NDP leader wants to increase LNG tax

John Horgan says his party backed Premier Christy Clark's tax package to get a deal done, but it doesn't extract enough revenue for B.C. gas

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan

As negotiations for B.C.’s first large-scale liquefied natural gas export project reach their critical days, NDP leader John Horgan has a message for investors: expect to pay more tax under an NDP government.

Executives of Malaysian state energy company Petronas were in Vancouver Monday for what may be their final visit with B.C. officials before deciding whether to proceed with an $11 billion investment in a pipeline and LNG processing at the Prince Rupert port.

Pacific Northwest LNG is a cornerstone of B.C.’s bid to enter the Asian energy market. The fall legislature session was devoted almost entirely to the emerging industry, setting in place a tax structure, carbon emission rules and a series of agreements with the Nisga’a Nation to enable TransCanada Corp. to build a 900-km pipeline from northeast gas fields to the North Coast.

Horgan said he instructed NDP MLAs to vote in favour of the 3.5 per cent LNG tax that emerged from negotiations with investors, because they need “certainty” to make final investment decisions. The surprise support came after NDP MLAs denounced the tax arrangement as a sellout of provincial resources, leaving Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver and independent MLA Vicki Huntington alone in voting against it.

“If we’re going to get to final investment decisions, we need to have a tax framework,” Horgan told reporters after the LNG legislation was passed into law. “I believe the framework is inadequate, I’ve said that, I will say that to the companies when I meet with them, and they should know that when the government changes in 2017, I’m going to be wanting to look at those agreements.”

In debate, B.C. Liberal MLAs repeatedly questioned the NDP’s professed support for LNG, referring to the party’s call for an investigation of hydraulic fracturing that has been conducted in B.C. since the 1960s. And the NDP denounced and opposed the government’s move to regulate greenhouse gas “intensity” rather than cap emissions for LNG plants.

Petronas CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas has been outspoken about the cost of LNG development in B.C. In October, Abbas warned that federal and provincial rules and taxes “threaten the global competitiveness of the Pacific Northwest LNG project.”

In his quarterly financial update last week, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the low and fluctuating price for natural gas in a shale-gas-rich North American market still indicates the Asia export market is viable.

“The proof of that, of course, will be final investment decisions from proponents,” de Jong said.

Horgan sparked controversy on a recent trip to Prince Rupert, where he expressed doubts about Petronas and another LNG proposal for Prince Rupert that has been delayed by lead proponent British Gas Group.

Petronas is leading a consortium that includes Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Brunei investors. Petronas paid $5 billion last year to take over Progress Energy Canada, which has major shale gas holdings in northeast B.C. and Alberta.

 

Just Posted

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

From the Hill: The successes and failures of the Elections Modernization Act

Richard Cannings writes about Bill C-76 in From the Hill.

Public invited to annual watershed meeting at Christina Lake

Learn more about invasive species and management planning at Christina Lake.

Boundary Peace Initiative hosts conference in Grand Forks

The conference featured Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Christina Lake teacher recognized for excellence in education

The provincial music teachers’ award is “a huge honour.”

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Most Read