John Horgan, NDP leadership candidate, doesn’t think the Enbridge Northern gateway project will go ahead.
And that’s fine by him as he believes there are other ways to spur economic development other than a risky pipeline.
Horgan, MLA for Juan de Fuca in the suburbs west of Victoria, said he has been working with Skeena MLA Robin Austin to find ways to accelerate liquid natural gas proposals for the area.
“I believe that if we’re going to be having tankers in and up the Douglas Channel, it should be liquid natural gas.”
In the case of a ship spill, he said natural gas won’t stick to marine life or ruin the aquatic environment as an oil spill would.
The Enbridge pipeline, he said, won’t mean real benefits to B.C.
“Taking Alberta’s crude and finding a market for it doesn’t strike me as being in the interest for British Columbians.”
He said natural gas is much better as the province will get the royalties for extraction in the Peace region, and value will be added with liquefaction plants in Kitimat before it is shipped off shore.
Other appealing economic developments in the area include the Northwest Transmission Line and what that can mean for the Highway 37 corridor.
Horgan said the party needs to recognize that it needs private investment for the economy to grow.
In turn, investors need to understand that regulations are needed to protect the environment, workers, and allows communities to grow.
“If capital or investment or the business community is prepared to sit down with me and with communities where they want to invest, and find that path that will lead to profit for shareholders but also benefit the community and to families and to neighbourhoods, then I’m all for it,” he said.
Businesses aren’t only looking for low taxes, Horgan said.
“Money also wants stable social programs so that their work force can be well informed and well educated, and ….modern infrastructure, so we can get our products to port and to markets overseas,” he said.
Horgan “A modern economy needs three things,” he continued. “It needs investment, it needs modern infrastructure, and it needs skilled labour.”
One the export of raw logs, “We need to find ways to keep people working on the land base…but also trying to find ways ensure that small remanufacturers can get started and have access to that lumber,” he said, saying there needs to be a connection between companies and the communities they are in.
Horgan is one of five candidates running for the NDP leadership.