FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — B.C. Premier-designate John Horgan said today that he supports the province’s oil and gas industry, and the creation of a liquified natural gas industry, provided that the industry meets conditions.
Speaking with Energeticcity.ca, Horgan said that he is well aware of the challenges that face him after his party toppled the BC Liberal government of Christy Clark in a confidence motion on Thursday, which led to him being asked by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon to form a government. He explained that one major challenge will be to bridge the gap between the desires of urban and rural voters, but that he is looking forward to working with residents across the province to solving these issues.
“Of course, British Columbia’s economy has been for decades dependant on commodities prices, whether its in our mining sector, in forestry, or in oil and gas,” said Horgan. “I’ve been the Energy spokesperson for the Opposition for over a decade before I became leader. I understand the sector very well. I support oil and gas development. I worked on the creation of the Oil and Gas Commission. I support LNG, provided conditions are met. And I believe there’s a bright future for the Peace Country. And I want to work with not just elected representatives like Mayor Ackerman and Council, but working people, and those who have been making a life for themselves in the Peace Country for generations.”
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When asked about how his conditions are different from those of her predecessor, Horgan stated that the former Premier spoke incorrectly about both his views and those of the NDP on the oil and gas industry. He gave the example of Shell Canada’s proposed LNG Canada project. “It has all of its permits in place, has social license from First Nations in the region, has the support of the community, and is waiting for economic conditions to turn around, and that project will proceed,” said Horgan.
On the topic of Pacific NorthWest LNG, Horgan said that First Nations participation needs to be complete, not passive. He explained that while there is a large amount of opposition to the facility being located next to Flora Bank, a habitat for juvenile salmon at the mouth of the Skeena River. “I know they’re working on trying to find a way around that. I think working together with the community, with First Nations, and investors we can find a better location. I want people to be embracing these economic opportunities across the board, and not just piecemeal.”
On the topic of Site C, Horgan is steadfast about sending the project to the B.C. Utilities Commission for a review. He says that BC Hydro needs to publicly defend the project, which the Crown Corporation has had to do with every other project in the last 40 years.
“I believe that BC Hydro should be able to defend the project, and that’s what I’m asking them to do. I want BC Hydro to explain to the people that pay their bills, you and I and your listeners, how it is that they’re going to make this work without increasing rates beyond what is manageable by regular people. And if they can’t do that, then we’ll deal with it at that time. This is an important issue for BC Hydro, its an important issue for the people of your region, but its an important issue for all British Columbians. I believe all British Columbians deserve answers from BC Hydro in an open process, not behind closed cabinet doors, not because BC Liberals on the BC Hydro board say so, but because it makes good sense.”
The full interview can be found here: