Minority partner: B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver sits with NDP Energy Minister Michelle Mungall, 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.

VIDEO: Horgan commits to cut greenhouse gas emissions

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

Fernie joins global celebration of women

SheJumps co-founder inspires at inaugural International Women’s Snow Day celebration in Fernie

Glory for Fernie Ghostriders in four-point weekend

Riders back at home on January 25-26 for games against the Kimberley Dynamiters and Nelson Leafs

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Spike in Jaffray bear calls cause for concern

In 2018 there were 38 calls about bears spotted in the Jaffray area, compared to one call in 2017.

Snow on the way for Elk Valley

Winter weather advisory issued for East Kootenay with up to 15cm of snow expected over the next week

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Most Read