Monday, July 13, 2015

MLA's return to Legislature to discuss and vote on Pacific NorthWest LNG agreement

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
returns to Victoria this week
to debate and discuss the
Pacific NorthWest LNG agreement
Government members and opposition MLA's will return to work in Victoria today, as the Provincial government opens up its Legislature discussion and debate on a proposed LNG development agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG and the British Columbia government.

Approval of the agreement is one of the two main conditions attached by Petronas/Pacific NorthWest LNG to its recent conditional investment decision, the other is the successful completion of their Environmental Assessment process.

The agreement which was signed in June, provides the blue print for development of the proposed LNG Terminal on Lelu Island near Port Edward and as promised, the British Columbia Liberal Government, provided the details of the agreement heading into this weeks Legislature session to discuss and vote on those terms.

A review of the full agreement can be found here.
B. C. and Petronas/
Pacific NorthWest LNG
recently signed a
developmenter agreement

With a Liberal Majority in the Legislature, the outcome of the process is most likely not in question, but the debate ahead will offer up some interesting exchanges we imagine on what each of British Columbia's main political parties believe when it comes to development of resources in the province and how it should take place.

Residents of the North Coast will be watching with interest as MLA Jennifer Rice joins in on the discussion this week.

With the proposed project to be developed in the riding at Lelu Island near Port Edward, it's expected, or at least hoped, that Ms. Rice will provide for some energetic and engaged discussion on the proposed development.

On July 2nd we outlined how she had already offered up a few of her potential talking points on the issue, using her recent household mailer to the community to review her thoughts on the project when it comes to First Nations engagement and concerns on the environment.

"My position on LNG remains. The project must have local First Nations as true partners in development. British Columbians must prosper from LNG, not just through revenue, but also through jobs in construction and in operations. Our land, air and water must be protected indefinitely" -- Notes from Jennifer Rice's Spring 2015 Community Report

Ms. Rice expanded on those talking points last week with an interview with CFTK Television, and from her comments to the Terrace based television station, the North Coast MLA appears to have also adopted some of the key points that the NDP caucus will be stressing during the review this week.

During her  interview with TV 7's Christa Dao, Ms. Rice observed as to her concerns over how the province has been putting forward its message on LNG development and whether there will be as large a jobs benefit to the region as residents may have been led to believe by the Provincial government.

That pivot of the local MLA towards the major NDP talking points gives us an indication how the opposition intends to approach the debate.

The proposed LNG Terminal development
for Lelu island is the focus of the
Legislature this week
NDP leader John Horgan took the lead on that file in the days following the release of the agreement details from last Monday. With Mr. Horgan making a number of references to jobs and some of the conditions that he believes favours the industrial developers over British Columbians.

With the release of the Agreement for public review last week, the NDP leader targeted the terms with Petronas/Pacific NorthWest as Mr. Horgan outlined how he and his MLA's would be addressing the topic in the Legislature.

“It looks like Premier Christy Clark is prepared to sell out British Columbians in order to get a deal signed on her political timeline before the next election...New Democrats will be examining the deal closely and fighting to ensure British Columbians aren’t left behind by Premier Clark.” -- A portion of a statement from NDP Opposition leader John Horgan addressing the Petronas/Pacific NorthWest LNG agreement

To reinforce the NDP position on the LNG deal, the opposition party launched a social media campaign over the last few days, making use of the theme of "badLNGdeal".

An approach that leaves few doubts as to how they will be approaching the discussion in the Legislature this week.

Twitter is Part of a BC NDP social media campaign on the
proposed LNG deal with Petronas/Pacific Northwest

Not surprisingly, the Liberal government has jumped on some of the NDP commentary, painting the opposition as a group that is against investment and against good paying jobs for British Columbians.

LNG Minister Rich Coleman was quick to his twitter feed on Friday, putting forward what perhaps will be the main thrust of the Liberal's approach to the NDP concerns ahead.

BC Liberal Government Energy Minister Rich Coleman
taking to twitter to counter some NDP efforts in social media

That social media observation was followed by some talking points from the BC Government caucus, which focused on what the BC Liberals suggest is the NDP's lack of interest in serving the interests of Northern British Columbia.

An overview which begins with a few comments directed towards the trio of North west MLA's Jennifer Rice, Robin Austin and Doug Donaldson.

“Jennifer Rice, Robin Austin and Doug Donaldson owe their constituents an explanation as to why the BC NDP is going to reject a deal which would be the largest private sector investment in B.C. history, create thousands of jobs and provide our youth with the skills they need to succeed and flourish,” -- Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier, warming up to this weeks Legislature discussion on LNG development in Northwestern British Columbia.

And with all that in just one week's work, the pre game show is now out of the way, and as they say in Vegas at all the big fights ...    

It's time to get ready to rumble....

For more items related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project see our archive page here.

For more background on the work of the North Coast MLA at the Legislature see our Legislature archive page here.

No comments:

Post a Comment