Letter to the Editor: B.C. Liberals must respond

It’s not just Petronas that needs to respond to northwest concerns about their safety record, it’s the B.C. Liberal government.

Editor:

Re: Petronas must respond, Sept. 16, 2015

It’s not just Petronas that needs to respond to northwest concerns about their safety record, it’s the B.C. Liberal government.

Why were British Columbians not told about deeply troubling safety concerns at Petronas before our government signed a 25-year deal with the company? Either the BC Liberals didn’t care enough to investigate the operational record of Petronas, or they did investigate, and they hid the information from northwest communities and First  Nations.

This neglect of the things that matter is inexcusable and it does nothing to build support for Petronas. The biggest challenge facing LNG projects in British Columbia is getting the support of communities and First Nations. The BC Liberals are doing the LNG industry no favours by selling off our resources with bad deals and failing to ensure companies have a safety and environmental record that communities and First Nations can trust.

Petronas has indicated that they plan on hiring companies outside of Canada to do their engineering and design work. It’s hard to understand why the BC Liberal government would ever allow those high-paying professional jobs to leave our province and our country in the first place, but these safety issues should put an end to that plan. The BC Liberals need to insist that Petronas meet the safety requirements and environmental standards expected by British Columbians, and they need to hire British Columbians.

British Columbians deserve better than a government that would put their safety at risk in their rush to get a deal.

Jennifer Rice

MLA, North Coast