J. Horgan: I rise today to speak to Bill 6, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act. I'm proud to stand here following many thoughtful colleagues on both sides of the House who have offered up their point of view on what has become.
J. Horgan: I rise today to speak to Bill 6, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act.
I'm proud to stand here following many thoughtful colleagues on both sides of the House who have offered up their point of view on what has become, certainly, a divisive issue if we listen to the minister just completed and earlier presentations by other ministers of the Crown.
I'm proud to say that I lead a caucus that understands the challenge that we have with respect to growing the economy and understands that we have to take our comparative advantages where we find them. I support liquefied natural gas in British Columbia, provided that we support workers in B.C. first, that we ensure that First Nations are completely dialed in.
Well, we'll get to the details, Minister. We'll get to the details.
…that there is a fair return to the province for the resource, and, most importantly, that we protect our air, water and land.
Now, the challenge, of course, for government is that they don't understand the role and function in the British parliamentary system of a vigorous opposition. Instead of taking thoughtful suggestions in a hope to improve legislation, as we did — with my colleague from Vancouver–West End — with Bill 2 and as we will do, I am certain, at committee stage — my colleague from Surrey-Whalley — to try and improve this legislation as well, especially when we look back
We've been hearing from all sides of the House about the promises that were made over the past number of years by the Premier, the member for — I think it's Kelowna-Westside. Is that where the Premier is from? I think that's the right one.
She said a number of things. Certainly, back in 2011 what stands in my mind was a whistle-stop tour she made to Kitimat, where she promised that there would be an operational LNG facility by 2015.
[D. Horne in the chair.]
Well, I know that the Minister of Energy doesn't want us to be negative. I don't want to put a negative spin on a promise that was made to achieve something a month and a half from now that is just not going to happen. But, again, I think it's the responsibility of the opposition on behalf of all British Columbians to highlight deficiencies in rhetoric, certainly, but also to highlight deficiencies in delivery by the government.
In 2013 the member for Kelowna-Westside said that the LNG industry in this province would be up and running full bore by 2020. The BG Group of companies, which had a very favourable location in Prince Rupert at Ridley Island, has announced recently that they are pausing any final investment decision they might make.
So I don't see how the 18 — I believe it's 18 companies we're up to now — 18 proposals down to one or two or three, maybe four, if you listen to the Minister of Energy, who I suppose would be an expert in the House on energy issues, or one would hope, in any event. He's taken it down from the 18 promised by the Premier to one or two, three, maybe four, and, again, I support that. I am encouraged by that, that there's some realism on the other side of the House rather than just Pollyanna and awaiting the arrival of El Dorado, because it's just not so.
I've been travelling around the northwest over the past couple of weeks, and I spoke with hereditary leaders of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation. I heard the Minister of Aboriginal Relations make his intervention today, and he talked about uniform support. I'm sorry to rain on your parade, Minister, but based on my discussions with the Wet'suwet'en, that uniform support doesn't exist at this time, and I'm hopeful that we can all redouble our efforts to make sure that live up to the requirements laid down by the Supreme Court and we do achieve some sense of reconciliation and partnership with First Nations on this file.
We're up and running by 2020 full bore — one trillion dollars in economic activity. I had to pause when the member for Victoria–Swan Lake reminded me of that number. I used to think that trillion was just a little bit past gajillion. You used to use terms like that when you were in grade 5, you know? It wasn't a realistic number. It was just something you pulled out of thin air, which reminds me very much of the Liberal campaign from 2013 and probably why we have, on Hansard now, recorded the $1 trillion figure in economic activity just right around the corner.
And of course, part and parcel of that would be our $100 billion prosperity fund. Now, the prosperity fund, trumpeted before the election…. By requirement you kind of have to talk about it in the first budget after the election and maybe even make reference to it in your first official throne speech as a re-elected government, so we did hear about it in February. But we had, as luck would have it, two throne speeches this year. Double your chances. Double your chances to talk about prosperity funds.
It's unfortunate that we didn't get to hear more about the prosperity fund at that time, but we did get to hear and compare over the past number of days the promises
HSE - 20141124 PM 044/lcg/1705
It's unfortunate that we didn't get to hear more about the prosperity fund at that time. But we did get to hear and compare, over the past number of days, the promises and commitments made by the Minister of Finance in budget documents — which, again, guide the questions around certainty and uncertainty that some members have talked about with respect to this sector. You need to have some certainty.
The sector looked at the government documents that were tabled by the minister. He said 7 percent — 7 percent. That will be familiar to many people here. That's what we pay in sales tax and will continue to pay in sales tax, because the trillion dollars in economic activity apparently isn't happening, and we're not going to be doing away with the sales tax as a result of our prosperity fund. Let's remember the 7 percent number. Let's remember the 7 percent number, because it dropped when this legislation was tabled — by half.
Now, the Minister of Natural Gas has said some peculiar things over the past little while. I recall when BG Group said publicly that they were going to pause. He said: "Oh, I predicted that would happen." I recall when China and Russia signed hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of agreements with respect to providing gas from one to the other. "Oh, that's just a small play. Nothing to be concerned about." A $400 billion deal. We've heard that it's generational for us — but not, apparently, for the Russians and the Chinese. But there you go.
Another thing that I wanted to highlight, though, is that when the minister was confronted with the drop from 7 to 3½, he said: "We don't negotiate taxes" — funny that. "We consulted behind closed doors" is what he said. I don't know. I'm just a simple country doctor from Juan de Fuca, but from where I come from, when you go in behind a closed door and you start at seven and you come out at 3½, there was probably a negotiation going on there. I don't know who the minister is responsible to when he does this. But there you go.
He also said, when he was reminded of some of the failings of the targets and the benchmarks that were aspirationally set, as it turns out now rather than reality — goals, as the Minister of Energy has suggested…. Aspirational. We're hopeful. We're hopeful that sometime in the near future, I understand, we'll be eliminating the debt — according to the minister's revised figures, in 2043. For those backbenchers counting at home, that's about seven elections from now. So I'm hopeful that some of you will be here. I know the member for West Vancouver–Capilano most assuredly will be, and I will challenge him. We're behind time in Kitimat, apparently.
Now, the minister talked about a chance meeting with some officials from Encana on a tour of the northeast. I was the Energy critic for many years on this side of the House, and I toured the northeast many times. I've spoke with all of the proponents. I've talked to them candidly about the markets, and they've talked candidly to me about the changing face of energy in North America — the minister touched upon that — and in fact around the world.
Gas is trading higher in Asia than it is in North America, and that's the single chance we have. But the gas in Asia is tied to the price of oil. For those who haven't looked at their business pages today, oil is trading below $80 a barrel and is expected to be below $80 a barrel into the foreseeable future. What does that do? That brings down the price of gas in Asia. What does that do? It makes us less competitive over time.
Now, that may be an inconvenient truth for the cheerleaders on the other side. I'm not being negative when I say this. I'm identifying for the people who elected us on this side of the House that all the good news that continues to come forward at every one of these government-sponsored conferences and government-sponsored press conferences where we put the LNG logos up on the wall as big as we can make them.
Even though the Premier has created an industry announcing things around LNG, the reality is that the market is changing. And it has been changing for some time.
I, again, want to reiterate that the challenge for the government is manyfold. They have to address the issues of the day. They have to raise revenues. Gas revenues, I'll remind the Minister of Energy…. Maybe he's not getting the briefings that he should be on these matters. The revenues we are getting from natural gas have been dropping for some time, not just because of the price but because of a whole bunch of other factors — credits and so on.
I want to draw everyone's attention to a writer, Peter Tertzakian, who is a noted resource economist. He wrote a very, I think, thoughtful and also humorous — which is important to me — piece in the Globe and Mail on the 19th of November of this year. He laid out a scenario whereby those who are here — whether it be Exxon, Petronas
He laid out a scenario whereby those who are here, whether it be Exxon, Petronas, Shell, BG — all of those wood fibre, those companies that are in British Columbia looking to make significant final investment decisions — those people are going to have to go back to their boards and get approval.
Mr. Tertzakian, an expert in this area, understands the challenges of certainty and uncertainty. So he created this scenario where someone would bring forward, "what's the situation in British Columbia?" to their board.
He concludes as follows. He says, "Look at this. There's no resolution on First Nations; incomplete pipeline permits; incomplete environmental assessments; unknown federal fiscal terms; no clarity on municipal taxes; no transfer pricing agreement; poor visibility on labour supply,"etc., etc., etc.
Those are not market conditions. Those are conditions that the governments of British Columbia, Canada and the cities and communities around B.C. have to address. That's uncertainty.
But the opposition stands and says the market is changing. The opposition stands and said, "You were just making stuff up during the election campaign," does not influence these final investment decisions. I would love it to be so.
I know in the attack piece that the member for Nechako Lakes sent out with the good Liberal scribes in the basement here at the Legislature, that there was some hope that I could be blamed for single-handedly derailing LNG discussions in British Columbia. If I only had such power.
I can't get appropriate ministers to take accountability here, in my day job, but somehow, in the dark of night, according to the member for Nechako, I'm going around scurrying about trying to dissuade board of directors of Shell, Chevron, Exxon and a host of others. I personally, and my colleagues on this side of the House, are using our market power to discourage these final investment decisions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I support this initiative, and I will be standing in support of this bill. It falls way short of what was promised. Way short. It falls way short of what I believe we could have accomplished, were we not consulting rather than negotiating our tax frameworks with the various companies that want to invest here. But that is that.
I know that my tours of the northeast and the northwest, that there's a desire for this activity to take place. By all means, there's debate. There are challenges ahead for the government and all British Columbians, whether they be First Nation or non-First Nation. Whether they be opposed to natural gas development, where they want to have a better understanding of what the consequences of hydraulic fracturing are.
These are issues, I would argue, that government should spend time on. Rather than going around saying, "the NDP hates LNG," why don't you go around explaining to the public why this is profoundly important that we proceed. Not just with pitches here in the Legislature and trumped up conferences where you invite yourself to come and make presentations to yourself.
Instead go out and talk to the people of British Columbia. Explain to them in genuine real terms why this is important, why we need jobs in the northwest.
I was in Kitimat last week. I met with Richard Prokopanko, who has been working for Rio Tinto Alcan for decades. He reminded me, in the briefing that my colleague from Skeena and I were given, that I have been working on that file for 20 years. He said he has documents that I had signed, going back to the 1990s, about trying to get that project off the ground. It took 20 years.
I'm led to believe one of the largest capital investments in this province to date and it took 20 years, with an existing established company, in a town that wanted them to be there, with all of the infrastructure in place already. It took 20 years.
When we stand on this side of the House and say your pipe dream is coming unravelled, it's not out of anger. It's out of sadness and disappointment that you set the bar so ridiculously high that you can't possibly meet it.
How does that help the economy? How does that help reduce uncertainty? How does that help give confidence to the people of B.C. that you know what the heck you're doing? It doesn't. Our job on this side of the House is to continue to remind you on that side of the House that you've got a lot of work to do.
Instead of going, as the Premier did, to Ottawa and lobby for more temporary foreign workers so we can realize our generational opportunity, instead of travelling to India and talking about training workers there to come and work in British Columbia — not as landed immigrants, not as those coming here with a pathway to citizenship — but as temporary foreign workers. Why not instead, while you are in the room giving away
HSE - 20141124 PM 046/mjh/1715
Travelling to India and talking about training workers there to come and work in British Columbia — not as landed immigrants, not as those coming here with a pathway to citizenship, but as temporary foreign workers — why not instead, while you're in the room, giving away 3½ percent of your tax room, why don't you say: "I want hard and fast commitments for training and jobs for British Columbians"? That makes a whole lot more sense.
We can have expressed guarantees from various proponents for jobs here in British Columbia, for training opportunities here in British Columbia. Project labour agreements are very common practice in British Columbia. Certainly, with the right government selling these innovative proposals that…. I think it was W.A.C. Bennett, if I'm not mistaken, that started it. So the member for Westside-Kelowna might find something in the archive down at Socred HQ next time she's driving by that would remind her that if you invest in people and if you put people first, you might get a better return than if you close the door with some of the biggest companies in the known universe and say: "What could we do for you?"
Instead, why don't you open up the doors in this place and say: "What can we do for the people of B.C.?" Let's protect our resource and ensure that we get an appropriate return to the Crown for the resource. Let's make sure we have guarantees for British Columbians getting jobs first and foremost, that training is in place.
Let's live up to the requirements of the Supreme Court decision with respect to Tsilhqot'in and ensure that it's not just the Haisla and the Nisga'a that are enthusiastic about this but the Wet'suwet'en and a whole host of other bands from the Alberta border to tidewater. Let's make sure that we're actually working for partnerships, not just pandering.
Most importantly, let's ensure that we're protecting our air, water and land for this and future generations. You do that by realizing we have to live up to the climate commitments we made in this Legislature in 2008. We have to realize somewhere along the line that when you say, "The greenest in the world from wellhead to tidewater," you're actually going to achieve that. But that's not what we got with Bill 2. I know we're debating Bill 6, hon. Speaker, and I know I have some latitude just because I'm smiling at you.
But the fundamental challenge for the people of British Columbia who look at this industry is: "What are you going to do to protect us?" We see it at Burnaby Mountain right now, citizens saying: "What are you going to do to protect the lands, for us and for those who come after us?"
These are fundamental questions that are skirted by in this government's desire to say that the NDP is against everything. Well, you won't be able to say that with Bill 6. It's going to stand side by side with you and vote in favour of it. As deficient as it may be, it does provide us with an opportunity to reduce some of the uncertainty that has been rampant on this file.
I want to also finally say to those members on the opposite side who just like to make politics out of this stuff, if we're genuinely, all of us, interested in growing the economy and making sure that British Columbians benefit from this resource, this opportunity that has benefited us for many decades and hopefully will continue to do so in the future, let's put the politics aside just for five minutes, if the member for Westside-Kelowna could possibly do that. Instead of saying, "It's all about us," why don't we say: "What about making it all about the people of British Columbia?" Why don't we try that for a change? Why don't we put the people at the front of the agenda rather than the politics?
Let's have a real discussion. Petronas has serious issues with Lelu Island, with respect to salmon and with their Prince Rupert proposal. There are serious concerns in Kitimat about airshed issues. These can be overcome, but hard work is involved, and honesty is also involved — honesty with the public that, yes, we hear your concerns, and we're going to take steps to alleviate them. We need to ensure that we have vibrant communities in the northeast and the northwest. I want to see liquefied natural gas produced in Prince Rupert. I want to see a facility in Kitimat and any other community that wants it here in British Columbia.
But let's be honest about the consequences. It's not all upside. Everybody in British Columbia knows, when they get up in the morning, it's not all sunshine and roses — well, everyone but perhaps the member for Westside-Kelowna. But the rest of us, who live in the real world, understand that there are trade-offs and consequences and compromises that have to be made to achieve our goals long-term.
On this side of the House, we'll support this bill, provided the four conditions that we've laid out are met. I'm hopeful that the government will listen to some of the issues that are raised during committee stage and try to make this bill a little bit better so that we can all achieve the aspirational goals that the Minister of Finance alluded to when he spoke at first reading.
I'll end my remarks by thanking those people here for your attention. It's been rare that I've stood in this place without someone yelling at me. I want to
HSE - 20141124 PM 047/cgl/1720
a little bit better so we can all achieve the aspirational goals that the Minister of Finance alluded to when he spoke at first reading.
As you regular readers of The Straight Goods know ......
Benefits accruing to the province from LNG will never ever come close to the levels promised by Christy Clark and her band of traveling grifters, in fact many believe, as do I that LNG make sink us financially, we were told the same high-flying lies by Gordon about run-of -river projects, fables of being an energy super-power...That industry now bleeds $400 million dollars per year and rising directly out of BC Hydro`s coffers..
Site C dam which is being pushed by these same BC Liberal grifters...$10 to $12 billion dollar cost, a cost BC Hydro will have to bear, even at the best interest rates possible yearly interest charges on that debt will be in the $400 million to $500 million range, for decades no less...
Site C dam build is for a select reason...How the greenhouse gas LNG plant scam is about to go down(if any energy giants actually build), and how it relates to directly to Site C..
The BC Liberal`s greenhouse gas bill as it relates to LNG plants..
These grifters have set "intensity" targets for LNG plants...If LNG plants can achieve emission intensity levels of 0.16 to 0.20 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions for every tonne of LNG liquified they will qualify for credits, credits issued by the BC Liberal Government, the BC Liberals claim these credits have no "cash" value, that`s not true, these credits will be used to pay LNG plants hydro-electric bills..
That`s right folks...LNG plants will purchase just enough clean hydro electric power, perhaps 15% to 20% of their power needs...This maneuver will result in NEW modern LNG plants achieving these intensity targets, thus they will receive Government credits, which in turn will be used to pay their electrical bill..
It`s an accounting scam...Site C dam`s enormous cost, all those yearly interest payments...You dear friends will be paying the whole shot for that Dam power, let`s call it illusion power...
Illusion....Despite the BC Liberal`s "intensity targets"..The illusion is their claim of greenest LNG in the world, patently false, there is no clean LNG....Even with LNG plants achieving these intensity targets ...Petronas`s project alone, counting both plant emissions and upstream GHG emission will be emitting an astronomical amount of hot gas....10 million tonnes of GHG from one LNG operation...5 LNG plants and their combined operations would more than double the province of British Columbia`s entire green-house-gas emissions total...
Everything about LNG is an industry lie....The job numbers related to LNG, BC Liberal grifters fabricated the number, ...not 100,000 jobs, maybe 10,000 jobs if 6 or 7 LNG plants were built..That`s counting all the plant jobs, upstream and spin-off jobs..
LNG is not clean, these bore holes leak methane and other gasses, massive amounts of water required, ...Up north, stand-by buses sit outside every school, at the ready to evacuate students in the event of instant death sour-gas leaks...Airtight windows at the northern schools in case there is not enough time to evacuate the students..
Kitimat and Prince Rupert airsheds can`t accommodate more than 2 LNG plants...You`ll kill the local populous, slow poisonous death...an LNG tanker explosion would most likely vaporize those towns, there is more explosive power in one LNG tanker than there was in the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan in WWII...Accidents can happen, god-forbid..
Petronas, has a history of tax evasion, offshore accounts,, arbitrage and accounting tricks, these companies do not want to part with any money..
We also have solar power which is now as cheaper or in some cases even cheaper than fossil fuel electricity, ..Nuclear thorium reactors are about to take off, and recently there are claims of clean, no emissions, the holy grail of power Nuclear Fusion in a couple of years, if true LNG will go the way of the Dodo bird, ...and go the way of half the animal species on earth in the last 40 years...Extinct.
Let me say straight up....I`m not happy with our BC NDP..It`s not what I would do as a party, endorsing LNG, but I do understand the predicament they are in..
We have a corrupt beholden to CAPP and big oil media...Those who pay the piper call the tune..Corporations own our media and corporations are about greed, no matter how they achieve, who or what dies, anyone who stands in their way get mowed down..
Keith Baldrey, Tom Fletcher, Sean Leslie, ....These legislative reporters have been mailing in their articles, deliberately obtuse, not a lick of research, and it`s not that they`re stupid(well, maybe in Tom Fletcher`s case)...They have their marching orders...Any NDP infraction front pages on our dalies light up, every nugget of dirt exposed, scorched, the slightest connection blazed open, innuendo, speculation and leaps are made...Whereas any crime, sin, sell-out the corporate band of grifting BC Liberals do is tucked away, softened, modified and turned like a screw...Advertised as the new good...
We have the examples, The Straight Goods and others told of the IPP consequences, told of the BC Rail true inside details, BC Mary put her soul into that file...We were called "cultists"..Delusional..
Baldrey, Good and Palmer used excuses like..."BC Liberals have been elected again since BC Rail was sold, therefore the issue is dead"....Yet Gordon Campbell and Wally Oppal for years said.."no comment on BC Rail, it`s before the courts"...
Keith Baldrey, Sean Leslie..Tom Fletcher are still using the same tactic as to the "quick wins" scandal..Burnaby hospital scandal..
Our bought media will label the NDP as anti business, socialists, blah blah blah...So tiresome.
I have morals, The Straight Goods can`t stoop to that low-down-dishonest knuckle-dragging level, I look in the mirror and not prepared to cringe, not prepared to sell-out integrity, break reporting laws, be unethical, not prepared to turn journalistic integrity on its ear..
There are sayings..such as.."if you can`t beat them, join them"
There are others..."What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive"
"I`ll see you bastards in hell"....Grant G
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open