Saturday, April 20, 2013

Premier's Northwest swing stresses the potential/promise of LNG

There was little doubt as to the talking points for the BC Liberals in the Northwest on Friday, it was LNG, LNG, LNG and oh, did we mention LNG.

The Premier made a whistle stop tour of Terrace, Port Edward and Prince Rupert and at each location the blue print of her LNG development strategy seemed to be the main focus, offering up the potential of growth and infrastructure as the main point of discussion.

A preview of the day's theme for discussion could be found in Terrace, where in addition to opening Liberal candidate Carol Leclerc's campaign office, she heralded the importance of the BC Liberal's LNG strategy and indicated that the Northwest is booming owing to Natural Gas. Perhaps getting a little ahead of herself in all of that, considering that Natural Gas benefits have yet to actually flow into the region yet.

Still, we get the idea, the Liberals are pretty well framing this election campaign on the potential of the LNG bounty that may await us, a financial bonanza that the Liberals suggest will greatly assist our future for years to come.

Along the way through the Northwest she indicated that with the financial reward of resource development would flow the required infrastructure of a community, from schools to civic needs, she highlighted how the development of natural gas resources and the prospect of LNG terminals for the region would help secure our future needs.

Using Port Edward School as the backdrop to her Port Edward discussion, the Liberal leader outlined what she believes the future will hold with LNG development.  Beyond the usual discussion of jobs, economic impact and such she outlined that with development, comes the ability to build new schools and create more employment opportunity within the education system.

CFTK-- Clark Visits Rupert (video)
CFTK-- Premier campaigns for re-election in Northwest
Northern View-- Premier Christy Clark talks LNG during Port Edward School Stop
Global BC-- B. C. Liberals offer energy dividend as plum for oil and gas developments
CBC-- Libs say LNG will grow economy
Vancouver Sun-- Christy Clark offers energy dividend as plum for oil and gas development

From Port Edward she was off to Prince Rupert, making a number of stops around the city before arriving at Judy Fraser's Third Avenue campaign office to officially open the Liberal headquarters in the region.

Over the course of the tour of the Northwest, the theme of infrastructure requirements received mention as part of the political speeches, the Premier using a template of what the Liberals have in place for the Peace Country as what the Northwest may come to expect in the form of assistance.

The Province recently announced a funding agreement with the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, an arrangement that will provide 200 million dollars in money for public infrastructure over a 20 year period.

Spread out over that  20 year period of time, the municipality will receive 10 million dollars a year to assist in the growth anticipated there with the development of the Natural Gas industry.

It's a program the Premier suggested could form the basis of a similar type of infrastructure arrangement for Northwest Communities as growth and expansion arrives here.

Business in Vancouver-- B. C. commits $200 M to help northern municipality deal with gas boom

That is a program that  we imagine might have caught the attention of Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem and his City Council, which currently is seeking a way to work through their budget difficulties, when they're not debunking the potential threat  of looming bankruptcy, a discussion point that they actually created themselves.

The Liberal's proposed infrastructure assistance, is tied in with the still in progress discussion on a "rural dividend" from the harvesting of natural gas and shipment through the Northwest.  A proposal that along with the larger Prosperity Fund discussions will most likely frame much of the election debate across Northern British Columbia.

An opportunity to ask questions of the local candidates on that theme (and any others) will come up on April 24th, when the Chamber of Commerce hosts a local candidates debate at the Lester Centre.

You can review all of our North Coast (and Northwest) election coverage from our Election Desk portal here.

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