Premier Christy Clark meets Lt. Governor Judith Guichon for presentation of the throne speech at B.C. legislature.

B.C. throne speech focuses on trade, teachers

Premier Christy Clark opens legislature session offering progress on LNG, aboriginal partnership and labour peace with teachers

VICTORIA –  Premier Christy Clark’s government launched its fall legislative session Monday with a speech from the throne offering progress on resource trade, partnership with aboriginal people and labour peace with public school teachers.

The speech described B.C. following the same path to Asia for liquefied natural gas as it did in expanding lumber trade when the U.S. housing market declined.

“Like forestry, B.C.’s natural gas industry has relied on exports to the United States,” said the speech, read by Lt. Governor Judith Guichon. “But the American shale gas revolution has meant the export south has dried up – and is never coming back.”

The gas industry employs 1,700 people in the Fort Nelson area alone, and can be maintained only by reaching Asian markets. The speech notes that Chinese LNG consumption rose by a fifth in the first half of 2014.

“This is a chance – not a windfall,” the government notes, after one of the leading investment groups warned of shifting conditions that could delay its participation.

Clark told reporters after the speech that talks continue with Petronas, leader of one of the largest of 15 current LNG proposals, with a pipeline and gas export facilities planned for the B.C. north coast.

“We are good at negotiating in this government,” Clark said. “We’ve got a good record. We’re going to keep negotiating hard.”

The government plans to table framework legislation this month to define the environmental standards and tax structure for the industry, which has more than a dozen international players considering LNG development.

NDP leader John Horgan said it’s been a year since the government first promised a tax structure for LNG, and now with a deadline looming at of the end of October, Clark is trying to back away from 2013 election promises to retire B.C.’s debt and slash taxes based on LNG revenue.

“I think we gave away our bargaining power when it comes to liquefied natural gas,” Horgan said. “Everyone in the sector knows that the premier is way out on a branch and made commitments that she cannot keep.”

The speech described the recent six-year labour agreement with B.C. teachers after a strike that stretched from spring to the early weeks of the fall school term.

“British Columbia can look forward to five years of labour peace,” the speech said. “This is unprecedented. We cannot let this opportunity pass.”

 

Just Posted

Whispers finds new home for thrift store

The new location is on Third Street.

Critical Condition: ‘People are dying from treatable medical conditions’

Problems with ambulance service policies are systemic and province-wide, advocacy group leader says.

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read