B.C. throne speech promises new measures for LNG Canada

B.C. Premier John Horgan. Image: Province of British Columbia

Measures to help build the $40-billion LNG Canada project will be introduced this spring, the B.C. government announced on Thursday.

Northern B.C. and rural communities saw little mention in the government's latest throne speech, read Tuesday afternoon by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin. However, the province dedicated five paragraphs to the liquefied natural gas industry and the LNG Canada project. Here's what was said:

"Last year, this government was proud to announce the largest private-sector investment in Canadian history.

Enabled by government’s new financial framework, LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas project will create 10,000 construction jobs and 950 permanent jobs for B.C. The project will generate $23 billion in government revenue that will be reinvested in the schools, roads, hospitals, housing and services that families depend on.

This project can proceed because government’s four conditions were met: a fair rate of return for our natural resources; job opportunities and training for people in B.C.; meaningful partnerships with First Nations; and, critically, the project fits within government’s CleanBC plan.

The benefits of this investment will require your government’s full commitment for many years. A continued focus on reconciliation with First Nations, particularly those on whose territory the project will be built, is critical to success.

This spring, your government will bring forward measures to bring this historic project to fruition."

The throne speech also promised new legislation that would implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The legislation is being developed with the First Nations Leadership Council and other Indigenous organizations, according to the speech.

Earlier this month, the province said it was starting a new "reconciliation process" with a group of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposed to the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline — a key component of the LNG Canada project.

Despite unanimous support for the project among elected First Nation councils, a few hereditary chiefs blockaded roads in January to prevent pipeline workers from doing their work, resulting in 14 arrests.

The province's 2019 budget will be announced next week.

— Alaska Highway News