North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice was not in the Legislature when the Pacific NorthWest LNG project development agreement was passed, and did not register a vote on the bill, but says the legislation sets a dangerous precedent.
“This deal is the benchmark for any future deals on LNG, which makes it difficult for BC to get better terms. Additionally, this agreement has a “me too” clause, meaning if a different proponent ever receives a favourable clause within their agreement, Petronas gets an even bigger break. The bar has been set low, and can only get lower,” she said.
“This deal is good for Petronas, but the premier failed to negotiate effectively on British Columbia’s behalf. This is because the premier blew a favourable bargaining position when she made grandiose promises ahead of the last election. It’s clear what the benefits are for Petronas. They get a tax holiday locked in for 25 years at the expense of a fair return for B.C. In return, all the Government requires is a final decision from Petronas within the next two years, or by the next election. That’s very politically convenient for the B.C. Liberals. There were no job guarantees, no meaningful discussion of partnership with First Nations, and the plan let’s Petronas develop its own regulations around air quality.”
Rice said she would have voted against the bill had she been in Victoria earlier this week, but a previous commitment in the riding kept her away from the Legislature.
“I was absent from the legislature on Monday and Tuesday. I had committed some time ago to visit the remote First Nations community of Wuikinuxv (formerly Oweekeno) on River’s Inlet for their AGA (Annual General Assembly). I was invited months ago to attend their AGA and honoured that commitment,” she explained.
“New Democrats support LNG, but there needs to be a fair return to British Columbians, guaranteed jobs for British Columbians, the best environmental protections from wellhead to water line, and true partnership with First Nations.”