Sunday, June 4, 2017
Fraser Inst. takes a swipe at
Green / NDP on energy plan
Fraser Inst./Handout photo
John Horgan and his
family in a press conference after his announcement the NDP would be
forming a partnership.
announcement that the British Columbia NDP and Green Party have signed an
agreement to unite to form the next B.C. government raises some major red
flags with regard to energy-related policies in the province.
During the campaign, the two
parties positions were considerably more stringent on both energy and
climate change than the BC Liberals.
On the climate change front, the main difference between the Greens/NDP and
the Liberals is on the carbon tax. The Liberals proposed maintaining the
existing $30 per tonne carbon tax until 2021. The NDP wants to raise the tax
in 2020, reaching $50 per tonne by 2022 (in line with the new federal price
floor). The Greens would go faster than that, raising the tax in 2018,
reaching $70 per tonne in 2021, and expanding the tax to additional natural
It's on the energy policy side that divisions are more pronounced.
• Both the NDP
and Greens oppose the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline
• Both the NDP and Greens oppose (or want to re-examine) the
proposed Site C dam that would power B.C.’s future LNG industry.
• And, both the NDP and Greens generally oppose the idea of LNG
production—the Greens overtly, the NDP indirectly, invoking a
range of conditions that would make LNG facilities exceptionally
difficult to build.
Taken together, and if
enacted, these actions could cost British Columbians many billions in
foregone earnings, foregone tax revenues and foregone employment.
But B.C. is not the only loser here, as Alberta Premier Rachel Notley must
now realize that no amount of the self-inflicted economic harms likely to
flow from the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan will obtain the promised
social licence to build pipelines to B.C.’s coast allowing Alberta to bring
its oil to more lucrative foreign markets.
It remains to be seen if the NDP/Green coalition can form (or maintain) a
minority government capable of governing. Liberal Leader Christy Clark has
not (as of this writing) resigned, and there’s speculation she may seek to
retain government. And the prime minister has restated his commitment to the
Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, as has Premier Notley.
But either way, the results of the last B.C. election have raised barriers
to energy development in not only B.C. but in all of Western Canada. The
biggest impact, however, is the element of uncertainty the results add into
resource markets. As we show in our surveys of upstream oil and gas
executives and mining company executives, uncertainty is the nemesis of
investment attractiveness of energy producing or mining-intensive
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