BC Liberals

Site C’s Shaky Economic Justification Is Proof It’s Time To Make Decisions Differently

Site C Decision

This piece originally appeared on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

There is no question that the new B.C. government’s decision to proceed with the Site C dam was a very difficult one. The previous government left them with a poison pill.

With $2 billion already spent, the Horgan government faced a no-win choice, with substantial political and economic costs for either terminating or proceeding with what is one of the largest and most expensive capital projects in B.C. history.

I don’t envy them.

New Government and B.C.’s Natural Gas: What Changes are Coming Down the Pipe?

Natural Gas LNG BC NDP Government

For years, Nexen's Aurora project envisioned transforming Digby island near Prince Rupert into a sprawling $20 billion LNG plant shipping 24 million tonnes of liquified B.C. natural gas to Asia. 

On September 14, Aurora officially backed out, reinforcing the words written in this year’s NDP election platform.  “[Ex-premier Christy Clark] bet everything on natural gas prices and left the rest of B.C.’s economy without support,” it reads. 
“Resource communities and families have paid the price. That’s got to change.”

But change to what?  With the rise of B.C.’s new NDP government, forged with the support of the B.C. Greens under climate scientist Andrew Weaver, there is now an opportunity to reset and find more realistic ways to tap the wealth of natural gas in the Peace region. 

The idea that there is going to be a big mega project like Petronas [Pacific NorthWest LNG] was nothing but a pipe dream,” says Andrew Weaver.  “The real question is, what are we going to do with the resource?”

Freedom of Information Seriously Suffered Under BC Liberals' Last Years: Report

BC Liberals, Freedom of Information

By Andrew MacLeod for The Tyee.

For two years leading up to the May election, the government of British Columbia regularly broke its own law for responding to freedom of information requests, a report from the province’s information and privacy commissioner found.

Overall, I am frustrated to see that government routinely operates in contravention of B.C. law,” acting commissioner Drew McArthur wrote in Timing is Everything: Report Card on Government's Access to Information Responses.

The report examined responses made during the two-year period that ended March 31. It found that in one out of five cases, the government failed to meet the deadlines for responding that are legislated in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Christy Clark’s Secret Consultations with Oil and Gas Donors Revealed As B.C. Introduces Bill to Ban Big Money in Politics

 Christy Clark Oil and Gas Climate Consultations

Documents released on Monday reveal that B.C.’s climate plan under the previous Liberal government was drafted by the oil and gas industry in a Calgary boardroom, just as the province’s new NDP government moves to ban corporate and union donations to B.C. political parties.

The documents speak to long-standing concerns over the influence of political donations in B.C.’s political process. B.C. has long been considered the ‘wild west’ of political cash for placing no limits on corporate, union or foreign donations.

I think this is deeply corrosive to our democracy and it encourages cynicism about politics,” Max Cameron, political science professor and director of the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia, told DeSmog Canada.

The Massey Bridge: A Boondoggle Bought by Big Money?

Massey Bridge

By Arie Ross for Dogwood.

Why did the BC Liberals prioritize a project that could harm local communities, the Fraser River and farmland?

On the 601 bus to my hometown of Tsawwassen, I watch as bulldozers uproot the evergreens adjacent to the farmland along Highway 99, making way for a costly ten lane bridge built in the interests of industry. I imagine dredgers forcing themselves on the river bed, scraping at the sediment and defiling the critical salmon habitat.

The colossal pet project of the BC Liberal party — the controversial $3.5 billion Massey Bridge forced upon unwilling municipalities — is just another reason why we need a corruption inquiry in B.C.

A B.C. Liberal Minority Government? Not So Fast

christy clark bc liberal minority government

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning major news outlets like the CBC made the official call: the B.C. Liberals had won a minority government in the 2017 provincial election.

Except they haven’t … quite … yet.

Here’s how the numbers are currently being reported: B.C. Liberals 43 seats, NDP 41 seats, Greens 3 seats.

These numbers are far from final. As Elections B.C. states right up there on its website, these are primary voting results from an initial count. “Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count, which will commence on May 22, 2017,” the site states.

There are about 160,000 absentee ballots waiting to be counted and some too-close-to-call ridings like Courtenay-Comox are facing a recount.

But, as Simon Fraser University student Steve Tweedale put it, we don’t need a final count to know it’s false to report the election resulted in a B.C. Liberal minority government.

Are B.C. Taxpayers Paying $3.5 Billion for Massey Bridge to Make Room for Coal, LNG Exports?

Massey Bridge

This article originally appeared on The Tyee.

There are places one can sit and consider the past and future with equal clarity. On this October day, Harold Steves, 79, an outspoken environmentalist and Richmond city councillor, looks from the riverbank at the end of Richmond’s Rice Mill Road.

Directly in front of him is the Fraser River, and directly below his feet lies Highway 99’s George Massey Tunnel. Given a $22-million seismic upgrade a decade ago, it was said by then-B.C. transportation minister Kevin Falcon that the tunnel was safe and a future twinning would eliminate the twice-daily commuter bottleneck.

But if today’s B.C. government has its way, work will start late this year on a massive $3.5-billion bridge, financed through a Public-Private Partnership (P3), to be completed by 2022.

Which means a stiff toll to pay off private creditors in the years ahead. Which will also mean that the perfectly safe, perfectly good tunnel will be removed.

How Teck Resources Benefits From Being the B.C. Liberal’s Largest Donor

Christy Clark BC Liberals Political Donations Teck Resources

This piece originally appeared on the West Coast Environmental Law Alert Blog.

Comparing Mine Management in B.C. and Alaska is Embarrassing (and Explains Why Alaskans Are So Mad)

Tulsequah Chief Mine. CSMPhoto

Alaskans tired of living under the threat of B.C.’s poorly regulated mines are taking the matter to the state’s House Fisheries Committee in an effort to escalate an international response to ongoing issues such as the slow leakage of acidic waste from the deserted Tulsequah Chief Mine in northwest B.C. into the watershed of one of the richest salmon runs in the B.C./Alaska transboundary region.

On Thursday the committee will assess a resolution sponsored by several House Representatives “urging the United States government to continue to work with the government of Canada to investigate the long-term, region-wide downstream effects of proposed and existing industrial development and to develop measures to ensure that state resources are not harmed by upstream development in B.C.”

Although Tulsequah is a catalyst, concerns go deeper as B.C. is handing out permits for a clutch of proposed new mines close to the Alaskan border, including the KSM mine, the largest open-pit gold and copper mine in North America.

Former Corporate Lobbyists Running for B.C. Liberals Part of ‘Alarming Trend’: Watchdog

BC Liberals Lobbyists Revolving Door

Five B.C. Liberal candidates running in the current election are also former lobbyists who advocated for corporations including Chevron, Pacific Northwest LNG and ExxonMobil in the offices of Premier Christy Clark and other top ministers, according to records contained in the B.C. Lobbyist Registry.

Tweet: None of these @BCLiberals candidate profiles note prev. work as #fossilfuel corporation lobbyists http://bit.ly/2n9mbbG #bcpoli #bcelxn17None of the candidates’ profiles on the B.C. Liberal’s website note their previous work as lobbyists.

I am alarmed at the number of lobbyists who are running in this election,” Dermod Travis, executive director of IntegrityBC, told DeSmog Canada.

It may in fact point to a worrisome trend.”

Tweet: “It’s not a generally considered a stepping stone in politics to go from being a lobbyist to an elected official.” http://bit.ly/2n9mbbGIt’s not a generally considered a stepping stone in politics to go from being a lobbyist to an elected official. Where B.C. risks not electing a government but electing a boardroom of interests — whether corporate or union, it doesn’t matter,” Travis said. “In this instance it's obviously corporate.”

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