Former Haisla Nation chief councillor Ellis Ross, now Skeena MLA, served briefly as B.C.’s minister for natural gas development before the minority B.C. Liberal government was defeated last summer. (Hansard TV)

LETTER: Weaver fiddles while B.C.’s economic prospects burn

Skeena MLA warns of damage to B.C. investment from Green threats

Re: LNG won’t bring John Horgan down (B.C. Views, Jan. 22).

The NDP may hold the reins of a minority government but they are not in control of British Columbia’s economic future.

The current spectacle of a potential trade war between B.C. and Alberta over pipelines is clear evidence.

Supported by the B.C. Green Party, leader Andrew Weaver’s tough talk about bringing government down over LNG is just that: all talk and no action. Nobody believes Weaver would risk his one chance of changing the voting system through a referendum on proportional representation next fall.

So why the bluff? The threat to bring government down is meant to send two messages.

Most of all the B.C. Green Party wants to remind the NDP that their small three-member caucus still calls the shots in the legislature. The threat of a non-confidence vote was enough to interrupt Premier John Horgan’s trade mission to Asia.

The second reason directly relates to our economic prospects. After bowing down to the NDP’s decision to proceed with the Site C dam, the Green Party wants to signal to the world that it was drawing a “line in the sand” on B.C.’s fledging LNG industry.

The unfortunate side effect is a strong signal to investors abroad that governance in B.C. rests on a razor-thin minority agreement between the NDP and the Greens in the B.C. legislature.

There are certain segments in Canada and the U.S. who are dead set against any Canadian oil or gas reaching Asian markets. By limiting market access, our neighbors to south are handed a gift opportunity to buy Canadian resources at a discount.

An LNG export industry in British Columbia remains a highly viable prospect. Yet the current NDP government is severely hampered by its coalition with the B.C. Greens.

It is an incredibly difficult balance to maintain, especially in light of highly competitive policy measures adopted by our export competitors in the United States.

The bottom line is investors and the business community are listening to the anti-development agenda and the message is coming across loud and clear.

Canada is still struggling with an internal debate on resource development while the U.S. positions itself as an energy juggernaut.

Ellis Ross, MLA for Skeena

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