Articles

Opposing LNG tax giveaway at 3rd reading (Amendment)


Mr. Speaker: Member for Saanich North and the Islands. I rise to support the amendment from my colleague
from Oak Bay–Gordon Head to send Bill 10 to the Select Standing Committee on Finance
and Government Services. During the second reading of this bill, we,
I think, spoke and I definitely spoke quite passionately about the environmental impact. In fact, as a person that’s got young children,
perhaps my lens is a little bit…. I look a little further into the future than
perhaps, I think, some of the decisions, and particularly this decision being made. One of the things that I have a big concern
with is that Bill 10 provides an income tax incentive to attract a facility that is going
to become the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia and in Canada. We heard, in statements earlier, from members
on the government’s side of the House here, talking about climate change. I find it to be challenging to hear, on one
hand, the concerns of climate change — the impacts that climate change is having on communities. Floods. We’ve toured the province, and we’ve heard
communities talking about floods. We’ve heard communities talk about the impacts
of climate change. In fact, it rained for just a very little,
brief period of time this week, and it was a joyful occasion. While I celebrate the sunshine, I also recognize
that we are hitting just the basement — the very base level. We’re undercutting the lowest amount of
rain that you could possibly have. My son said to me: “Wow. That was the second time it rained in 2019.” What the…? How is an 11-year-old boy counting the days
of rain? That’s what we’ve got — a narrative
— in fact, the awareness of the impacts of climate change. We have to have the opportunity to substantively
canvas this. I’ll be talking about this again. I think that, as I go through the very long
discussions that were going on between members of the opposition and the minister responsible
for bringing this bill in…. On various aspects of this, I’m substantively
disappointed that at the committee stage of this bill — which is in fact designed to
help us get the information that we need, the answers that we need, to be able to be
convinced that this bill is in fact what it says it is, that the agreement is in fact
what it says it is — so few answers were given. In addition to that, not only did we lack
the answers that were necessary, we were invited to step outside of this debate and into another
debate to seek the answers to those questions. I find that to be deeply inappropriate. I find it deeply inappropriate that when there
are four conditions that are established for this industry to be coming to this province
— meeting our climate targets, real partnerships with First Nations, fair returns for British
Columbians and jobs for British Columbians, as the conditions that are set…. Those specific conditions are canvassed in
this bill during the stage of the debate in which it is appropriate for that information
to become public information so that not only we, the 87 members of this House, but indeed,
all of British Columbians, are able to take a look at the information that’s been gathered
from this place and are able to say: “Indeed, yes. That was a good decision that was made. It was a thorough decision. I might disagree with the outcome, but I certainly
agree with the process. I certainly think that the information was
sufficient for them to make a decision.” We know that very few British Columbians are
actually going to do what I did and print off the pages and pages and pages of interactions
between members of the opposition and the minister and are actually going to take the
time to go through those conversations to understand the level of frustration that was
exhibited in this place. When it comes to the questions about
the use of temporary foreign workers and where the workers are coming from…. We were, as opposition members that were questioning
the government’s agreement on this, invited…. Very significant questions were made, apparently,
on a contract, an agreement that was signed by the Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. We were invited to canvass that in budget
estimates. I think that it’s important. In addition to that, when members of the opposition
were asking questions about the clean growth industrial incentives, we found out, in fact,
that June 30 is the earliest time in which we’d know what the benchmarks are going
to be. In fact, we found out that that’s the first
time that LNG Canada is going to fully understand the benchmarks. So when my colleague stands and offers an
amendment to this bill to send it to a select standing committee, I think that this allows
us to be able to bring together, in a single place — not in disparate places, disparate
rooms around this precinct, where we have to chase information. If this deal is so good for British Columbians,
then we shouldn’t have to chase any information. It should be forthcoming. If this deal is so good for British Columbians,
we would indeed have heard far more of the members on the government side speak vociferously,
excitedly, in favour. But just the very bare minimum. Just, I think, the minister of empires, it’s
called. Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources — we’d
expect that minister to speak on behalf of this. Jobs, Trade and Technology — we’d expect
that minister to speak, and Trade. Those are the three ministers, in addition
to the Finance Minister, that we would expect to hear stand and speak to this. So just barely above the bare minimum. I think that I’ll take my seat now, thankful
for the opportunity to speak to this amendment to send this bill to committee so that we
can indeed pull together the disparate information that is seemingly out in a bunch other rooms
in this place and pull it together into one place and have a real, thorough canvass of
this project so that we understand what the benchmarks are, what the actual outlay for
the jobs is. In going back to the conditions that the government
has laid out to say that this is a welcome industry in our province if we indeed meet
these…. Right now I think that it’s important that
any thoughtful and thorough process would allow for the information so that we would
be able to say yes. You know what? We might not agree with LNG. We might not agree with the approach that
the government is taking, but at least we can be satisfied that they indeed have met
the conditions that they’ve set for this. At this stage, there is no way for us. There is simply no way. I spent last night reading through, and I
can tell British Columbians with a level of certainty that there is no way for us to know
if, indeed, the government has, in fact, met the conditions. That, to me, is something that is a substantial
reason for us to be sending this to committee.

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