LNG for the Win! The October 2014 BC Throne Speech

wordle for BC throne speech October 2014

George Hoberg
October 6, 2014

The Clark government’s Fall Speech from the Throne continues the eggs-in-one-basket pattern established in recent years – the future of BC is premised on the rise of the LNG industry.

The speech is centred around themes of “turning points” and “leadership”. BC’s current turning point is created by the combination of three factors:

  • “For over a generation, the funding commitments of Western governments have exceeded their means.”
  • “the American shale gas revolution has meant the export market south has dried up – and is never coming back”
  • “If we choose to do nothing, to maintain the status quo, we will have chosen decline.”

The choice the BC Liberal government makes, through leadership, is fiscal austerity and the pursuit of new markets in Asia  through LNG: “By choosing to develop the world’s cleanest-burning non-renewable resource, and ship it to the world’s fastest-growing economies, we have chosen growth.”

As someone who follows environmental issues, the relative priority given to resource development over environmental concerns remains noteworthy. We’ll have to see what the regulatory framework for LNG is when announced (presumably later this week). But it is significant that there is no commitment to “world’s cleanest LNG” in the Throne speech, and instead an emphasis on natural gas being the “cleanest-burning non-renewable” – in other words, the cleanest dirty fuel. There remains a quick nod to climate issues, with reducing GHGs in China as part of the rationale, and commitment to regulating so that BC “continues to lead the global fight against climate change.” But no information is provided about how that claim might be made plausible.

Other than a passing reference to multiple categories in the BC Jobs Plan, there is no mention of contributions to the BC economy beyond the resource sector. Given the risks of the LNG strategy, it’s quite shocking that the Clark government seems to be so willing to bet our future on one not-yet-existent industry.

Number of mentions of key areas:

  • LNG/Natural Gas 15
  • First Nation/aboriginal 4
  • Forests/forestry 8
  • Mining 3
  • Climate/pollution/GHGs 3
  • Clean tech (“technology and green economy”) 1
  • Pipelines 0
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