MP questions timing of LNG deal announcement

MP Nathan Cullen says something seems strange about last week's announcement of an LNG project development agreement.

Skeena — Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says something seems strange about last week’s announcement of a project development agreement between the provincial government and Pacific NorthWest LNG.

“I was curious about the fact the Lax Kw’alaams rejection was followed so closely by the Premier’s photo-op. I think there may be a bit of a battle for public attention and media coverage … the contrast was quite noticeable. The project was rejected by the Lax Kw’alaams and there is concern about the project along the pipeline, but the Premier is there smiling and saying everything in OK,” he said during a May 21 media call.

“The Premier is all smiles, but there are hurdles to overcome including having the deal passed by the Legislature and having community support. Those are significant, I don’t think you can dismiss them, and I don’t think the province has done a good job addressing the concerns of people on the North Coast.”

As well as questioning the timing of the announcement, Cullen said he found it odd that the announcement was made in a major urban centre far away from the shores of Lelu Island.

“I think that they made the announcement in Vancouver rather than on the North Coast is telling. If you have community support, then you should come to the community for these announcements,” he said.

However, Cullen said much of the blame for the opposition to projects such as this falls on the shoulders of the federal government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“When you gut the environmental assessment legislation and muzzle your own scientists you completely remove trust in the process,” he said.

“It is now difficult for the public to have faith in the process.”