FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Government recognized the importance of natural resources during the Throne Speech on Tuesday, February 12.
In the Throne Speech, Lieutenant Governor, Janet Austin, acknowledged that the industry plays an important role in the livelihood of the Province.
“British Columbia’s traditional industries — forestry and mining, oil and gas, fisheries and farming, and renewable electricity — power our economy and form the bedrock of our communities. This government is managing the province’s natural resource economy and making it work for British Columbians by increasing local processing, promoting Indigenous partnerships and creating jobs and opportunities for local workers and rural communities.”
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Executive Director of Resource Works, Stewart Muir, says it is vital for the Government to start recognizing natural resources as an essential part of the Province’s economy.
“It’s important that they do that, and I think that we saw the recognition explicitly in the Throne Speech, this week, is a piece of good news because I think it’s very easy for governments today to dismiss resources as being old fashioned, not good for the environment, and we don’t really need them. We hear that all the time, especially in the bigger cities where a lot of people don’t see resources activities for themselves. They don’t really know where that power comes from when they plug-in their phone charger but of course, it’s all dependent on the Natural Resource Sector and for the NDP to do that, I thought it was just a piece of good news.”
Even with the Government now recognizing natural resources, Muir feels it is not enough and that it should be followed up with strong policies.
“But it’s not enough for me to just hear that they appreciate the reality that 80 percent of our exports are resource exports. What they need to do, I think, to follow that up strongly, is ensure that they have policies in place that allow this idea, a bedrock economy for resources, to continue into the future.”
To make their statement real, Muir says the Government will have to be very careful when it comes to managing the implementation of the CleanBC plan and that it must support LNG.
“In order to make it real, I think they will have to be very careful in how they manage the implementation of the CleanBC plan. There are some very good intentions in that plan and some very good policies. I think, in terms of LNG, people are asking the question “Will the CleanBC plan allow us to have a flourishing market to get the highest value for our natural gas?”; that’s what it’s all about. If we had a CleanBC plan that forces us to come into the future as enslaved to the low-value USA export market, as we are today, then that is really a misuse of a non-renewable asset that we have. The CleanBC plan is not really a CleanBC plan if it simply prevents us from getting proper value for a resource.”
Muir hopes the Government will continue to find the pathways to deliver on this ambitious and critically important mission statement.