NDP leader wants to increase LNG tax

John Horgan says his party backed Premier Christy Clark's tax package to get a deal done, but it doesn't extract enough revenue for B.C. gas

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan

As negotiations for B.C.’s first large-scale liquefied natural gas export project reach their critical days, NDP leader John Horgan has a message for investors: expect to pay more tax under an NDP government.

Executives of Malaysian state energy company Petronas were in Vancouver Monday for what may be their final visit with B.C. officials before deciding whether to proceed with an $11 billion investment in a pipeline and LNG processing at the Prince Rupert port.

Pacific Northwest LNG is a cornerstone of B.C.’s bid to enter the Asian energy market. The fall legislature session was devoted almost entirely to the emerging industry, setting in place a tax structure, carbon emission rules and a series of agreements with the Nisga’a Nation to enable TransCanada Corp. to build a 900-km pipeline from northeast gas fields to the North Coast.

Horgan said he instructed NDP MLAs to vote in favour of the 3.5 per cent LNG tax that emerged from negotiations with investors, because they need “certainty” to make final investment decisions. The surprise support came after NDP MLAs denounced the tax arrangement as a sellout of provincial resources, leaving Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver and independent MLA Vicki Huntington alone in voting against it.

“If we’re going to get to final investment decisions, we need to have a tax framework,” Horgan told reporters after the LNG legislation was passed into law. “I believe the framework is inadequate, I’ve said that, I will say that to the companies when I meet with them, and they should know that when the government changes in 2017, I’m going to be wanting to look at those agreements.”

In debate, B.C. Liberal MLAs repeatedly questioned the NDP’s professed support for LNG, referring to the party’s call for an investigation of hydraulic fracturing that has been conducted in B.C. since the 1960s. And the NDP denounced and opposed the government’s move to regulate greenhouse gas “intensity” rather than cap emissions for LNG plants.

Petronas CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas has been outspoken about the cost of LNG development in B.C. In October, Abbas warned that federal and provincial rules and taxes “threaten the global competitiveness of the Pacific Northwest LNG project.”

In his quarterly financial update last week, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the low and fluctuating price for natural gas in a shale-gas-rich North American market still indicates the Asia export market is viable.

“The proof of that, of course, will be final investment decisions from proponents,” de Jong said.

Horgan sparked controversy on a recent trip to Prince Rupert, where he expressed doubts about Petronas and another LNG proposal for Prince Rupert that has been delayed by lead proponent British Gas Group.

Petronas is leading a consortium that includes Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Brunei investors. Petronas paid $5 billion last year to take over Progress Energy Canada, which has major shale gas holdings in northeast B.C. and Alberta.

 

Just Posted

Sunshine Valley teens burning with promise

Possibly the youngest in B.C., Sunshine Valley trains 15- and 16-year-old firefighters

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Hang gliding video gives stunning view of Harrison and Fraser river confluence

Aerial view shows striking difference between two rivers as they meet

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read