B.C. GreeNDP alliance leaders Weaver and Horgan an ocean apart on LNG

BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and premier John Horgan. Image: BC NDP

On Friday, B.C.'s GreeNDP alliance leaders found themselves on either side of the world, and on either side of the B.C. LNG debate.

Speaking from his 10-day trade mission in Asia, B.C. Premier John Horgan told reporters that he spoke with representatives at Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) and PetroChina – two partners in B.C.'s LNG Canada joint venture – about his government's LNG strategy. He also stated that he will "first and foremost" be taking advice on the issue from the "legions" of public servants with experience on the file.

Earlier the same day, BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver told Business in Vancouver that a Tuesday night call with the premier had left him feeling "reassured" that they were on the same page.

In an in-depth interview on his and Horgan's earlier LNG remarks, Weaver argued it would be "impossible" for the NDP to support a provincial LNG industry while upholding its commitment to meet certain climate change targets.

Weaver also acknowledged he himself would be "morally bankrupt" if he backed down from the issue.

"We need the decision-makers in the BC NDP to recognize that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can either meet your climate targets, or you can build an LNG industry. Take your pick," Weaver told BIV.

Just three days after their private call, Horgan had a different take.

“I don’t mean to diminish Andrew’s role as a stakeholder, that’s not meant in a pejorative way. But there are lots of people with lots of ideas on climate action," said Horgan.

"We've been consistent," he added. "The other side of the coin however is that I have a larger responsibility to look at opportunities for economic development, of job creation and investment in British Columbia."

Earlier this week, when it emerged that Horgan had met with B.C.-based LNG industry leaders prior to his trip, and that he planned to continue those conversations in Asia, Weaver challenged that he would push the NDP to a vote of non-confidence if the party chose to pursue additional LNG projects in B.C.

"Lest there be any doubt, let me be perfectly clear: NDP government will fall in non confidence if after all that has happened it continues to pursue LNG folly," tweeted Weaver, adding the hashtag #lineinthesand.

Horgan addressed those tweets Friday.

“I’m under no illusion Mr. Weaver’s very passionate about this, and as you know we can take it 140 characters at a time and more so," the premier said, adding that he will be meeting with Weaver upon his return, and elaborating on the four key pillars of the NDP's LNG strategy. These include ensuring LNG projects provide a return to B.C., that British Columbians are put to work, that Indigenous communities are partners and that climate objectives are met.

On Friday, Weaver told BIV that he expects to see the NDP come up with a strategy to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets. He reaffirmed that he believes such a strategy cannot support additional LNG facilities in the province.

"There are some things that are non-negotiable.”

— Business in Vancouver