A lot of news coming out of BC these days as they get closer to the May 14 election and a possible change in government. Of course this has a big impact on the energy file. The article below helps define why the gas industry in BC remains leery of the NDP.
Adrian Dix and key NDP spokesmen state that they are in favour of the natural gas industry and LNG exports , but until they clarify exactly what some of their ‘reviews’ are, industry will remain nervous. With a candidate coming out promising a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, well, let’s just say that doesn’t help. Pass the Tums, because this ride is going to last a while. Dix, meanwhile, also states that industry will “welcome” a review on water. Safe to say that no industry welcomes a government review of anything. Too much depends on who is doing the review, what the mandate is and how the process is set to unfold. There are too many variables, and no one wants a repeat of Alberta’s Royalty Review which really went off the rails.
To make matters worse, without full clarity on the fiscal terms, how does the province really expect companies to undertake these massive investments? The current Premier has mused publicly about an ‘export’ tax. And to be looking at a potential socialist government? Adrian Dix has been quite open that corporate taxes are going up. What most industries crave is stability, and when investments are in the billions, that requirement is very high.
If they win (yes polls have been wrong before), industry and the NDP are going to have to work very hard on relationships and find ways to work together. Its not going to be easy and it is going to take a while but they do have some goals in common. First and foremost, keeping employment levels up in BC. And, of course, there are royalties and taxes to BC Treasury, which needs those spin-offs to pay for education, health care, and other services that citizens deem important.
The sudden pronouncement last week from Dix coming out against the Kinder Morgan project is very bad news. Not only because he said he was not going to pronounce on it until the company had filed its application with the National Energy Board, but he deliberately politicized the project in the middle of an election campaign.
Now, oil pipelines are already fairly politicized but for a leader who seems to be walking into the Premier’s chair to suddenly reverse what he had called a “matter of principle” is worrisome. What other industries and projects are in for a reversal?? (There is no stability in that) Now, there have been many reports of Adrian Dix touring and learning about various industries. We can only hope that common sense prevails.
BC, like most of the rest of the country, is heavily reliant on the extraction and particularly the sale and export of natural resources. That is what makes our economy go. It is important to hold companies accountable for community/stakeholder/First Nations relations and environmental impacts but we do have to get projects built. If we give into the BANANA mentality, nothing gets built and no one works.