Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Throne speech delivers reduced expectations for Premier Clark's LNG ambitions

When Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon settled in Monday afternoon for the speech from the Throne introducing the fall session of the British Columbia Legislature, she delivered the Liberal government blue print on the work ahead for MLA's.

A near twenty minute outline of what is now seemingly a scaled back approach on the grand ambitions in the energy sector of but a year ago, when dreams of LNG riches had for a debt free BC and jobs, jobs, jobs.

Monday's review was a more reflective speech, one which suggests that the new mission statement on LNG for the Liberals is that it "is an chance, not a windfall."

Needless to say, the NDP opposition pounced on those words, delivering a blistering rebuke of much of the Liberals past pronouncements on LNG, suggesting that the Throne Speech was just more instances of a Premier who promises, but doesn't deliver.

With their new talking points on LNG, the Liberals appear to be following up with a theme first tested out at the UBCM meetings in Whistler last month.

Photo from Gov't of BC website
The opening morning address from the convention was the first hint of the new talking points, where LNG Minister Rich Coleman cautioned that municipal governments might want to rethink some of their ambitions, scaling back their expectations of financial gains through LNG taxation.

Monday, that message went to a wider audience, with the Liberals shifting their focus, mindful of some recent LNG industry push back on the prospect of taxation and regulatory issues.

The most jarring reminder of that industry concern, the Monday morning statement from the Malaysian Energy Giant Petronas, which put a deadline of October 31st out for both the provincial and federal governments to provide some guidance on their intentions for the industry moving forward.

Should they not like what they hear by Halloween, the last night of October might be a pretty gloomy place not only for the Liberals but for Prince Rupert, which has been watching with more than just a casual curiosity as the hardball discussions continue on.

Conversations which now feature the fate of the Lelu Island LNG terminal as something seemingly up for potential cancellation.

And while of great importance for the North Coast, a high profile setback such as that would also certainly resonate across the province, calling into question the entire LNG prospectus that the Liberals have been focused on for the last few years.

You can review a full text of the speech here .

The media overview on the new talking points on LNG can be found below:

Vancouver Province-- Throne speech says there’s no guarantee of LNG windfall, will require hard work
Vancouver Province-- B.C. gov’t has changed its tune on LNG bonanza
Vancouver Sun-- Petronas steals agenda with shot across LNG bow
Victoria Times-Colonist-- B. C.s' throne speech pitch for LNG gets tested by energy giant
Victoria Times-Colonist-- B. C. needs LNG to afford existing services: throne speech
Victoria Times Colonist-- Message to B. C.: Lower taxes or Petronas will shelve project
Vancouver Observer-- Under pressure from Malaysian gas giant, BC tries to deliver LNG tax that pleases both industry and citizens
Victoria News-- B. C. throne speech focuses on trade, teachers
Globe and Mail-- B. C. touts LNG's critical importance to provincial economy
Globe and Mail-- B. C. 's rush to placate LNG investors carries risks of its own
The Tyee-- LNG a chance, not a windfall, says BC throne speech
Global BC-- Energy giant rains on B. C. Throne speech

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