most importantly, keep it out hands of minors
- Prevent organized crime from profiting from the sale of marijuana
- Ensure quality is maintained and product ingredients are properly labelled
We will also work with the federal government on a robust education campaign in schools about the serious dangers of using drugs including marijuana. Additionally, we will work with police departments to develop a legitimate marijuana screening device to ensure drug impaired drivers are kept off BC roads. Finally, we will work with the BC School Trustee’s Association and the BC Teachers’ Federation to expand drug prevention and education programs in schools.
- What are your thoughts on the environmental impacts of fracking?
Answer: The technology for hydraulic fracturing is safe and efficient. Hydraulic fracturing has existed in British Columbia since the 1960s. Natural gas activities, including hydraulic fracturing, are subject to stringent regulations, as well as compliance and enforcement actions by the BC Oil and Gas Commission.
B.C. has some of the most up-to-date regulations in the world for shale gas development. Regulations were updated in response to the growth in the natural gas sector and the emergence of unconventional gas exploration, including shale. We have been fracking in the northeast for many years now and have made many innovations to this process to make in better; innovations that are used around the world.
Tomorrow (May 2), Energeticcity.ca will be profiling BC NDP candidate Rob Dempsey.