As we all know Christy Clark and the BC Liberals were elected on “prosperity” from BC LNG (liquefied natural gas) that will erase debt, lower taxes and deliver the services we rely on.
Of course, there is no existing BC LNG tax or royalty regime in place to deliver on those lofty promises, but Clark has been promising that is “coming soon.”
Indeed when cancelling the Fall sitting of the Legislature, it was because her government was busy devising the schemes that would erase our debt, lower taxes and employ British Columbians all by way of squeezing and freezing natural gas and exporting it abroad.
Clark delivers! But not a prosperity fund
As a result, many were expecting the next BC LNG announcement from the Liberals to be all about new royalties and the much-vaunted, long-awaited means of erasing debt and filling that 100 Billion dollar Prosperity Fund Clark campaigned on.
However, this week, the announcement came in the form of 116 million dollars worth of “royalty credits” to the natural gas players. Yet another multi-million dollar giveaway this time to build the pipelines! Of course, no one recalls that promise from the campaign.
Then there’s the ultimate in taxpayer handouts to this industry: a $10 Billion dam to help power the ridiculously energy-intensive cooling process to produce LNG. The public clearly does not need Site C Dam for homes and businesses – instead, it would deliver highly subsidized power to industry. Clark has acknowledged as much herself.In her announcement this week, the premier gave no indication of how BC is going to benefit from all the fracking, freezing and squeezing – instead she rolled out another giveaway to the world’s largest and wealthiest companies. Apparently they cannot afford to build their own pipelines.
This tradition started many years ago with “Oil and Gas strategies” and we have since devised more creative ways to give the resource away and pick up the infrastructure tab than anywhere else on earth, for almost twenty years now.
We have fracked 160 000 wells in Alberta and tens of thousands in BC, and what we have is record debt for both provinces – not record prosperity.
Prosperity right around the corner?
Regardless, Clark continues to maintain that this industry will indeed turn BC into a debt-free province of prosperity. This despite having no deals done to build the facilities, no export markets, and no royalty regime.
Yesterday, Harper met with the leader of Japan and CBC stated “Energy was the hot topic“, as Japan is one of our prime potential destination markets.
However, the US has already inked deals to provide LNG to Japan and by the time we are up and running for exports, no doubt Japan’s nuclear plants will be back online, reducing their need.Besides, Japan has already engaged in price fixing for its LNG supply and even if we manage to export there, they wont want to pay to fill Clark’s 100 Billion dollar party fund, now will they? That little Fukushima thing has got them cash-strapped, and while they may be sending over radioactive debris, it’s likely they wont be sending tens of billions our way anytime soon.
In fact, after forshadowing an upcoming Japanese LNG deal, yesterday the Harper Government could only a manage an Agreement in Principle (AIP) – and not even on LNG, but on a shared military agenda instead.No doubt China, often forwarded as another destination market, is a little off put by that, given their recent military agreement with Canada. The CBC neglected to report on the Japanese military AIP.
No royalty regime + no destination markets = Zero Prosperity
Oddly, the absence of Clark’s BC LNG prosperity tax is being held up as the reason why destination markets like Japan refuse to commit to import deals. In this Globe and Mail report, Clark’s 100 billion dollar promised prosperity is reduced to 30 billion over 30 years and Japan is still balking.
They and others don’t want to be blind-sided by a new tax, just to deliver on Clark’s promised prosperity.
Therefore, not only has Clark offered us empty promises to get elected, but she is also hurting the ability of the industry to establish markets abroad – all as a result of her consistent delay in delivering the promised prosperity taxation regime.
This puts BC in a tough place, and in the meantime, to keep the LNG players at the table and in the game, she has to give more away, like we saw this week with the premier all but promising to build their pipelines for them.
Enough is Enough
British Columbians need to demand a thorough accounting of the “giveaways” in the form of subsidies, royalty credits and beyond.
We need to better understand exactly who is prospering from natural gas development, who is getting the jobs and how our tax dollars are not only propping up this industry, but seemingly picking-up near the entire tab when all is said and done.
Through clever schemes – many undisclosed due to Coleman’s unreported non-disclosure agreements – the BC Liberals are putting taxpayers on the line for building the infrastructure, the facilities, the roads and the pipelines. And now through a renewed greenwash push, we will make BC LNG the “Cleanest in the world.”
With fracking, Site C dam, and all the carbon emissions from this extremely energy-intensive process, there is nothing “clean” about it.
The “Prosperity” is overwhelming isn’t it? Best cover your pocket book – it’s gonna be a rough four years.