Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Petronas debate preamble as Legislature prepares to re-convene

Finance Minister Mike de Jong speaking
Monday during the release of the terms
of Agreement between the Province and
Pacific NorthWest LNG
On Monday, the British Columbia Government began the process of discussions related to the recent agreement with Petronas/Pacific NorthWest LNG for development of an LNG Terminal on Lelu Island.

The opening portion of the upcoming Legislature process, provides for a full overview of the agreement with the energy giant, with Finance Minister Micheal de Jong providing the background on the agreement.

As part of Monday's information release, the Minister provided his observations on the benefits that could be delivered through the agreement.

“There are significant benefits for B.C.’s economy associated with the development of LNG activity. At approximately US$36 billion at total build-out and operation, this project represents the largest capital investment in the province’s history. And with this project come jobs for British Columbians and a new revenue stream from taxes and royalties that will provide benefits for British Columbians well into the future.”

The copy of the Agreement can be reviewed from the Province's website.

In their media release of Monday, the province also made note of the ongoing consultations with a number of First Nations in the region related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal.

Though it would appear that the Gitga'at First Nation perhaps are not quite as impressed with the state of those discussions to this point.

As we noted on Monday, as the province was preparing to begin the process of information delivery, the Gitga'at First Nation was in taking their concerns to the British Columbia Supreme Court, seeking a judicial review on the nature of provincial consultation on the issue.

Opposition members from the NDP have also begun to outline some of their thoughts on the document, among their notes, a concern over how it ties the hands of future governments to seek further revenue streams from the agreement.

NDP Leader John Horgan
has outlined a few of his thoughs
on the LNG agreement with
Pacific NorthWest LNG
NDP leader John Horgan was the first to provide the talking points for the opposition, noting in a media release that the LNG deal looks good for foreign corporations, but not so good for British Columbians.

“The agreement includes pages and pages of protections for the companies involved, but locks us in to low tax and royalty rates for 25 years. In return, Premier Clark required zero job or training guarantees, or even local sourcing of products and services during construction to help grow our economy." -- NDP Opposition leader John Horgan outlining some of his concerns with the agreement between Petronas/Pacific NorthWest LNG and the province.

Last week on the blog we offered up some notes from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice who had provided a glimpse of her position on the upcoming discussion in the Legislature.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
will be in Victoria on Monday to discuss
the recent Pacific NorthWest LNG agreement 
As part of a household mailer delivered to area residents, Ms. Rice offered up a look at the approach she would be taking into the discussion.

As she reviewed in her report to area residents,  she will be focused on the nature of engagement with First Nations and the environment when the discussion gets underway on July 13th.

Some background to the start of the process and reaction to the information provided to this point can be found below:

CBC Daybreak North -- Pacific NorthWest LNG deal made public (audio)
CFNR -- NDP slam proposed deal for Pacific Northwestern LNG
Vancouver Sun -- Governments come and go, LNG deal will stay. For decades
Vancouver Sun -- B. C. to legislate $36 billion agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG
Vancouver Sun -- LNG caught in federal political crossfire
Vancouver Province -- B. C. finance minister defends tax deal with Petronas as "a very rational trade-off'
Victoria Times Colonist -- B. C. relies on goodwill for LNG deal
Globe and Mail -- Agreement with B. C. lets LNG group seek compensation if taxes increase
CBC -- LNG protected from tax hikes for 25 years in deal with B. C. government
Global BC -- B. C. sets the stage for $36 billion LNG deal

For more information related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal see our archive page here.

For further background on developments from the British Columbia Legislature see our MLA Archive here.

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