Premier Christy Clark’s vision for providing British Columbia’s financial security for the next few decades took another blow this week.
Canada LNG announced on July 11 that it was delaying the construction of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Kitimat until at least 2017.
Many folks will remember Ms. Clark single-handedly rescued the B.C. Liberals from the jaws of defeat during the 2013 provincial election campaign.
The New Democrats had a double-digit lead in the popularity polls, but the party’s leader Adrian Dix squandered away the lead with a few gaffes during the debate and in the late going of the campaign.
Dix literally choked and Clark flew past him at the three-quarter post and charged over the finish line.
The NDP candidates were stunned and bewildered about what happened to their insurmountable lead in the final 10 days of the campaign.
Christy Clark is what happened.
She jumped on her Jobs Bus and did a whirlwind tour of the province. She promised British Columbia would get 100,000 jobs and $100 billion in revenue from her made-in-B.C. LNG project over several decades.
This revenue would be rolled into Clark’s B.C. Prosperity Fund.
She told British Columbians her program, boosted this year by $100 million infusion from current budget surpluses, was aimed at eliminating B.C.’s debt and investing in health care, education, transportation, family supports and other priorities requiring future cash injections by the province.
Clearly, that’s not going to happen in the next couple of years.
There was an earlier setback to the LNG project when Petronas Canada was told it would have to wait until Canada’s Federal Environmental Assessment Agency finished its impact study on the company’s liquefied natural gas project.
The timing couldn’t have been come at a worse time for the B.C. Liberals with the next provincial election slated for May 9, 2017.
Undoubtedly, the NDP under the leadership of John Horgan is going to hammer away at the B.C. Liberal’s 2013 LNG election promise and its current status.
The government MLAs will probably have to do what they are doing now.
They are taking an optimistic approach to the delays and they expect the projects to go ahead full steam as soon as the world economy picks up.
Perhaps diversification will win the day as Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett suggests in the front page story of this edition of the 100 Mile House Free Press.
“We hope that the tourism, tech, mining, forest, film, and education industries of this province stay vibrant and keep B.C. as strong as it is in Canada.”
Undoubtedly, British Columbians hope she is correct.