VICTORIA – Two years after promising openness, fair taxation and benefits for all British Columbians from LNG development, Christy Clark’s Liberal government has turned in desperation to legislation that allows new subsidies for companies and leaves British Columbians with only secrecy in return, New Democrat leader John Horgan said today.
“Christy Clark is desperate to make her LNG promises come true,” said Horgan, “She’s given companies what they wanted, then more, and now she wants the ability to give them even more tax breaks and long term deals without any public openness.”
Horgan pointed to two pieces of legislation introduced by the government that give sweeping powers to sell valuable public resources in secret, saying that the government has gone too far in their efforts to make the premier’s promise come true.
“Last fall when the Liberals introduced a tax regime for LNG development we supported the bill because it came with statutory tax limits and benefits,” added Bruce Ralston, New Democrat spokesperson for natural gas development, “We were assured that investments would be quickly made based on that regime. That has not happened, and these pieces of legislation add even more long term tax giveaways that will also be secret.”
“The minister of finance promised open project agreements so that all British Columbians would know they got good value for their resources,” said Carole James, New Democrat finance spokesperson, ”But Christy Clark overruled him and the project agreements are secret. She just wants people to take her at her word, but that’s tough to do.”
Horgan pointed out that in the last week the Liberals have been exposed as losing $43 million on the fire-sale of public land in deals they tried to keep secret for two years. “Imagine the kind of mess they could get us into in secret when valuable LNG resources are on the table, and the biggest goal of the government is to get a project, any project approved, at any cost.”
“Whenever the premier is faced with the public interest on one side and her personal political benefit on the other, she sides with political benefit every single time,” said Horgan, “She can’t be trusted anymore, and we will vote against this legislation.”