Minority partner: B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver sits with Environment Minister George Heyman and Premier John Horgan at announcement of CleanBC plan, Vancouver, Dec. 5, 2018. (B.C. government)

LNG pressure builds on B.C.’s minority government in 2019

Greenhouse gases, Nanaimo by-election add to tension in B.C. legislature

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver wasted no time in attacking his minority government partner when B.C.’s first major liquefied natural gas export deal was announced in early October, 2018.

The biggest rifts between the B.C. NDP and Greens since Weaver agreed to support Premier John Horgan a year and a half ago have been over the environment, particularly on LNG exports and the completion of the Site C dam on the Peace River, both of which the Greens bitterly oppose.

Without proportional representation to boost the Greens in a 2021 election, and a looming by-election in Nanaimo where the daughter of a popular former mayor is running for the Greens, the NDP government is facing a delicate balance. With the Nanaimo seat vacant until a January by-election, current standings in the B.C. legislature are 42 B.C. Liberals, 40 NDP, three Greens and one independent, Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas, who as Speaker is bound to support the government in tie votes.

Add to that the scandal that has rocked the legislature, where Plecas has promised to resign as Speaker if his allegations against two senior administrators don’t support his bid to suspend them, and a sudden election could be in the cards for 2019.

RELATED: Electoral reform ‘finished,’ B.C. supporters admit

RELATED: Former judge Wally Oppal joins Speaker’s team

The day Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined LNG Canada in celebrating the Shell-led group’s LNG project in northern B.C., they congratulated each other on a $40 billion investment, the biggest in Canadian history.

In the B.C. legislature that day, Weaver read from a 2016 letter sent by NDP critics condemning a similar project sought by the B.C. Liberal government for Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.

“The unacceptably high emissions cited by the letter are, in fact, lower than the emissions anticipated from the LNG Canada project,” Weaver said in question period at the B.C. legislature. “Do you not see the grand hypocrisy of what is unfolding before us today?”

Weaver later accused Horgan of overstating the investment as $40 billion, when LNG Canada’s environmental assessment documents referred to only a first phase, with two processing trains to chill and compress gas for shipment from Kitimat to consortium members in Korea, Japan, China and India. LNG Canada, like the previous Petronas-led project for Lelu Island, will import components from Asia to build the plant and drive the process by burning gas.

Since then, Weaver has endorsed the NDP government’s “CleanBC” plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. His official response when CleanBC was released mildly praised it as “a vital first step” and didn’t mention LNG processing or export.

The CleanBC program depends on long-term projects such as phasing out the sale of all but zero-emission vehicles by 2040, and replacing natural gas for B.C. home heating with electric heat pumps. The plan acknowledges that its proposed measures don’t get B.C. all the way to its latest 2030 emission reduction targets, hammered out earlier as part of the NDP-Green minority support agreement.

Despite their enthusiasm for electrifying the B.C. economy, the Greens fought against Site C every step of the way. Weaver continues to argue that the now half-completed third dam on the Peace River should not be built, and distributed small renewable energy projects should be added to the B.C. Hydro grid instead.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Board of Education hires independent consultant to review SD82 reassignments

Review will not change recent decisions but will gather input, says board chair

Prince Rupert marine business adds second catamaran to its fleet

100-passenger Aurora was launched this year for the Rio Tinto Kemano tunnel project

Terrace-area gold project shows strong promise

Juggernaut Exploration hopes this year’s drilling will follow last year’s exceptional program

New protocol will better assist victims of sexual assault

Victims of sexual assault are set to benefit from the completion of… Continue reading

School district remains firm on reassignments

Community calling for halt of decision

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Family frustrated Terrace dad with advanced cancer must wait weeks for treatment

‘We can see his health declining every day,’ daughter says

Most Read