2014 Legislative Session: Third Session, 40th Parliament

The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.

The printed version remains the official version.

official report of

Debates of the Legislative Assembly


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Afternoon Sitting

Volume 16, Number 1

ISSN 0709-1281 (Print)
ISSN 1499-2175 (Online)


Routine Business



Shootings at Parliament Buildings and War Memorial in Ottawa

Hon. C. Clark

J. Horgan

Madame Speaker (Hon. L. Reid)

Introductions by Members


Statements (Standing Order 25B)


Women in politics

J. Tegart

Small business

N. Simons

Domestic violence awareness

D. Plecas

Cultural diversity and Hindu festivals in Surrey

S. Hammell

Eagle Ridge Hospital

L. Reimer

Protection of Whaletown Commons on Cortes Island

C. Trevena

Oral Questions


LNG development conditions and comments by Premier

J. Horgan

Hon. C. Clark

LNG development and job creation

J. Horgan

Hon. C. Clark

B. Ralston

LNG development and reduction of public debt

M. Elmore

Hon. C. Clark

Funding for aboriginal child welfare programs and First Nations consent to natural gas pipelines

D. Donaldson

Hon. C. Clark

Income assistance policy on child support payments

M. Mungall

Hon. D. McRae

J. Kwan

S. Simpson

Point of Privilege (Reservation of Right)


L. Popham

Orders of the Day

Second Reading of Bills


Bill 2 — Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act

Hon. M. Polak

S. Chandra Herbert

D. Barnett

A. Weaver

On the amendment

A. Weaver

Hon. M. Polak

C. Trevena

N. Macdonald

V. Huntington

L. Krog

On the main motion

M. Morris

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The House met at 1:35 p.m.

[Madame Speaker in the chair.]

Routine Business




Hon. C. Clark: Madame Speaker, I rise to make a statement.

Like everyone in Canada today, I am deeply, deeply affected, saddened and shocked by the events that have unfolded in our nation’s capital. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of the victims and those affected in our national parliament, in the city of Ottawa and across the country.

But we should rest assured that none of us are unaffected by this. No one in law enforcement, in particular, is unaffected. We should remember today how much gratitude we owe to law enforcement in this country, who stand and work so hard to keep us safe all the time, every day, most often without thanks, willingly putting themselves in harm’s way as some have already done today.

We are deeply grateful to them, and we are deeply grateful, as well, for the institutions like our parliament and for all of the leaders that decide to seek public office in this country, who take the risk that it is to lead, the risk that it is to make decisions, because making decisions is hard.

Our institutions are something that we treasure deeply and that we are all called on to protect. Out of these tragedies today, we must all remember, first, to be grateful for those who work for us every day to keep us safe; second, to be grateful for the institutions we have built that have made Canada a model of democracy around the world; and third, to move forward into the future and continue to make the decisions that Canada needs unafraid — unafraid to do what we need to do to stand up for this country, to ensure that citizens in Canada continue to have access to their public institutions, unafraid to defend democracy and the institutions that have defined Canada for generations.

Madame Speaker, today I stand before you deeply saddened by what’s happened. I hope that all Canadians know that here in British Columbia we stand with them. This has happened in a place that is geographically far away but somewhere that we all deeply hold in our hearts as Canadians.

Our sympathies go to the families of the victims. Our thanks go to those who protect us, and our vigilance remains strong to protect these institutions that mean so very, very much to all of us.

Madame Speaker, I’d like, on behalf of all the members today — once the Leader of the Opposition has had a moment to express his thoughts, as well, and perhaps yourself if you choose — to ask members of this House to join us all in a moment of silence to remember, to reflect and to think about the things that are so deeply important to all of us as we send our best wishes to all those who’ve been affected, which is every single Canadian today whether they live inside this country or out of it.

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Madame Speaker: Thank you, Madam Premier.

Leader of the Opposition.

J. Horgan: I thank the Premier for her words today on what can only be described as a tragic day in Canadian history. I think back to the shootings at the Quebec National Assembly not that long ago and the loss of innocence at that time for our nation. To have it repeated so recently as this morning brings home to all of us who are fortunate enough to be sent here by citizens across this province the privilege it is to be here and the grateful gratitude, of course, that we have for the Sergeant-at-Arms and his staff, who come here every day with the risk and threat, perhaps, of an occurrence just as happened in Ottawa happening here in Victoria.

No one wants to think that. No one wants to even imagine that, but it’s a possibility. They come here every day, and I’m grateful. I know every member of this House is grateful for the work that Gary and his staff do each and every day.

But as we reflect upon the loss of life today and the loss of innocence for our country, I think we also have to recognize that our democratic institutions must — must — be open and accessible to the people who send us here.

As important as security measures will be over the next number of hours and days and weeks, not just here and in Ottawa but in every Legislature in this country, we have to always keep in the forefront of our mind, in the forefront of the decisions that we make around security, that this institution belongs to the people of British Columbia — not to the 85 of us but to everyone who lives in this province. They need to have access to those institutions if we are going to continue to be defiant in the face of the insanity that happened today in Ottawa.

Of course, we don’t want to speculate on motives. That would be foolish in the extreme. But it’s difficult, as we all reflect….

The Premier and I spoke this morning about what we should do, and we both agreed. In fact, the Premier said, “Of course, we’ll carry on,” and I agreed with her.

We need to be here today conducting the business of the people of British Columbia. We need to be here today for the families in Ottawa. We need to be here today to demonstrate that we will not be bowed by terror or in-
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sanity. We need to be here today for the people of British Columbia and for, most importantly, the staff that put themselves on the line each and every day.

I have been to the cenotaph in Ottawa for Remembrance Day. I worked on Parliament Hill. I have friends that still work on Parliament Hill. I know each corner of that building and each corner of the precincts of the House of Commons.

I recall over my time there that security continued to increase whenever there was an incident of any kind. I remember as a young man thinking: “Oh, that’s ridiculous. They’re overreacting.”

Here we are now, 25 years after I first walked into the House of Commons, and I am absolutely in sync with the Government Leader, the Premier. I’m in sync with every member of this House when I say — and stand before you, hon. Speaker — that if we need to increase our security, we will do that. But we must always remember that this is the House of the people, and the people must have access to it. We need to make that as seamless as possible. Thank you very much.

Madame Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Leader.

Hon. Members, today’s horrendous events at the National War Memorial and our federal Parliament Buildings in Ottawa reinforce the importance of safety.

I would like to let everyone know that due diligence has been and is being taken to make sure this parliament is safe for all those who work here and for all who visit.

Entrenched into one of this great institution’s stained-glass windows is the phrase from Sir Francis Bacon, the 16th- and 17th-century English parliamentarian and statesman. The phrase is: “The virtue of adversity is fortitude.”

Today our country faced adversity, and as Canadians do, we are overcoming this adversity through courage, determination and strength. Fortitude defines British Columbians and Canadians, and this is reflected in our democratic institutions like this Legislature.

This is British Columbia’s parliament. It is the people’s parliament, and it will be open to serve the people.

Please join us in pausing and reflecting in silence to honour the fallen Canadian Armed Forces member and the injured from today’s events.

[The House observed a moment of silence.]

Madame Speaker: Thank you, hon. members.

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Introductions by Members

B. Routley: I’m delighted to have with us today brother John Middleton. John has an amazing history. He did spend time in the Canadian military in the reserves as an engineer. He’s got two university degrees. He spent most of his career and life in construction, as both a carpenter and welder, helping to build British Columbia in places like the Crofton pulp mill, both on land and under the sea, because he spent ten years underwater doing construction.

As well, he was a strong union job steward for many of those years. I knew John when we were younger folks together. He was also a volunteer fireman and involved in local politics in the Cobble Hill area as an area director.

I would ask that the House please join me in recognizing and acknowledging all of his efforts on behalf of his community and welcoming him to the Legislature.

Welcome, John.

Hon. C. Oakes: It truly is my privilege and I’m incredibly proud today to introduce members of the Nazko First Nations: Chief Shawn Patrick, Councillor Stuart Alec, Bernice Cremo, Douglas Cremo, Marilyn Clement, Wesley Boyd, Victoria Dodd, Don Clement and Bram Rogachevsky.

I am extremely proud, also, to introduce Riley Clement. Riley is 11 years old and is a grade 7 future leader in the Nazko community and British Columbia in general. Last month Riley attended a community meeting on treaty negotiations, and at the end of the meeting Riley submitted his notes, which were extremely thorough, clear and thoughtful, and demonstrated an interest and an understanding of the issues.

In recognition of his effort, Riley was asked to accompany Nazko representatives to Victoria and to participate in meetings here in this House. Riley — when I asked what he wants to do when he grows up — would like to be a professional hockey player. We talked about Jordin Tootoo’s new book, All the Way.

But perhaps, Riley, you will also consider one day taking a leadership role. As British Columbians, as Canadians, we need young people like you.

I would kindly ask that the House please welcome these representatives from Cariboo North.

M. Karagianis: Today in the gallery we have a constituent of mine, a retired paramedic, Deborah Price. Deborah was a proud member of the B.C. Ambulance Service for 27 years. She now owns her own portrait photography business in my community.

I’d like the House to make her very, very welcome. I’d like to give a little wave to the person sitting next to her, who didn’t want to be named or mentioned, so I’m just giving him a little wave. But please make them both very welcome.

Hon. S. Bond: I am very pleased to introduce two groups of visitors to the Legislature today. The first one is Mr. Brad Waghorn. He resides in Prince George. He is a passionate advocate for eye safety in the province. He presented to a number of us today from both sides of the House, and I do appreciate the attendance that was there. Brad shared a little bit about the importance of preven-
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tion and making sure that all of us are role models when it comes to protecting and valuing our eye safety. Please join us in welcoming Brad Waghorn from Prince George.

Secondly, I know that our hearts and minds are in other places today, but it is National Bioenergy Day today. As a result, we’re joined by a very significant group representing the B.C. Bioenergy Network today. We have Michael Weedon, the executive director; Darren Frew; Marnie Plant; Dr. Scott Stanners.

Joining the Bioenergy Network today are Dr. Ranjana Bird, who is the vice-president of research at UNBC; Jerry Ericsson, president of Diacarbon Energy; Brad Bennett, vice-president of operations at Pacific BioEnergy; and Dr. Bryan Imber, who is the president of International Composting Corporation.

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Please, could we make these guests most welcome.

D. Eby: I rise to take the opportunity to welcome to this House for the first time my legislative assistant, Elena Banfield, who is here. She just joined our team recently. As all the members of this House know, legislative assistants make us look good all the time, and she’s doing a wonderful job. I just wanted to welcome her in to watch question period today.

Hon. D. McRae: Two outstanding citizens from the Comox Valley are here today. Joining us are Beverley and Erik Eriksson. Now, Erik has served on numerous Comox Valley boards, be they economic, philanthropic, athletic or cultural. He’s worked so hard to make our community a better place. It is also his birthday today. Would the House please welcome Erik and Beverley to this chamber, and would they also wish Erik a happy birthday.

I cannot let Eric’s birthday pass without wishing my wife, Deanne McRae, a happy birthday today.

Deanne, I’m not there with you today, but honey, I love you. I’ll try to buy you something really nice this weekend. Happy birthday, honey.

M. Mungall: I have a few people I’d like to introduce the House to today. First, we have Roy McMurter and Susan Bowers, who are joining us. They are residents here in Victoria.

Joining Elena, our newest legislative assistant, is her mom. She brought her mom to work today and will be watching question period. Judy Banfield is a well-respected, well-admired woman in Nelson, and I’m very proud to say she’s a constituent of mine.

G. Heyman: I’d like to join my colleague from Vancouver–Point Grey in also welcoming my legislative assistant, Elena Banfield, who’s also new to Victoria. She has brought to us a history of doing strong work in the community with women and has demonstrated that background already in one short week, in helping me immensely with some research.


S. Robinson: I, too, would like to welcome Elena Banfield and her mother, Judy. Elena is my legislative assistant as well. I want to offer bruchim ha-baim, which is Hebrew for “a blessed welcome,” to the House of the people.

(Standing Order 25B)


J. Tegart: Our province has a proud history of women in politics. One hundred women have been elected to this Legislature — thanks to trail-blazers starting with Mary Ellen Smith, the first woman to sit in this chamber, to today with the three most senior positions in B.C. being women. More women were elected in this current session than ever before. However, given they are half of the world’s population, women are disproportionately represented in governance. More progress needs to be done.

Thanks to the support of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians work to support gender equality — excuse me; it’s a very interesting day — along with increased women’s participation in legislatures across the world.

The CWP, Canadian region, composed of women parliamentarians from provincial, territorial and federal parliaments, conduct outreach programs to educate, connect, empower and engage women. These are wonderful, gifted legislators across the country who serve as role models to a countless number of women considering entering public life.

The operations and representations of the CWP internationally are overseen by a chair, which was assumed by Madame Speaker, chosen by her peers to take on this prestigious role.

Therefore, as we celebrate Women’s History Month this October, I’d like to recognize the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians on their continued efforts on furthering gender equality and women’s representation in our legislatures.

I believe that Madame Speaker is up to the challenge. I, along with the rest of the members of this House, wish you the best of luck.

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N. Simons: We all know that small businesses are the fuel in the engine of our economy. We know that B.C. has more small businesses per capita than any other province. We know that they account for the majority of private sector jobs and that we have 83 of them for every 1,000
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people in this province. Maybe that part you didn’t know, but it was on the government website.

Whatever the number, it’s also true that most of us in this chamber are immediately or, at most, one or two degrees of separation from someone who runs or works in a small business. Chances are that each and every one of us has purchased goods or services from one in the last week.

I’m talking about this issue because it’s Small Business Month. And as my friend and colleague from Boundary-Similkameen said earlier this week, I’d like to echo her words and to inform the House of an initiative being sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one of the umbrella organizations that represent many small businesses.

In an effort to raise the profile and encourage public support of these small businesses, they’re asking that we all mark this coming Saturday as Small Business Saturday by going to a favourite small business and tweeting a selfie or a picture of the business to #myfavesmallbiz — spelling in Hansard later.

This Saturday’s public awareness campaign reflects the CFIB’s ongoing efforts to remind the government of the importance of ensuring that our communities are fertile ground for businesses to flourish by ensuring that regulations and taxation levels are kept in balance with the need to protect workers, the environment and larger community interests.

Small businesses thrive when certain factors which are influenced by provincial government policies are present. They need an educated workforce, safe neighbourhoods and good and affordable transportation — like roads, airports and ferries. They need affordable energy costs as well as communication tools that are reliable and predictable. Of course, they benefit when people have incomes in order to purchase their goods and services.

We can all celebrate Small Business Month and, this Saturday, Small Business Saturday.


D. Plecas: As was so well articulated by our Premier this morning and the Leader of the Official Opposition, we all need to be attentive to violence in our society and the tragedy that goes with that violence. We also could be reminded by the events of today how quickly our lives can be changed by violence.

We certainly don’t want to take anything away from that tragedy today. We should always have that in mind. But perhaps because this is October, and October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s something that we can also be attentive to because it is such a common form of violence.

In cities around the world they are being attentive to our need to be aware of domestic violence in our society and to increase awareness about domestic violence and especially its impact on children and women, the most common victims of domestic violence.

The good people of Abbotsford have banded together under the Purple Light Nights campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to do three main things. It’s to remember the victims who lost their lives through domestic violence, to support survivors of domestic violence and to provide support for those who continue to suffer the abuse of domestic violence.

Purple is the colour used internationally to symbolize domestic violence awareness. A campaign adopted three years ago by the Abbotsford-Mission Violence Against Women in Relationships Committee — otherwise known as the VAWIR Committee — is a campaign that has been gaining momentum.

This year the Abbotsford police department, partnering with the B.C. Lions, have encouraged citizens and businesses to display a purple light outside their homes and businesses. They’re joined in this by the Downtown Abbotsford Business Association.

The message is quite clear. Domestic violence has no place in our society. It has no place in Abbotsford or anywhere else in the province.


S. Hammell: Few constituencies share the depth of diversity we celebrate in Surrey–Green Timbers. This is clearly demonstrated on 140th Street, where you see a mandir, a gurdwara and a church all but 50 feet apart from each other. As a result, at any given time there’s a celebration or festival keeping my constituency vibrant and lively.

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Friday, October 3, marked one of the most important Hindu celebrations, Vijayadashami, a symbolic celebration of good triumphing over evil. There are many, many mythological legends representing the symbolic righteousness over evil, and one of the most popular is the Ramayana, a Hindu legend describing the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, the antagonist of the plot.

In a vengeful pursuit, Ravana kidnaps Lord Rama’s wife, Sita, and imprisons her in his island fortress of Lanka. In an epic battle Lord Rama saves his wife and defeats Ravana. As part of the Vijayadashami tradition, a statue of Ravana is burnt in effigy to mark the victory of good over evil. At our mandir the wooden statue was over 20 feet high — and quite an amazing sight to see go up in flames.

Tomorrow we celebrate Diwali, another important festival for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. This is a beautiful festival of light, which also represents some of the symbolic messages of Vijayadashami as thousands of observers rejoice on this occasion. I would also like to wish you all a happy Diwali.
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L. Reimer: Good afternoon. I’m pleased to stand before you today in this House and speak about a wonderful institution in my riding that is celebrating a great milestone, their 30th birthday. It is Eagle Ridge Hospital.

Eagle Ridge is more than just a facility. It’s a tribute to the dedication of the staff, the physicians and the volunteers who work there, those who have been there since the beginning and those who’ve helped to make this hospital what it is today.

Families today, unfortunately, from time to time find it necessary to visit their community hospital. My family has visited it twice. We received wonderful care there from doctors, nurses and support staff. I would like to take a moment to especially thank the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation and the auxiliary volunteers. Both groups play an integral role in making sure that Eagle Ridge Hospital is able to provide a wide range of services.

The foundation strives to provide hospital staff with the best medical equipment, programs and facilities to better serve the Tri-Cities community and also serves as a vessel to promote the professional development of Eagle Ridge Hospital staff by awarding educational scholarships and research grants. The auxiliary volunteers take care of our most important priority, the patients. The work they do in order to ensure that the patients lounges and the patients comfort fund are taken care of is very much appreciated.

Will the House please join me in celebrating this significant milestone and also to take the opportunity to say thank you to past and present staff, physicians, volunteers, donors and government and community partners that have helped to make this hospital a cherished community asset.

Happy birthday, Eagle Ridge Hospital.


C. Trevena: This weekend there’s going to be a celebration on Cortes Island that some thought may never happen.

Whaletown Commons, a 70-acre green space in the centre of the community of Whaletown, has been acquired by the Strathcona regional district as a protected place for the island. The Cortes Island official community plan has long identified the area of Whaletown Commons as a place to be saved. It’s taken years to negotiate with the forest industry owners for it to come into the hands of the community.

The lands now protected were latterly owned by Island Timberlands, the private arm of Western Forest Products. They’ve engaged in discussions for five years, finally settling on the significant price tag of $839,000. But for 20 years people in Whaletown have been trying to keep that land safe — “20 years of perseverance and community spirit,” as regional director Noba Anderson described it. And fundraising. The Whaletown Commons Society managed to put together $60,000, which it contributed.

Whaletown received the support from the regional district because there are no provincial or regional district parks within the community and because — no matter the image of Cortes as a rural Eden — like much of coastal B.C. it does have a healthy forest industry and a vibrant community forest. Three successive regional directors have worked on the negotiations and have had extraordinary support.

In the Whaletown Commons there’s Burnside Creek, which runs through the northern part of it, a salmon-bearing stream. There are high fish and forestry values, and it’s a natural habitat for wolves and other wildlife. It’s a wonderful space, and it was well worth working hard to save it.

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Saturday afternoon sees the official handover of Whaletown Commons. It’s going to be an opportunity to explore the trails, to meet those who’ve worked so hard to keep this in its natural state and to thank those who made the commitment to hand the land over. It will be a great opportunity to feel the spirit of Cortes, its people and the environment, and I hope to invite anybody who happens to be in the Discovery Islands this Saturday to come over to Cortes and see Whaletown Commons for themselves.

Oral Questions


J. Horgan: Over the past two days the Premier’s many election promises with respect to LNG have been shown for what they truly were: absolutely meaningless. We have a reduction in revenue projections cut completely in half. We have GHG commitments that don’t take into consideration upstream emissions. We have no reference whatsoever to the 100,000 new jobs that were supposed to be created by the LNG boom.

But just two weeks ago the Premier in this House listed five new conditions for LNG. I didn’t know we had any. I went looking for a press release. I went looking for a speech. I had never seen, in all of the time that the Premier has been talking about LNG, which is almost on a daily basis, a reference to the five new conditions until October 8.

What was not listed in those five conditions? Only three of them were articulated that day, but apparently there are five. I’m hopeful that in No. 4 and No. 5 we will hear a commitment to British Columbians getting jobs first and not temporary foreign workers.
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Hon. C. Clark: You know, of course the NDP stands up again and looks into their crystal ball and offers more predictions about what they think is going to happen. I just want to take a moment to talk about the other predictions that this Leader of the Opposition has made.

First of all, he predicted we couldn’t balance the budget. We did. He said we couldn’t balance a second budget. We have. He said we couldn’t negotiate a teachers agreement, and we did that too. Then, of course, No. 4 and the mother of all wrong predictions, the Leader of the Opposition also predicted we would not win the last election, which we also did.

So we have a Leader of the Opposition that has been wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. On this side of the House we will create a prosperity fund. We will use that prosperity fund to pay off the debt for British Columbians. We will make sure we create an LNG industry that is going to be the primary source of that wealth to pay off the debt, and we will do it because the fifth condition is this: there must be significant economic benefit for the people of British Columbia.

J. Horgan: I think the people of B.C. deserve a little bit better than more hyperbolic language from the Premier. All the Premier has wanted to talk about for as long as I can remember is liquefied natural gas and the fairy tales that go along with it. But my concern, and I think the concerns of members on this side of the House and most British Columbians, is that if you say something, you should actually do it. If you make a commitment to the people of British Columbia, you should follow through with it.

Now, the Premier has said, as recently as in the lead-up to the last election: “Well, it’s an election, and we say things that we don’t really mean.” But the Minister of Finance, who sits to the right of the Premier — the right from her side — said in February in his budget that the tax for LNG would be 7 percent. Then we went hard — “We negotiated hard,” said the Premier — and now it’s 3½ percent.


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Madame Speaker: Members. Members will come to order. Members will come to order.

Please continue.

J. Horgan: The minister responsible for gas certainly has lots of it today.

My question is to the Premier. You made a commitment to 100,000 jobs, and then you cut a deal for more temporary foreign workers. You said that there would be greenhouse gas emission targets that would be met, legislated in this province, and you’re not counting upstream emissions.

To the Premier: you had five conditions. You haven’t articulated them. Here’s an opportunity. Why don’t you stand in this place and tell us what those five conditions actually are? I’m counting. I’ll put a thumb up each time you get one.

Hon. C. Clark: It’s only now that the Leader of the Opposition has finally told us where he thinks the source of the gas is that I finally understand why he wants a moratorium on extracting it.

Here we have the NDP who say that LNG is a pipedream, but then they say: “Oh, it’s a pipedream, but it’s going to be an environmental pariah.” Then they say it will poison our planet, but they don’t think it will happen. Then they say they’d like to export it, but they don’t want to get it out of the ground.

Clarity in this House exists on just this side of the House, where we have been absolutely clear. We support extracting natural gas. We support transporting natural gas. We support the processing of natural gas so we can put it on ships and send it to Asia. We support the export of natural gas.

We support all of those elements so that we can create thousands and thousands of jobs in British Columbia, so that we can ensure that our province has the revenue that it needs to pay off our debt.

So 100,000 new jobs, a debt that is paid off for our kids — we are clear about that, unlike the Leader of the Opposition.

Madame Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition on a supplemental.


J. Horgan: I didn’t hear the five conditions there again. I’m reminded of the briefing that the Finance Minister gave yesterday that we had to come back to reality. I guess the Premier missed the memo on that, because we’re not going to achieve a debt-free status by 2025, as she promised in the election campaign. It’s not going to happen.

You have to stop increasing the debt before you can start reducing it. During this Premier’s watch the debt has gone up faster than at any time in B.C.’s history. You can’t say one thing and then do another, but that’s the modus operandi for the Premier. She seems to know what to say, and she even sounds sincere when she says it, but it just doesn’t add up.

Again, my question is…. You make a commitment to leading the country in jobs; we’re ninth in the country. You make a commitment to 100,000 jobs in British Columbia, and then you sign an agreement to bring in more temporary foreign workers. What is it, Madam Premier? Are you creating jobs for British Columbians or foreign nationals?
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Hon. C. Clark: On this side of the House we have a clear plan. We have a clear ten-year skills-training plan and Find Your Fit to make sure that young people have the opportunity to take on the new jobs that will be created in the LNG business. We’ve set out all of the conditions that are required to make sure that the LNG industry can really thrive in British Columbia.

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We have supported all of this development all along the way, unlike the Leader of the Opposition. He says he won’t rule out a moratorium on fracking. Let’s look at what some of the rest of his members say. The member for Vancouver-Fairview says: “I think we need to stop fracking.” The member for Saanich South says: “We are facing risks of mass extinction from the very gas that the B.C. government wants to extract and sell as quickly as possible.”

If you want clarity, look no further than what these members say, which is that they do not support a natural gas industry in British Columbia. They don’t support exporting our natural gas from British Columbia. They don’t support creating those jobs. They don’t support creating the revenue it’s going to take to pay off our debt, and they don’t support economic growth. The difference between them and us? They believe in no; we believe in yes.

B. Ralston: On a recent visit to India the Premier spoke to the Economic Times, a New Delhi publication, about the importance of training workers for the LNG industry. She said: “India needs a million skilled workers a year, every year, for the next 15 years. We can help. If we can help train 3,000 of them and 300 of them help us build an LNG industry, it’s good for you, and it’s good for us.”

Can the Premier explain how training 300 Indian workers in India will help her fulfil her promise to create 100,000 jobs here in British Columbia?

Hon. C. Clark: The reality in India is not that there will be a million new workers every year. There will be a million new workers every month entering the workforce for the next 15 years — an absolutely astonishing growth in that country.

There are two things that India will need in order to make that work for them rather than against them. One of them is energy, and we’ve got lots of it. The other is education, and we’ve got lots of that — the highest quality you can find anywhere around the world.

What we did when we were in India with the Minister of Advanced Education is sign numerous agreements for partnerships with post-secondary institutions to ensure that we are working together with Indians to ensure that we transfer Indian knowledge to Canada and Canadian knowledge to India.

There is absolutely no question that our natural gas industry is going to mean that British Columbians are first in line for jobs. But there is also no secret of the fact that at peaks in production there will be some temporary foreign workers who are required. I am at a loss to explain the hostility that the NDP consistently shows to people who want to come to our shores to work, so many of whom may take the opportunity to stay.

I would ask that member to examine his own history. He may be here because his parents decided to come to these shores and help build this country — his grandparents, his great-grandparents. I would hazard a guess that that is true of every member on the other side of the House. I don’t understand their hostility towards this. These are people who helped build Canada.

Madame Speaker: Recognizing Surrey-Whalley on a supplemental.

B. Ralston: Clearly, the Premier is confusing the temporary foreign worker program with programs of immigration that lead to citizenship here in Canada.

A review of documents the government has produced on LNG — there are many, of course — shows that the Premier has only ever identified three priorities for LNG development, the first of which is keeping B.C. competitive in the global LNG market.

Can the Premier tell the House if signing agreements with China for more temporary foreign workers or training workers in India for LNG construction is part of her plan for keeping the British Columbia economy competitive?

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Hon. C. Clark: I find the line of questioning from the member opposite deeply, deeply troubling. This country was built by people who came from every corner of the earth to put their shoulders together and decide to build a country. There are members across the way who either were immigrants or who are the children of immigrants.

The member is not ignorant of this fact, I’m sure. Of temporary foreign workers that went to Saskatchewan and Manitoba, at least 50 percent of them have ended up already on the track to become citizens. It is a track to become a citizen of British Columbia. It is a track on which people can get to join us in continuing to build this great country.

We should never forget who it was that founded Canada. It was, if you’re not First Nations, people from all over the globe. We should continue to welcome people from all over the world. Frankly, I find the line of questioning that the member has undertaken profoundly troubling and not worthy of this House.


M. Elmore: In 2013 Premier Christy Clark said her LNG plan will eliminate…
[ Page 4818 ]

Madame Speaker: Member, you do not reference members by their names.

M. Elmore: Sorry. The Premier.

…government debt — including B.C. Hydro, Ferries and Port Mann Bridge debt — by 2028. In fact, she has presided over the fastest-growing and largest government debt in B.C. history. All of these debts are expected to reach at least $69.4 billion by 2017.

Before we can eliminate debt, it must stop growing. To the Premier: on what date will B.C.’s debt stop growing?

Hon. C. Clark: I remember during the election campaign that members opposite — this one probably included — said that we couldn’t balance our budget. We did that. We did it twice. They said that our triple-A credit rating would be imperiled. We’ve protected that. We’ve done that year after year. All of their predictions about these things have turned out to be entirely wrong.

We will build an LNG industry in British Columbia. We will make sure that British Columbians are first in line for those jobs. We will make sure that we take the revenues from that, put it in the prosperity fund and use that fund to pay down British Columbia’s debt.

Our plan is something that we have continued to make happen day after day, month after month, in the time since the election. Everything that they said wouldn’t happen already has, and everything they say won’t happen will certainly happen in the future.


D. Donaldson: In recent negotiations the B.C. Liberal government linked funding for existing aboriginal welfare programs with approval for natural gas pipelines on First Nations traditional territories. In a written document presented to the Wet’suwet’en titled “B.C.’s Offer With Respect to Proposed Natural Gas Pipelines,” right up front, under “What B.C. Has Done So Far,” child welfare funding is highlighted.

To the Premier: why are the B.C. Liberals using vulnerable children as bargaining chips in a desperate attempt to get this First Nation’s consent for natural gas pipelines?

Hon. C. Clark: I’d like to thank the member. I am always delighted to be able to get up in question period, particularly on my favourite topic, liquefied natural gas, which is going to ensure the future of British Columbia.

I would point out to the member this. We have been working very hard with First Nations and communities all across British Columbia to ensure that they are a part, that they are full beneficiaries, of this natural gas opportunity for our province. This is a generational opportunity to ensure that First Nations have the resources that they need to lead and change the kinds of communities that they really, really want to create for the future. We have a chance to be a part of that.

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I would advise the member and his caucus to please stop standing in the way of the creation of a liquefied natural gas industry. Stop standing up and demanding a moratorium on the extraction of it. Stop standing up and making sure that they do everything that they can to make this reality evaporate for British Columbians.

We are going to do everything we can to make it happen. We are going do everything we can to make sure that those benefits flow to British Columbians — including First Nations, who so richly deserve them.

Madame Speaker: The member for Stikine on a supplemental.

D. Donaldson: Well, that’s a totally facile response. The proof is in the presentation your government made to the Wet’suwet’en, “B.C.’s Offer With Respect to Proposed Natural Gas Pipelines,” “What B.C. Has Done So Far.” Child welfare funding. How does this government expect to build reconciliation and strengthen relationships with First Nations when it links existing funding for vulnerable children with buy-in for LNG development?

Hon. C. Clark: I was very privileged to chair and bring together an historic meeting of First Nations chiefs from all across the province with the entire cabinet and all of the deputy ministers. Over 400 First Nations leaders attended that meeting. At that meeting we talked about the economic opportunities that existed for First Nations — not for us to help First Nations but for First Nations to step up as a full partner in economic growth to ensure that the future of their communities was just as brightly assured as the future of children in other communities all across the province.

The potential for liquefied natural gas in many regions across the province presents the brightest opportunity for economic growth that many of those First Nations have seen in over 100 years. We are going to continue to work with them so that the benefits of LNG can work for them and so that they have the chance to create the kinds of communities that their children so richly deserve to live in.


M. Mungall: Roy McMurter puts at least $500 aside for his two children every month. That’s his child support payment. He also puts an extra $250 aside every month because he knows his kids are living in poverty with their mother. But as everybody in this House knows, the government then claws that money back every single month
[ Page 4819 ]
because his children’s mother receives disability.

Mr. McMurter wants the Premier to tell him why his children are being punished when he does the right thing.

Hon. D. McRae: I’ve stood in this House and addressed this issue before. I think it’s been well documented that income assistance is a payment of last resort. We want opportunities for our children and for our families to make sure they have a great life. That’s one of the important reasons why we know that British Columbians need jobs.

Now, that being said, there is a segment of our population that is vulnerable, and I’m very pleased to say that we have over 70 programs that we use to support these individuals. That being said, the work is never done. We continue to evolve the income assistance programs to make sure we better serve individuals who are vulnerable, and that work will continue.

Madame Speaker: The member for Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

M. Mungall: Roy McMurter is here today. He wants to hear an answer from the Premier to his question. The minister in the past, as well as the Premier in the past, has repeatedly said that they won’t be ending the clawback because they can’t afford it. Rather, this government has promised just more talk when it comes to ending the clawback. Mr. McMurter wants his money to go to his children. That’s what the money is for.

How can the Premier keep saying that her government can’t afford to give B.C.’s poorest kids their money back?

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Hon. D. McRae: There are challenges, and I don’t want to diminish those whatsoever. That being said, one of the opportunities in a big way in this province is to make sure we create jobs and grow the economy. I’d like the members opposite to stand up and support situations like liquefied natural gas so we can make sure we continue to invest in health care and education. And yes, we invest in social services.

That being said, I continue to look at opportunities for reform and policies that will benefit vulnerable British Columbians. The work is never done. In June of 2014 at the Accessibility Summit we committed to having a consultation. That work will go forward. We want to hear from British Columbians. We committed to doing it. The work for this province and vulnerable British Columbians…. We will continue to work to serve them as best as we can.

J. Kwan: Look, it’s been 12 years since this Liberal government clawed back family maintenance for people on income assistance and on disability. The government couldn’t actually rescind that policy when the economy was performing, and now they say we still have to wait. The fact of the matter is that Mr. McMurter cannot wait anymore. He wants his children to get out of living in poverty.

Will the minister just get up in this House and tell Mr. McMurter that he can get those family maintenance dollars for his children today?

Hon. D. McRae: I’m proud of the work that has been done to date, and I’m proud of the work that will continue to get done. Policy reforms like earning exemptions and annualized earning exemptions are just one example of how this province continues to make sure that vulnerable British Columbians have some more resources.

I think it’s a tad rich that the member opposite characterizes this as a 12-year program. I’d like to read a little quote to the member.

“If an individual were able to keep additional money, the fact that it would cost to the province is certainly a consideration of Treasury Board. The pressure that we have on the system right now” — this is all in reference to family maintenance — “that’s one thing that people don’t consider generally. They feel that money is free to the system, but it is not. It is a direct cost to the taxpayers.”

Now, that was not said by a Social Credit cabinet minister. It wasn’t said by a B.C. Liberal cabinet minister. It was said by a New Democratic cabinet minister, a lady by the name of the hon. J. Smallwood, in the 1990s. It is a challenge, because we all know there is more we can do. We will continue to evolve these programs. The work is never done, and I’ll work tirelessly to do my best for the province of British Columbia.

J. Kwan: Look, for the year 2013-14 this government has clawed back $18 million of child support money from children living in poverty. I hope the minister is not proud of that record.

Mr. McMurter does not have deep pockets. He doesn’t have the money to hire lobbyists to lobby the Premier for tax breaks. What he simply wants is what every parent wants: for the money that they earn to go to support their children. In this instance for Mr. McMurter, what he wants is for his child maintenance money to go to support his children.

Why is it so difficult for the government to implement that policy? I ask the minister: will he please get up in this House and just let this man know that his children will be getting his support, his financial support, so he can get the development and opportunities that we all want for our children?

Hon. D. McRae: We all want what is best for our children, vulnerable or not. That being said, the one question the member opposite was asking is: why not now? Well, I’m not going to bring in a policy that we cannot afford at this time. We’re going to continue to grow the economy. We’re going to continue to evolve the policies and the programs to support vulnerable British Columbians.
[ Page 4820 ]

We have shown great examples. Let me, to the members opposite, show some of the work that’s been done in the past. There are over 800,000 MSP premium exemptions in the province of British Columbia. We are doing work. We’ll continue to work. The work will never be done.

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S. Simpson: The minister sits here and ignores the reality of the situation. We have half a million British Columbians living in poverty, and a third of those are kids. Poor kids is poor families. You get a gentleman like Mr. McMurter who wants to help his kids who are living in poverty and who are vulnerable, and this government and this minister rip away the money that he wants to give to his kids.

How can that be okay? It’s time to remove the clawback. Will the minister commit today to remove the clawback, or will he at least tell us when he is going to do it?

Hon. D. McRae: I will commit in this House today to continue to evolve the supports for vulnerable British Columbians. Making sure the members opposite are aware: there is work that is done — whether it is supports for school supplies, opportunities for PharmaCare exemption; whether it is, for example, opportunities of federal tax credits, or child care credits to make sure that vulnerable British Columbians are getting support. I will commit in this House to make sure that we will continue to improve those resources for those vulnerable British Columbians.

[End of question period.]

Point of Privilege
(Reservation of Right)

L. Popham: I rise to reserve my right of personal privilege.

Madame Speaker: So noted.

Orders of the Day

Hon. M. de Jong: I call second reading on Bill 2.

Second Reading of Bills


Hon. M. Polak: I rise to speak to the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act. This bill will enact a performance standard for liquefied natural gas facilities and certainty for industry.

The request for legislation was reviewed and approved by the cabinet working group on liquefied natural gas on June 24, 2014. The intent of the new act is to enable a performance standard for prescribed facilities under the scope of the act, initially liquefied natural gas and coal-fired electricity generation opportunities.

For liquefied natural gas facilities, there is an emissions intensity benchmark of 0.16 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of liquefied natural gas produced. For coal-fired electricity generation, there is a benchmark of zero greenhouse gas emissions. The requirement previously, under the Environmental Management Act, to use carbon capture and storage, will be prescribed in regulations under the new act. The reporting regulation under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act will be ported over to the new act with only minor amendments.

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As such, reporting operations that emit over 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent will continue to report their emissions, and reporting operations that emit over 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent will continue to have their reported emissions verified by a third party.

Regulated operations can meet the benchmark by adopting energy-efficient technology or using clean energy to power the operation. Regulated operations can also comply with the benchmark by purchasing offsets, purchasing earned credits or purchasing funded units that invest in clean technology research and development for long-term emission reductions. A registry is used to help the government track compliance.

The standards for high-quality offsets and processes to create offsets will be prescribed by regulation. There will be a positive list of protocols issued by the director to provide certainty on how to quantify emission reductions and removals.

Earned credits may be generated where a regulated operation performs below the emissions limit applicable to that operation. The money from the funded units is collected by the Ministry of Environment to put into a technology fund or to directly fund clean technology opportunities.

These are the provisions of the bill which, if approved by the Legislature, will set a performance benchmark for liquefied natural gas facilities in B.C. to be the cleanest in the world.

Hon. Speaker, I move second reading.

[D. Horne in the chair.]

S. Chandra Herbert: Thank you, Minister, for moving the bill.

I must admit, it’s an interesting day to speak in a provincial parliament or a legislature, of course reminded of the privilege after the horrific incident up in Ottawa. Certainly, being able to stand and debate, as we do here,
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is a privilege. Not every country, of course, has that ability. The fact that I can be across from the minister and disagree, agree, offer suggestions, even arguments and still go out in the hallway, being able to have a conversation and not be afraid for my own life or my own safety is something that I feel very privileged for. It’s not something that I’ll take for granted.

I have not told the House before, but the minister and I have some history. I’m not sure if she remembers, but I certainly do. I was a young man, shortly after high school. The minister was on the school board of Surrey at the time. She and I actually had an argument in the parking lot of the Surrey school board about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. Her leadership on the school board had led to the banning of gay books and the stopping of gay-straight alliances in that jurisdiction.

We had an argument at the time, but we’re still able to be here today to have this debate in a forum of respect. People change; things move forward. Thankfully, Surrey does not follow those policies any longer. And the minister and I are able to have respectful discussions even when we have disagreements.

I just want to thank the minister, as well, for her willingness to have a briefing for me on this legislation yesterday. Even though I had a briefing, even though the bill was just introduced on Monday, I do have a lot of questions, it being Wednesday and me being told late yesterday that the bill would be up for debate today. So forgive me, hon. Speaker, as I may be repetitive at times.

I may not be as uplifting or moving as I would have wanted to be in a situation for legislation which deals with a very important topic, which is the topic that brought me into this House, the topic of climate change. It’s one of the main reasons I ran for this Legislature back in 2008. In a few short days it will mark six years since I was elected to this place. So it’s somewhat fitting, I think, that this bill and this minister are here to have this discussion.

Now, why climate change? Why greenhouse gases? Why are we talking about the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act? Well, I think it’s important for a few reasons. Of course, the minister has given a very technical speech about what the bill does.

I referred back to speeches in 2008 when the greenhouse gas cap and trade act was introduced. The minister at the time was Barry Penner.

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He spoke quite strongly about the need to act against climate change now and the huge risk it posed to our economy and our future and the huge opportunities that we could have if we took real action now, with better jobs, with an improving economy in clean technology.

I found it interesting that we had the minister speak so strongly on that at that time. This time we have much more discussion of emissions, don’t really talk about climate change that much and don’t really talk about the need for real motivation, the need for real action now. Instead, we basically had the expectations lowered.

This bill is being introduced because the Premier, before the election, argued that we would have the cleanest LNG in the world. Now, that is a nice dream. It’s a nice phrase. It’s a nice argument. But this bill does nothing of the kind.

I think it’s important that we reflect on the ever-shifting position of the B.C. Liberal government when it comes to the cleanest LNG in the world. It started with cleanest LNG in the world all in, from the extraction through processing, through the pipeline to, of course, the liquefaction and then export. That’s what it used to mean. That’s what the government used to say it meant.

But then, of course, just as we’ve seen with the amount of money that LNG is supposed to bring into the province, just as we’ve seen for the amount of jobs, just as we’ve seen for “Debt-free B.C.,” just about every promise the government has made around LNG has been redefined, retorqued and changed to mean something completely different from what they first said it meant.

I think there’s an interesting argument here that Pembina Institute made, where they argue that if we took this approach in hockey, we expect Team Canada to be the best team in the world. We don’t put that onus entirely on the goalie and then move the goalposts closer together. Best or cleanest — with an asterisk — doesn’t cut it on the ice, nor should it when we come to safeguarding a healthy environment.

The province’s LNG strategy used to read that LNG development in Canada will have lower life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than anywhere else in the world. Well, I don’t know about you, Mr. Speaker, but when I hear life cycle, I think the entire life. I don’t think just the last ten years somebody is alive. I think from birth to death.

For LNG, the appropriate thought of what that means would be from the birth of natural gas deep in the earth all the way up through the pipelines, through the processing to the liquefaction process and then for export. That is a full life cycle. There is no LNG without the NG — the natural gas. Otherwise it would be just be liquefied — blank. But unfortunately, that’s what the Premier seems to think liquefied natural gas is: liquefied — blank. There is nothing else of the natural gas involved in that.

It is unfortunate that the Premier has taken that tack. But it’s completely consistent with her belief and her disrespect for British Columbians, her belief that people don’t need to see the whole truth. I believe that you can change the meanings of words, that you can obfuscate and modify your beliefs, and hopefully, if you just say it with enough verve, vigour and smiles, people won’t understand the difference.

Frankly, I think that’s insulting. But that is what this government is expecting us to do. They expect black to mean white, green to mean brown or brown to mean
[ Page 4822 ]
green, dirty to mean clean, clean to mean clean even when it’s not.

This bill, just to be clear, of course, “requires industrial operations that emit a prescribed threshold amount of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to measure and report those emissions and requires industrial operations that are set out in the schedule to the act to ensure that their greenhouse gas emissions are below a specified emission limit.”

That’s what it says it does. You would have a lot of questions. The minister in her speech spoke a lot about regulations. Indeed, much of the bill, over 25 percent of the bill is left for the future. Somehow, down the road, the government will decide. We won’t be in the room. The public won’t be in the room. So you can modify words to mean different things. You can change meanings. You can do pretty much anything you want with the way this bill is worded.

That is not, I believe, respectful of democracy or giving us a lot of faith in the future of what this government promises, because, of course, if you could change cleanest LNG to be from the whole life cycle of liquefied natural gas, with 70 percent or so, approximately, of the greenhouse gas emissions being upstream, to now have it only focus on the L in LNG — the liquefaction process — you can do anything.

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That’s what this government indeed seems to suggest they’re going to do, because they’ve done it for years. When you look prior to the election to what they are now saying, we get our answer.

I was always taught, as a young person, to look at actions to see if somebody is following through on their word. A word is one thing, but it’s actions that make the difference. It’s: “Do you actually do what you say?” What we’ve got a lot of here is saying but not a lot of doing.

Why is it important that we actually be doing, not just saying? Why is it important that we understand and consider the full LNG — not just the “L,” but also the natural gas part, the whole life cycle, not just the last ten years of your life? It’s important because it is all of our futures. It is our children’s futures and our grandchildren’s futures. It is our province’s future, when it comes to climate change.

You’ve heard me speak in this House many times about climate change and the desperate need for action. It was one of the things that brought me into this House. It’s one of the things that I’ll keep working on, because the situation is so dire.

Now, some on the other side of the House like to accuse me and others of being glass half-empty. Well, the glass could be half-empty; it could be half-full. You could, and ought to, recognize that it can be both. You can’t pretend there’s only the bright side of life, because there is no brightness without darkness. There is no darkness without light.

Again, this government seems to believe there is only one side of the equation — refuses to recognize that when you have profit, sometimes you also have losses. When you have good days, you also sometimes have bad days. The good that could come from LNG — jobs, income into this province, and the real possibility of a boost in the northwest — also has to be weighed with the bad, which is climate change.

There are a lot of emissions that will be created from the liquefication process — but of course, including the 70 percent that is not included in this bill from the wellhead right through to the liquefication process.

Why is it important that we care about climate change? Why do I care so much about it? Well, I was introduced to it from a young age. I had an incredible teacher, an elementary school teacher who started teaching us about greenhouse gases, who started talking about this at a time when we were entering the Rio convention in 1990.

Yes, I am that young. I know that this House has aged me very quickly, has stretched the beltline a little bit and has led to a slight recision in my hairline. Is that a word? I’m not sure. But such is life. I’m still the youngest member in this House, which is, I guess, how it works.


S. Chandra Herbert: My colleague to my left, the member for Delta South, says: “Now, wait a minute.” She certainly is youthful in spirit and has a very, very energetic passion for life with a very creative mind. I really do enjoy working alongside her. She keeps me young too, because this place has a way of leading to cynicism and maybe leading to not the optimism of youth on certain days.

Deputy Speaker: Yes, yes, and I’m certain the member will come to which section of the bill is the youthful section of the LNG act.

S. Chandra Herbert: I appreciate the Speaker’s desire for me to speak about the youthfulness of this legislation. This legislation, unfortunately, hon. Speaker, seems to take an older view of the economy versus a youthful view of the economy and where we need to be going into the future. That’s what this bill seems to do, and I appreciate the Speaker’s suggestion that I draw my remarks to the bill.

I think it’s important that we speak about how we come to a bill, what our experiences are when they relate to a bill, because they define who we are as people and define how we see a bill.

At the age of ten I learned about climate change. I learned about the huge threat to our future: the fact that we were losing huge, vast numbers of species through die-offs. We were starting to see forest fires which had never been seen in certain areas before in the same frequency, and massive storms.
[ Page 4823 ]

Everybody said: “You’ve got to do your part.” I remember very strongly saying to my parents: “Wait a second. Pull this car over. I don’t want to go to that big-box store. I’m going to walk home because you’re polluting the atmosphere, and I don’t want to see it anymore.” They didn’t take too kindly to that at the time. They respected my youthful idealism and thought that was pretty cool that somebody would care so much about the planet.

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You know what? They did change some of their behaviour. They started riding their bikes to work and things like that, as they were able, and certainly are very environmentally minded as well.

I mention that because, again, who are we doing this for? Do we govern just for ourselves? Do we govern just for our constituents who are alive today? Or do we govern for the long term? I think we should be here, of course, governing for the long term.

I’ve transitioned from being that youthful person in short pants — as members of this House often refer to young people. I’m not sure. I don’t see a lot of young people wearing short pants these days. Those would be knickers, I suppose. They might wear shorts but certainly not short pants. But the House is a little bit older than myself. Maybe the youth that they remember wore knickers, but certainly the youth of today are not wearing short pants or knickers.

I wear a suit, which is certainly an older suit — a suit from, I believe, the ’70s. It is a used suit, a reused suit, an antique suit, maybe an elder suit, a suit that certainly is, maybe, for my more fashion-conscious constituents, an outrage, but I enjoy it. It is also a green suit, which I thought was appropriate for talking about improving our environment today, although it could have been an orange suit. The orange suits…. They also care about the environment as well. But I digress. And I know. I haven’t been digressing at all.

Deputy Speaker: Given the member’s digression, shall I assume that you’re the designated speaker?

S. Chandra Herbert: Yes, hon. Speaker. I was waiting for my half-hour to tell you I was the designated speaker so that you could find great joy that you would get to hear from me for even longer.

Anyway, we’ll go from the suit to talking about climate change, to talking about a suite, not a suit, of actions that the province needs to be taking, the legal requirements that we have all said in this House and that we support in this House.

Of course, the most upcoming, the closest one, a little bit over five years, is a cut in our greenhouse gas emissions of 33 percent below 2020. Well, that’s a very large number. At the time, the government said yes; they agreed it was a real stretch goal: “We might be able to get to a reduction by 2012, but to get to that bigger reduction of 33 percent of our 2007 emissions would be a real stretch.” But there’s a moral requirement that we meet that stretch.

The moral requirement, of course, speaks to us in many ways. The moral requirement is that we want a better future, not a future of storms, of disappearing ice sheets, of endangered species disappearing, of salmon die-offs because the water is too hot, of ocean acidification killing our shellfish industry, of massive forest fires and deaths of the forestry industry because of pine beetle — all things that we’ve already seen, all things that are here right now.

Climate change is often talked about in the future, but the results we see now. When I talk about the balance of the money we can make from a strong LNG industry, which is certainly considerable, we also need to respect that there are costs. One only needs to think of the recent storm outside of Calgary, which cost billions of dollars, and put that up against the billions of dollars we could make in an LNG industry, should that ever materialize in this province.

You have to remember that there are assets and there are deficits. Rarely do we get a golden goose and a golden egg without understanding that you also have to clean out the barn that that goose might live in and that you actually have to feed a goose. There are costs to a golden egg as well.

Let’s think about this. The Premier said, of course, that we’d have the cleanest LNG industry in the world, but this bill exempts 70 percent, approximately, of the emissions. Now, I say 70 percent because I asked the government staff the other day if they could tell me how many emissions were upstream and if they could tell me, based on what studies I had, if this was accurate. They couldn’t tell me that.

I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t done an analysis — I certainly think they might; I certainly trust public servants to do that — or because the ministry didn’t want to see that analysis, didn’t want that analysis shared, because it is rather large. I’m not sure, but whatever the reason is, it’s disturbing. If you’re going to make the cleanest LNG industry in the world, you actually have to include that whole industry.

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There are challenges, real challenges with this bill, aside from that issue. Of course, the government suggests that we can clean it up by using offsets. Well, there are problems with offsets. We’ll get to that in a bit.

They had said we can do a technology fund. There are challenges with that, as well. It could be structured well; it could be structured poorly. Again, more to see. The fact is that we actually need to be reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, not increasing them. This plan gives companies a free pass to pollute, to a large extent.

Now, there are ways that we can meet our targets, obviously, but they’re not in this bill. There aren’t any real changes which will reduce emissions in this province.
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There are only changes in this legislation which will increase emissions in this province.

While we may talk about it as being a bill which looks at greenhouse gas control, it is about controlling an increase. It doesn’t go wildly out of…. Well, I suppose it is going…. If the biggest predictions come true, it would be wildly different than where we are today. I’ll share some of those numbers in a moment.

First, let’s think about what happens if we keep polluting — if we keep letting companies, individuals and others a free pass to put carbon, methane and other pollutants into the atmosphere. It is a free pass. We do get a free pass, largely, because you can’t see it. It doesn’t cost you anything or doesn’t cost you much to pollute.

What happens if we keep polluting? Well, scientists have said we need to focus on a 2-Celsius limit for temperature increase in the globe to avoid the worst of climate change. Now, James Hansen and others have said that 2 Celsius is just one figure. It should actually be lower if we really want to avoid this, if we don’t want to lock into runaway climate change, if we don’t want to see the temperature heat up and heat up and jump higher and higher and higher as we have things like the permafrost melt in the north, as we have the icecaps melt away and so forth.

If we think about it, our body’s temperature…. When we get sick, we get a fever. If it goes up 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 Celsius, eventually you can die. So 2 Celsius is a fever. At 3 Celsius or 4 Celsius, you start thinking you might need to get to the hospital. If you’re not able to get that temperature increase under control, you can die.

While the government might not want to look at that issue, might not want to consider the implications…. I know a number of the government members don’t even believe climate change is real, despite the fact that 97 percent of international scientists have all agreed that climate change is very real and that we are causing it to a large extent. We do need to address this issue now with much more urgency than we are doing currently. Do we want to have on our consciences the loss of whole nations of people on this planet as their island nations go underwater? It’s true. That’s what’s happening.

While some members will giggle and shake their heads as if it’s not real, including one of the members on the Liberal side who I know doesn’t believe in climate change, it is real. I’d like him to go to that island nation and tell the people that what they see around them isn’t real. Tell the grandchildren in the future why we shouldn’t care that we’re seeing worsening storms, because that’s coming. The member will have to explain that to his grandchildren.

Why would we accept this? Of course, in an international world, if we’re doing something and somebody else isn’t, there can be costs. Some will say that, well, companies will move out and move to other jurisdictions where they can pollute for free. Indeed, we’ve seen that, so that is a real challenge. It is a real challenge that we have in our country and indeed in many jurisdictions around the world.

It’s much easier to be a free rider, to not have to pay anything and just pass the problem off to the future, to your children, than it is to take responsibility and leadership. But that’s the reality. That’s what’s going on. People always say: “Well, we’ll push that off. We’ll deal with it next time.”

I’ve heard some argue on the Liberal side that the economic meltdown of 2008 has effectively stopped us from really taking leadership on this because we had to get the economy functioning again. Well, the economy and the environment cannot be separated. They are together. When we have an environment that is sick because we’ve hurt it, we feel the impact. We see that here in British Columbia a lot.

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For whatever reason — the glass half-empty or the glass half-full — the government will only focus on the glass half-full. They will not recognize that there actually is a lot of air above it, which we have to think of too. They only focus on the light while not acknowledging the dark. That’s not leadership. That is being willingly blind to what we see around us.

That, for me, hurts — to see this action. Again, it is our future that we are messing with here as we jimmy with the thermostat of this world that we still don’t understand very well. Our scientists are working hard to help us understand, but unfortunately, our small human brains, which we egotistically inflate, often in this House, don’t seem to recognize that action is needed now. It was needed yesterday. It was needed years ago. Back in 1990, when I was ten years old, we were being warned very strongly then that we needed real action.

This bill struggles with it. It decides that LNG operations can get 16 percent of their pollution for free. They don’t have to pay anything. You can pollute the atmosphere for free — 16 percent, per tonne of LNG, free pollution. Then they say up to 23 percent, 16 to 23 percent, the government will provide subsidies to bring you back down to 16 percent of pollution.

From 16 to 23, the taxpayers of British Columbia will be paying LNG companies to reduce their pollution, either into offsets or into a technology fund, details to be worked out later. So we look at this. Meanwhile, of course, that’s just the LNG process, the liquefication process, not the rest of the emissions, the 60 to 70 percent of the emissions upstream.

What are those emissions? Of course the terminals, 30 percent; pipelines, 9 percent; extracting process and processing, 61 percent. If the government has better figures, if the industry has better figures, I’d love to see them. I’m working from a Pembina report. They’ve gone through, they’ve talked to industry, they’ve looked at the numbers that they’ve put forward in their environmental assessments, and those are the figures that they could draw. If
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the government has better figures, it would be nice if they could share them.


S. Chandra Herbert: I hear somebody shouting. I don’t understand why they’re trying to change the subject, because I think there is a real issue here of emissions today. If the member wants to talk about the past, he is welcome to, but I’d like to talk about action today, because I think that is important.

Government says five terminals will equal 13 million tonnes of CO2. Well, if you do the math, if 70 percent of the emissions are upstream, that would be upstream emissions of approximately 43 million tonnes for five terminals. Altogether, that’s around 56 million tonnes of carbon going up into the atmosphere and causing climate change.

That’s the best I could get, because the government has refused to release those figures, whether through freedom of information, through requests or what have you. They have not released those figures. So 56 million tonnes versus — what do we have in B.C. today? — 58 million tonnes for the entire province. That’s not including an LNG industry. That’s the entire province.

Again, I urge members to consider that there is more than just yes or no. Sometimes you need to consider black and white, good and bad, opportunity and challenge, because you cannot get to a true opportunity unless you address the challenge. Yet ministers and members have refused to acknowledge, with honesty, the challenges that we have here.

I get it. It’s politics. It’s the way things have been done: my team is better than your team; my religion is better than your religion; my family is better than your family. That’s the nature of human society, unfortunately.

Sometimes we get stuck in our little hive minds and we can’t acknowledge that what somebody else says — if we’re not on the same team as them or if we’re not from the same party or if we’re not from the same religion or if we’re not from the same country — is worth listening to. That’s, unfortunately, sometimes how humanity works.

We’ve seen that through wars. We’ve seen that through arguments. We’ve seen that through fights. We’ve seen that through huge losses to our human society because we can’t acknowledge that somebody else might have a point, because we can’t acknowledge that in diversity there is strength, that in education and in educating ourselves in things that we don’t quite understand we will get to be better people.

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I’ve got a lot of respect for those that are working in the industry, because they are trying their best to reduce emissions in many cases. But not in many other cases, because the business model suggests getting the gas out of the ground at the lowest possible price, which sometimes has led to things like venting of emissions straight into the atmosphere, polluting the atmosphere.


S. Chandra Herbert: That is how it works. If that’s not how it works, I invite the member to show me. I went to the industry, and I spoke with them, in his own community, and that’s what they told me. They said they don’t like it, but that’s because they, too, think about their children.

I mention this because it’s easy for some people to other folks who work in the oil and gas sector. I’ve had to argue with my own constituents around the questions of natural gas. They sometimes don’t reflect that they are heating their own homes with natural gas and tell me to shut it down. I say: “No, you can’t. You can’t just shut it down. There are people working and relying on that industry, and our province has relied for many years on that industry.”

When the Premier gets up and makes up stuff in question period to try to other the New Democrats, I find it offensive. We as politicians need to rise above ourselves and above our own partisan interests to try to understand the best for the entire province. What we get here, unfortunately, is spin, spin, spin and a refusal to acknowledge when they’re wrong and only a discussion as if everything is right when sometimes it just plain isn’t.

If we are talking about 56 million tonnes, potentially…. Now, it may be 50 million tonnes. It may be 70 million tonnes. Depending on how many plants get created, it may be slightly lower. It may be slightly more. I’m just going with the figures that the government provided, and they didn’t provide much, which again goes to the question of democracy, or is it about one-party rule? “Maybe we’ll give you something so you can feed on it just a little bit and think you know what you’re talking about, but we won’t really tell you what’s going on.” That’s just the way it is here.

If all of B.C. in 2012 had 58 million tonnes…. And there was a decrease, and it was because of leadership. I appreciated the leadership at the time. There hasn’t been leadership since. We would be adding 58 million tonnes plus 56 million tonnes with LNG. Yet we’re supposed to be reducing — reducing — our total emissions from 2007 by 33 percent by 2020.

How do you do that? How does this bill hope to do that? Well, it would mean we’d need to cut nearly 20 million tonnes, so a 33 percent cut. Actually, sorry. That would be 38 million tonnes we would need to cut. Before LNG we would need to cut 20 million tonnes.

Is that going to be dealt with by the rest of the economy, or are we going to have the government do much the same as the federal Conservatives, as the government of Alberta, as the federal Liberals in the ’90s did as well? We had a lot of talk, but we didn’t get the solutions that we needed — and understandably. It’s hard. You do need
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to make changes. We all as a society need to make changes. It’s easy to blame just one person or just one government or just one corporation, but we all need to make that change. We all need to argue for it and educate for it and build the constituency for that change.

Would 33 percent, 38 million tonnes, be possible for the rest of the economy to take and continue on as a prosperous economy? I sure hope so. That’s what I’m dedicated to. Unfortunately, this government so far has shown no plan beyond what we’ve got to, to 2012, to actually achieve the goal, aside from talking about LNG. Now, they say we can meet the goal.

When I pressed, I asked: “How?” They said: “Well, really, we might get one LNG plant operating in 2019 and maybe more after that.” What I’m basically hearing is that, well, maybe we’ll meet the goal in 2020, as long as LNG doesn’t get started too fast. Then maybe we won’t make the goal in 2022 if we have a whole bunch of LNG terminals operating with the pollution up and down the line. Maybe we won’t. So we will, and then we won’t.

Of course, we won’t hear that. The hope is that…. Well, 2017 is coming up. That’s the next election, so they won’t be judged on the 2020 target. By 2021, in the next election, they can say, “We met our targets in 2020,” in the 2021 election. Of course, hopefully, the people will have changed the government at that time, and we’ll be able to really have driven down climate change emissions, because this government doesn’t seem too willing to. That seems to be where we are at.

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We did have a decline, a decline of give or take four million tonnes between 2007 and 2012, 6 percent or so, which is good. But that is a far cry from what we would need to get to either a 20-million-tonne reduction without LNG or a 38-million-tonne reduction with it, based on the government numbers.

Can you do it? Well, what did we have to get that 6 percent reduction? What did we do to do that? Well, we had things like the carbon tax. We had LiveSmart B.C. We had hundreds of millions of dollars going into home retrofits. We had a huge effort by municipalities, who really have been leading the way. Mayors and councils across this province — who are often the closest to constituents, as we often say — have very little financial room to make these changes, but they’ve taken up the leadership with district energy systems, with incredible transit investments and more.

That’s what we had during that period. We had a large shift. But that large shift — with many, many dollars — led us to just a 6 percent decrease. If we’re thinking about getting rid of 33 percent of our emissions, we’re going to have to do a heck of a lot more. We’re going to have to be doing more of those things. If we think about it, hundreds of millions going into retrofits — well, not so much anymore. The government got rid of the program. That’s LiveSmart B.C. and other efforts.

Increase in transit? No. The government has said: “We’ll leave that up to you, municipalities. If you want to do that, you have to have a referendum.” Meanwhile, the government will support bridges, which often lead to single-occupancy vehicles, not to increased transit.

That’s, unfortunately, where they’ve decided to focus their efforts — on a commute, on an attempt to meet congestion — while not acknowledging that when you have more people riding on a bus, you get a much larger reduction in congestion. If you have 20 people riding on a bus who used to all drive single-occupancy vehicles, you’ve taken 20 vehicles off the road and replaced that with one bus. That’s quite an impact, when you invest in transit.

It’s also good for the economy, because it opens up the roads so that we’re not having to build more roads. It opens up the roads so that truck traffic and other forms of traffic can get through, can make it to their destinations on time, increasing the speed of the economy as well as reducing climate change emissions. But no, the government has refused to acknowledge that we really do need a big investment in transit, choosing instead to ignore it, to delay it, to confuse it, to insult mayors, to do all those things that the Liberals are known for, unfortunately, while refusing to take leadership on one of the biggest challenges of our time.

If we think about 33 percent by 2020, what’s the other goal? What’s the other big, big target that we’ve all acknowledged we need to meet? Well, maybe not all of us, since there are a number of Liberals who don’t believe in climate change and don’t believe we need to do anything about it. That would be an 80 percent reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. What’s that look like? Well, as of 2007, that’s approximately a 49-million-tonne drop, which would leave us at around 12 million tonnes of carbon pollution. That’s a pretty massive drop, if you think of it, if you think that we are at 58 million tonnes today.

If we’re going to get a 49.6-million drop, or so — maybe just say a 49-million-tonne drop — in GHGs by 2050, we need to be massively driving down the emissions that we are creating today, not adding more emissions. But the government has argued we can do LNG while meeting those targets. If you’re going to do that, you have to show where you’re going to get that. That means a drawing down of emissions from LNG plants.

This bill, you would expect, would show a schedule to be able to do that, with continual improvements in technology, if that would be the argument the government made — to be drawing down the emissions from LNG terminals. What we hear instead is: “We’re going to lock in, keep things very much the same, through at least till 2037 — just 13 years out from that 2050 legal requirement of when we must lower our emissions — and then discussion of 100 years of gas, that we could keep doing it for 100 years.

The International Energy Agency very clearly has
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shown how we all must, every jurisdiction — not just Canada, not just British Columbia…. Everywhere in the world needs to be drawing down the amount of emissions we produce, not increasing it, if we want any chance to stay at the 2 Celsius limit, if we want any chance to stay at keeping the very worst of climate change from impacting us, not just keeping it as business as usual.

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Business as usual…. We’re already well past that, as we see in our communities today, as we see devastation across the province in our pine beetle woods, as we see it in the storms and as we see it in developing erratic weather patterns in many parts of the globe — which, of course, impacts us as well.

If you have climate refugees clamouring to get out of their communities, whether it’s in the parched south or the incredibly stormy southeast…. Sometimes they are parched and stormy at the same time within a week or two of the other, as British Columbia was back in 2007 — when this government decided that climate change mattered, when we all united in this province to say that we needed to take action on climate change. At that time, of course, we had a very stormy spring, a very parched summer and then a very stormy fall.

We’ve continued to see those kinds of weather patterns through on up to the present. They are very consistent that this is going to get worse, and indeed, it has.

If we’re going to meet our legally required commitment of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, we need to start planning today, because that is quite a change for our economy. That is a massive change for our economy.

We have already seen some changes and some people start to shift, whether or not it is through clean technology; through the tech sector, where you’re getting incredible returns in solar and wind; in the battery storage systems, which can be used to take that power and bring it to people who need it.

You’re seeing that in the home energy sector, where you’re getting incredible green buildings. You’re getting incredible buildings that actually put power back into the system, buildings that don’t put out greenhouse gas emissions through the need to burn gas. As I guess it was in the old days, of course, many of our homes used to burn coal through the coal chute.

We need to be shifting — everyone recognizes it — with a just transition for those workers and respecting their jobs, respecting their livelihoods and respecting that they, too, want their children to have a better future by having a better planet, a planet that is not ravaged by massive storms and a disappearance of many of the species, many of the natural elements that we all love so dear. We wouldn’t want to see that. We wouldn’t want to see that at all.

Of course, with our actions, with our plodding ways, with our big brains that think we can fix everything, we’re bringing that into reality as a human species. This government, this Premier in particular, has decided to step on it. She’s decided that we need to increase it.

One of the things that she often says is: “Well, this will help China.” We all would love to see China’s air quality improve, and I think China is taking steps to do that. They’ve signed a massive contract with Russia to get natural gas from Russia. Certainly, I think we could understand the argument behind it. We could understand that.

The challenge, and this is where we get to a principle that New Democrats take seriously, is the precautionary principle, the question of do you go all in if you’re not totally sure of what the results are.

I raise that because, of course, as we have seen in some studies — Ingraffea from Cornell and others — there is a real question about the pollution power of natural gas and the full life cycle, if done badly, versus coal. He points to things like methane escape and other things, which have in some jurisdictions — in Pennsylvania, principally, where the study was done — led to, on the whole, life cycle emissions similar to coal.

Now, that’s what the study says there. There has not been a similar study done in our northeast of this province, and I understand that geologically it is different. I’m not saying that this is indeed the fact, but I’m saying that we need to have the information. We need to look at ensuring that if we’re going to be pulling gas from the ground — and I believe it can be done in a way that is the best in the world, the best technology in the world — you need to be ensuring you’re not getting methane leaks. You need to be ensuring that you’re not venting off gas, as carbon, into the atmosphere, as we currently see.

It is a challenge. It will mean a real difference. It will mean a real difference in the industry as well. We hear it from the folks in the oil and gas industry and CEOs in their more reflective moments, saying they, too, understand that things are going to have to change. We know how hard it is to make change. We know how hard it is to bring change. But in order to do it, you have to acknowledge you need to change. You have to acknowledge you need to build change.

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Indeed, we’re not seeing that here. We’re seeing a desire to continue with the practices that we’ve always had, which is letting people pollute for free, which is pushing the problem off into the future, which is saying one thing and doing another — something politicians unfortunately are famous for. This legislation continues in that trend.

There are billions in climate costs, and those costs will continue to rise. I think many in the House will have been approached by the insurance industry with their concerns of the cost of climate change to their industry, of the cost of climate change to communities, of the larger tax bills that will come when we have to deal with disasters, when we have to raise the dikes.

Much of this province, of course, is built on deltas.
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Beautiful Delta South, much of the province on the coast and, of course, in the Fraser Valley are going to have to deal with the rising tides. My own community of Vancouver–West End, of course, is surrounded by the ocean. If you do the climate projections, you can see the impact of storms and the impact of rising water levels there. That’s one part of it. Of course, there are other many, many other issues that come with climate change, and costs.

Let’s think of some of the things the government says they will do for the 30 percent of emissions that they think need to be captured after the 16 percent that they let go free. Well, what they say we need to do is bring in a tech fund, a technology fund — a fund that could, in 2020 or 2021, if it starts to get money, start investing in technology, start investing in trying to come up with ways to deal with climate change. If you think about it, if we’re waiting for a solution to technology from technology that far down the road, that’s a challenge.

All the best scientists show us that the best results in fighting climate change come early, that if you are trying to fix it down the road, you’ll have already increased the emissions so much in the atmosphere that you have a diminishing return, that things are not as effective as if you addressed them today. It’s much better to have low emissions today rather than a genius technology 20 years down the road which might lower emissions then. Unfortunately, we seem to see, similar to Alberta, an argument that a tech fund will deal with climate change.

If we’re going to meet our legally required goals and if we’re going to meet the morally required goals to reduce emissions, we’re going to need to do a lot better than that.

The Alberta tech fund, which has been running for a number of years now, can’t really point to emissions reduction in that province. As you know, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta have been shooting through the roof, and they’re scheduled to keep going up.

Even though they’ve been running a tech fund which has hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, they can’t really point to any real climate change reduction that they’ve met, any real greenhouse gas reduction that they’ve achieved. All of it is pushed off to the future. Sometime this technology might be able to slowly reduce emissions down the road.

We’ve yet to find the technology that can completely pull CO2 and methane out of the atmosphere and bring them down to the earth. It’s a nice dream, but the government has not been able to show how to do it. Neither have the corporations. Neither have the best minds in science.

Searching for a technological answer to a problem that we have created seems to be continuing down the course. Some of it will help. I don’t want to dismiss that. Carbon sequestration could be a way to deal with some of this. Certainly, it could be a way to deal with some of the emissions that we have, as are a number of technologies that they’re looking at. But to say that that is a solution…. It’s not, and we need to be honest about that.

If you want to deal with the emissions, you need to deal with the emissions. It’s better not to pollute than it is to pollute and then try to find some technology down the road that maybe could address it. Certainly, we would never say to our children: “It’s okay if you throw garbage on the ground and then pay somebody to develop a technology for 20 years down the road which might be able to eventually come and figure out a way to pick it up.” No, we wouldn’t say that. We would say: “Don’t pollute.” That’s the simplest way to address that.

We need to see emissions drop as a top priority now. We need climate success, not just focusing on commercial success.

Commercial success is great for those investors. It’s great if they get a product that 20 years down the road they can sell and make a lot of money on, absolutely. That would employ people. That would be good for them.

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But you’re spending 20 years, as we approach the need to be at an 80 percent reduction worldwide of GHGs, greenhouse gas emissions, by 2050…. If at 2020 we come up with a technology that by 2040 could start to bring down emissions, that’s cutting it really close. That’s bringing us to a fever in this world, a fever in our ecosystem that will increase and continue to increase unless we address it now as the top priority.

We need that focus to be on now. Technology fund — maybe that’s the way to do it. Maybe that’s the way to help somewhat, but if you’re going to create a technology fund, you need it to be focused on bringing emissions down now, right now — not 20 years down the road, not 30, 40, 50 years down the road, but now. Unfortunately, Alberta’s fund hasn’t done that. It has not been focused in such a way. I’m hoping that the Minister, if continuing with the technology fund….

If LNG occurs, if we get this industry, and if we potentially get the jobs and the income coming from it, a tech fund, should it be established…. I would argue it shouldn’t be subsidized by taxpayers. It should be subsidized — well, not subsidized at all. It should be from the companies who are going to benefit from it. They should pay for it. They should be the ones paying for it, required to put money into it, if they’re going to do a tech fund with a requirement that its focus be on emissions reduction — not on some other goal down the road, but on emissions reduction now.

The other thing the government has focused on is, of course, offsets. They have talked about the need to use offsets. If you don’t get to 16 percent pollution for your tonne of LNG, if it’s not at 16 percent carbon from just the plant, they’ve said: “We will subsidize you for offsets from up to 23 percent pollution, and then you’ll have to pay the full cost of offsets beyond that, per unit.”

What are offsets? Well, the idea is that if you pollute over here, if you put out a tonne of carbon over here,
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and somebody else over there is planning to put out a tonne of carbon and you pay them so they don’t, you get to use their lack of putting a tonne of carbon in the air to discount the tonne of carbon that you’ve put in the air. It doesn’t reduce emissions overall; it keeps us about neutral.

Now, this House has heard many, many discussions about offsets — one of the main vehicles the government has used to claim carbon neutrality. They have said offsets are a very important way to meet that goal.

We need to remember that an offset must be additional. You must have additionality, as economists say, as climate scientists will point out. It can’t be something that you were already going to do. If the government pollutes one million tonnes of carbon, they can’t claim when another person does not pollute one million tonnes — if they weren’t planning on polluting a million tonnes — as being an offset because they weren’t going to pollute a million tonnes.

Indeed, that is something that the government has done a number of times to claim they’re dealing with climate change. I think one of the ones that we need to look at and reflect on is, of course, recognizing that offsets can be part of a solution. They shouldn’t be your principal means to getting to the solution. The principal means should be not polluting in the first place.

Let’s reflect on two of the projects. One of the projects…. These were used to reach 70 percent of the government’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral. The Darkwoods project is something that I’d heard about. Darkwoods — beautiful, beautiful woods out in the Kootenays, a forest that is a very important habitat for bears, a very important link for grizzlies in that area. There was a push….

I remember I first heard about it because the Nature Conservancy of Canada was urging people to put money forward to raise enough money so that they could buy it to conserve it, so that down the road, maybe it couldn’t be logged. They bought it, I believe, in 2007. They bought it, and under the way they work, they were legally required to protect it.

The forest was not under imminent threat. There was no plan to log it at the time. It was just something that was out there. They bought it before the carbon offset legislation was created, before the Pacific Carbon Trust came into being.

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They had already bought it with the intention of saving it — asking yourself, hon. Speaker; myself; and other people all across the province and across the country to donate little bits to be able to help save those woods. They said: “We want to do this. We’re going to do this.”

Nature Conservancy Canada has done a very good job of that in many parts of this nation. They’ve decided that they want to be activists for preserving our natural habitat. In that case I remember hearing a lot about the need to protect that area for the bears.

They were going to do it. They were legally required to do it. There was no chainsaw en route. There was, as the Auditor General has pointed out in his report, no liquidation logger sitting there ready to go. It wasn’t the Minister of Environment stepping forward and saying: “Wait a second. You can’t log it and clearcut it beyond belief so that we can save it for the climate.” No, it wasn’t like that. There was no additionality for the Darkwoods project. It was largely going to happen already, so there was not a saving of climate emissions. That had already happened. It wasn’t going to be logged.

You know, it’s like me polluting a million tonnes and then saying: “Oh well, Johnny over there was going to pollute a million tonnes too.” Johnny says: “No way. I don’t believe in pollution. Why would I do that?” Oh, but I said he was, so I get to offset my million tonnes. That’s kind of like how it went down in the Darkwoods.

Again, maybe because it was so dark in those woods, the government couldn’t see that there was no liquidation logger hiding in those woods ready to cut them down, but they wanted us all to believe there was. Thankfully, the Auditor General was able to point out that that wasn’t the case. It had already had an agreement to purchase.

What they did when they tried to develop what those offsets were for the Darkwoods project…. The government assumed that the worst forest practices would be taken, that a private logger would come in and choose the worst forest practices, which would lead to a huge loss in money through taxation to that logger. No logger would, probably, do that. Certainly, the loggers in that area hadn’t been doing that, so there was no reason for them to believe it. They had to believe that there were 30 percent more trees there than what had been appraised when the land had been purchased in order to get to their offset, but that’s what they did.

That’s the risk with offsets. Despite what the government can claim to be the best system of looking, identifying, searching and trying to make sure that they are real offsets, when you have a program, when you have a potential subsidy to do something that somebody wants, sometimes that can distort the real actions.

Indeed, hon. Speaker, I don’t know about you, but certainly myself and, I know, many of the other members have been approached by people saying: “Hey, I have this wood that I’d like to save” or “I have this piece of land that I’d like to save.” Then I ask: “Oh, is it in threat of being logged? Is it going to be taken out? Are we going to lose it?” Often what I hear is: “No, the landowner has no intention, doesn’t want to see it logged, doesn’t want to sell it to somebody who would log it.”

Then they say: “Do you think I might be able to get an offset? Do you think the government might be able to count this as an offset? I might be able to make it look like the landowner wants to log it, in order to get the money in order to save it.” You have a challenge of
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people not always being as upfront as they’d like to be, as we’d want them to be, because their desire is to save the piece of land.

I understand the desire. They’re incredibly beautiful places that we want to save, we should save, we should protect and we should be taking action for. But just as sometimes people fudge a little bit around the edges to get what they want, just as the government said one thing in the election and is doing another thing afterwards — because, as the Premier suggested, we all say things in politics that we don’t mean, to get elected — that’s what can happen with offsets. That is what the Premier said. That’s the challenge with offsets.

Another project to show the danger and the challenge of offsets, versus not polluting in the first place or versus having the best technology possible the whole way through an LNG process, including the natural gas, not just the liquefication…. What’s another project? Well, it’s interesting.

This is a company that’s given a lot of money to the Premier, a company that’s given a lot of money to the B.C. Liberal Party — Encana. You know, Gwyn Morgan, a big adviser, a person who’s said some pretty, pretty horrible things about First Nations people, a person who’s taken some quite conservative views. Not views that…. Well, maybe the Premier holds those views. I’m not sure. I’ve never heard her say them.

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We’re not quite sure, when you say what you mean, if it’s really what you mean anymore, with this Premier.

Encana. Well, what did they want to do? They wanted to do some drilling for gas, which is what they do. They wanted to do some well drilling. What were they doing? They had been flaring gas. They’d been digging down. They’d been flaring gas and polluting — you know, burning it off and flaring it.

The argument was: “Well, we need technology. We need technology in order to be able to use that gas rather than burn that gas.” I’m glad they wanted to do that. I’m glad that was a focus. Indeed, all gas producers in B.C. — I think we need to be ensuring that they’re getting the most out of the product, out of the people’s product, because of course, the gas belongs to all British Columbians. The companies are being given the rights to work, to use that gas in their processing, and we get paid a royalty for it.

When we waste gas, that’s a problem because it pollutes, but it’s also a waste. I was brought up not to be wasteful. I was brought up to be — I would say frugal; my partner might say cheap — ensuring that I use the resources very, very well. Of course, we see that all across this province, people saying, “Eat up your dinner. Don’t leave anything on the plate,” because, of course, waste is waste. We produce far too much of it in this country. We produce far too much waste. Of course, we know even in the food system that we waste a lot of food. We need to do better there, as well, but in this case they were talking about flared gas.

If you could put the gas in a pipeline, if you could capture that gas and use it to heat somebody’s home, use it to heat up the barbecue, to do something like that, that would be better. That would be the right thing to do because you wouldn’t be wasting that gas. Yes, there would be a climate implication to it. Indeed, there would be, but it’s the same climate implication as if you burned it through the top, if you flared that gas.

They argued: “We need this. We need a carbon offset to be able to do this, otherwise it’s not financially viable and we are unable to achieve it.” Well, they got that carbon offset. The government never really confirmed exactly how much money was given to them, arguing that it was a commercial issue. The best estimate I’ve seen has been that the government gave them about $2 million to be able to bring in the technology so they were no longer burning off gas, wasting gas and polluting the atmosphere in the same way, and instead could use it in their processes, use it to heat homes and those kinds of things that you would want the gas to be used for.

The trouble is the project was set to make the company over $7 million, because they could actually sell the gas now that they had the technology not to waste it. The people, through an offset, gave them $2 million to do a process that made them $7 million. I don’t know about you, hon. Speaker, but if I was that businessperson, I would have said: “I could make $7 million? I’m going to do that right away. I don’t need an offset. Oh, but wait. Hey, if I can get $2 million extra to do a project that I was already going to do, jeez, maybe that makes sense business-wise.”

That’s not how an offset is supposed to work, but that’s what the government argued for, supports and continues to suggest was a good idea. Offsets aren’t meant to be used that way. That is the risk with offsets. You get into the real question of market behaviour. If the money is hanging out in front, people may shift their attitudes to say, “I need that money, otherwise I wouldn’t do what I was going to do already,” and you can’t always tell the difference. It’s impossible to climb into everybody’s brain and be able to find out: were they going to do what they now claim they weren’t going to do unless they had the subsidy from government, the offset?

That is a real, real risk with the offset scheme. If we’re trying to get below 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, if we’re trying to get below a 33 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, you need to make sure that you’re actually achieving it — not that you’re aspiring to it, not that you’re hopeful for it or that you say it but don’t really mean it. No, you actually need that.

It’s not because it would hurt my feelings or somebody else’s feelings. It’s because it heats up the planet. It’s because it costs us all money through climate change. That’s
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why you need to be honest about it. That’s why you need to have real emissions reductions, not just talk about emission reductions.

Well, good for Encana. They made extra money and will continue to make extra money through a better process, and I’m glad that gas isn’t being flared and is being used.

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But you know what? We on this side of the House have called for a long time for real regulations of the natural gas industry to make sure that we’re not venting, that we aren’t doing that kind of process, as much as possible, that we are making sure we’ve got the best equipment possible at those sites to reduce the methane leakage, to reduce the emissions which come from processing, from transportation. That’s the only way if you’re going to get anywhere close to dealing with emissions increases in this industry.

There can be an industry. There could be a good one, with good jobs and good money for the province. But it needs to be done responsibly — not focusing on just the L of LNG but acknowledging that the letter N, natural, and the letter G, gas, are also part of that equation. You can’t get one without the other. Yet the Premier has decided to draw a little circle around an LNG terminal and pretend that’s all there is. Well, that’s not all there is. There are real implications of increases in natural gas use and increases in natural gas extraction.

The Treaty 8 First Nations speak very strongly about it, as do many residents that I have met in the northeast who acknowledge, who say: “I work in the industry. I want the industry to succeed, but I want it done responsibly so that my children could also have the ability to hunt in the northeast, the ability to ensure that the water is there to irrigate the fields for farmers, to be able to ensure that you’re not getting massive storms through the area because of climate change and massive wildfires as well.”

It is a real challenge. People in my community say, “Just stop it,” and I say no. That’s not responsible. You need to respect people in the northeast, who are proud British Columbians who want to work. You need to respect the people whose backyards…. They say, “Well, you know….” They can’t answer it.

I say: “Have you talked to the local First Nations who work there?” They have spoken very strongly about the challenges LNG will pose for them, who also say quite bluntly that many of their members work in the industry because that’s the way they can make a living. They understand because that’s their backyard too. They don’t like to see zero environmental protections, cuts to environmental protections — as the government tried to do by exempting the processing facilities for natural gas.

They tried to get rid of that whole environmental assessment process, saying: “Nah, you don’t need to do it.” Thankfully, of course, the Treaty 8 First Nations spoke up very strongly and said: “Wait a second, you can’t treat us like this.” This is their land. And the government — oh boy, did they turn around quickly. Oh boy, did they start running up there to say, “Oh, we really didn’t mean it; it was just an accident,” when just about every piece of freedom-of-information information we’ve been able to pull out shows that no, it was no accident.

The government debated it, they discussed it, and they decided they didn’t care if there was an environmental assessment for these projects and that people didn’t need one. Well, they did need one, and it was insulting. I appreciate that the members have gotten up and said at various times, “Oh, we’re really sorry,” but it’s a bit rich to get up after the fact and say, “Oh, I’m sorry,” when with full knowledge the government proceeded full ahead without even talking to the people that it would impact.

That’s the way it went. They thought they could get away with it. Boy, were they wrong. Thank goodness that Treaty 8 First Nations spoke up and said: “You can’t do this. You’ve got to treat us with respect.”

It was troubling to me that the government wouldn’t also acknowledge…. They apologized to the corporations who were upset that they couldn’t get rid of the environmental assessment process. They apologized to the First Nations, which was the right thing to do because it’s largely on their territory, and it is on their traditional territory where much of this processing goes on.

But they didn’t ever apologize to the rest of British Columbians, who were also impacted by this decision, whose gas, whose environment, whose air, whose land, whose water are of course also impacted by the potential increase in LNG, in natural gas extraction and processing as well. The people of Fort St. John, the people of Fort Nelson, Dawson Creek. Dawson — you go through that community. Those people deserved that respect as well, and they didn’t get it from the government either.

Offsets — they are one thing. I know Mark Jaccard, who used to be listened to very often by this government, has a lot to say and a lot of good advice. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know more about his advice and learning from him. At one point I know he suggested that offsets were kind of like indulgences. Back in some religions you could commit sins if you paid the church for that sin, and you would be indulged.

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It was a nice, tidy way to increase the coffers of the church and to make somebody’s ego and feeling of guilt go away. It didn’t change the fact that they’d committed the sin. They just tried to pay it off.

I don’t think we should be trying to treat the environment in such a way. We need to treat our environment in a respectful relationship, not in exploitation or domination but in a relationship — a real relationship. We can’t live without air, without water, without the food that comes from the ground, and our souls can’t live without the joy that nature can bring us and the grounding that it can bring us, either.

We can’t afford to stand pat. We can’t afford to do noth-
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ing and just increase emissions. We must be lowering them, and what this bill could have done is shown a real way, through the whole process of LNG, that we were going to lower emissions.

The whole process of natural gas…. We have no final investment decision on LNG yet. We are using natural gas already. Surely we could have had leadership just on the NG side, on the natural gas side, to lower emissions, something that we have called for, for a long time and that folks in the industry tell me they had expected but they didn’t see.

They thought that the whole chain, the whole well to waterline would be affected and that we would get truly cleaner — anyways, more sustainable to an extent or at least less damaging, depending which side of the fence that you sit on in this debate — natural gas. Natural gas is here for a long time. We’ve done very well for it in the province while ignoring the challenges that it has posed to our climate.

We’ve got to think about what we do next. How do we get to that 33 percent reduction? How do we get to that 80 percent reduction? One is being honest, absolutely. One is being honest that it is a real challenge. I haven’t heard that so much from the Liberal side. I haven’t heard the words “climate change” from many on the Liberal side or a demand from them, either, for us to actually really act any longer. Now that Gordon Campbell has left the building, it seems that the desire to do much about climate change left with him.

They claim still to be leaders. Well, let’s look at what leadership means for the Liberals: freezing any sort of price for pollution and refusing to do anything about a price for pollution for five years. Let’s think about cap-and-trade. Well, this bill, of course, repeals the cap-and-trade act. Well, let’s look to see. What did the government used to say about the cap-and-trade act?

Well, on April 3, 2008, six months or so before I came to this House, the government announced that the cap-and-trade act “will make British Columbia the first Canadian province to introduce legislation authorizing hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions.” This is, of course, Barry Penner, awesome Barry. Barry Penner Is Awesome!, I believe, was the website at the time. He would stand there and look stern, point at things out in nature and speak about his passion for the environment.

This is something he was very passionate about. He wanted to argue for…. The Liberals at the time, not the Liberals of today, argued that we needed a hard cap on emissions, that eventually you need to say, “We can’t emit anymore. This is the cap on what we can do, and we will slowly bring it down over time, through a market-based mechanism, to encourage companies to become more and more efficient, to make the changes required in order to be able to meet our climate change obligations, to meet our legal obligations.”

He was arguing at the time…. And the legislation is there, was there. It was never brought into force. This was 2008, but after that cap-and-trade just seemingly vanished. The government stopped talking about it, stopped acting on it.

Meanwhile, we have California and Quebec, two of the original signers, the original proponents for the Western Climate Initiative. They had decided to act on it. We are seeing real change in how an economy functions in California in terms of real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and a real push there. Maybe it’s because they have such a challenge with the drought that the people are demanding it and supporting it. They’re seeing their ability to grow food vanish because there’s no water, because the water has disappeared.

That is a real problem in California, so they’ve continued to support real action against climate change, real changes to ensure their economy is not only more efficient; that energy is not wasted; that just as we argued against waste, their economy is working to end waste and to become more efficient. That’s what they’re arguing for.

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Of course, some might say that there’s a lot of waste in some of those fancy homes up Rodeo Drive with large cars and massive TV screens, but that’s for another day. That is more of a question of income inequality issues and the difference between those with the most and those with the least. That is another issue for another day. Indeed, I’m not in California, nor would I want to be living in California, even in one of those large houses. Just in case people didn’t know, I thought I should mention that.

So that was the cap-and-trade act, which is being repealed here. Well, what was it supposed to do? It’s important we recognize the history of how we got to today. We used to have a government that believed in hard caps, but not so much anymore.

The cap-and-trade program, the Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade program, was supposed to cover emissions of seven greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride — from the following types of emission sources: industrial fuel combustion, industrial processes, transportation fuel use, residential and commercial fuel use.

When was it supposed to happen? When were we going to get that next step in the climate action plan in British Columbia and, indeed, across the country and North America? Well, the first phase of the cap-and-trade program begins on January 1, 2013. Well, it’s nearing the end of 2014. I saw no cap-and-trade program on January 1, 2013.

That had been the plan. The second phase would begin in 2015, which, interestingly enough, even if the cap-and-trade program hadn’t been brought in — it didn’t get brought in; the government refused to bring it in — we still see no plan to re-
[ Page 4833 ]
place it. We still see no plan to replace climate change reduction emission plans.

There are no plans. As of now, a little bit over five years until our need to be at 33 percent below our 2007 greenhouse gas emissions, there are no plans. The only plans we have seen are “no” to action and what we could see as a large increase in greenhouse gases. Those are the two realities here.

The government, any time I have asked in two budgets so far, have never been able to identify what the actions are that they’re going to take to really ratchet down emissions rather than drive them up. When asked, I think the response was: “That is the question.” Well, yes, it is the question, but we need an answer.

This isn’t Shakespeare: “To be, or not to be — that is the question.” It’s to act or not to act against climate change. Unfortunately, maybe we, as in many Shakespearean plays, have a deeply flawed person or a deeply flawed government who can’t seem to decide whether they want to act and, if they are acting, seem to cause tragedy and disaster because they refuse to acknowledge that there can be dark and that there can be light.

Indeed, in the world there is both. If you’re going to get the light, you have to address the dark, and that’s important. You can’t fight darkness with darkness. You fight darkness with light. You can’t fight climate change with more climate change. You have to fight it with greenhouse gas reduction.

It seems simple. It seems like something that shouldn’t have to be said, but so far, going on and on and on, this government refuses to cough up any answers, refuses to decide whether it’s to be or not to be, refuses to decide whether it’s to act or not to act. Instead it is stuck in indecision while climate change increases in this province and around the world, with continuing worsening effects.

Oh well, some might say: “Well, Member, why are you so focused on the negative about climate change? Surely there’s an opportunity here. Maybe we can get palm trees. Maybe we can heat it up. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll get more opportunities to do things.”

Well, that is a very interesting view of the world. Certainly, some might love the idea of more palm trees and fancy beaches and so on, but that’s not quite how it works with climate change. You might have a good day and then a heck of a lot of bad days. You might have one good crop-growing season and then the next season have it completely wiped out because the weather has changed to such a large degree.

That’s just how it goes when we mess with the thermostat of this planet — when we take a rock and smash it and let it do whatever it’s going to do as we continue to stoke the fire. That’s how it works.

I thought that it was interesting looking at the history. Here’s another press release. This is September 23, 2008.

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It says, “Western Climate Initiative Cap-and-Trade Program Will Launch Green Economy,” the whole argument being that reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming would actually cause innovation, and I agree that it will.

I’ve often argued with those climate change deniers that even if it doesn’t exist, surely you can agree that energy efficiency and reducing waste, reducing pollution is a good thing. Normally, I see head nods. Normally, people agree with me there.

This is what they say. The cap-and-trade program that would launch a green economy…. I mention this because the government has cut this and then didn’t actually fulfil any of it. “When adopted after extensive collaboration and discussion, the cap-and-trade program will work in harmony with B.C.’s tax regime to slash climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, spur growth in new green technologies and help build a cleaner, more energy-self-sufficient economy.”

We were starting to go in that direction. We were starting to acknowledge that there are limits on the planet, that there is only so much pollution you can put out before there is an impact — indeed, in some cases not much at all. But we started to move in that direction. We started to acknowledge that.

There were debates about the best way to do it. Our side argued cap-and-trade was the better way. Government said cap-and-trade and carbon tax was the better way. We realized the carbon tax, of course, made sense, and we, too, supported the carbon tax eventually. That’s just the way it went.

But here, rather than doing a cap-and-trade system, the government, who was so aggressive saying it was the best thing to do, never implemented it, never put in a hard cap, never decided to work with all industrial groups to help them reduce their climate change emissions, “spur growth in new green technologies and help build a cleaner, more energy-self-sufficient economy.” That’s what they had argued for.

[R. Chouhan in the chair.]

Now, I thought that it would be interesting to look through the rest of the release. You know what it talked about? It said: “To learn more ways to save money and reduce emissions that contribute to climate change, visit www.livesmartbc.ca.” Well, you go to that website, and what do you see? Of course, LiveSmart B.C. in government documents was identified as one of the key ways British Columbia would reduce our emissions.

This is what it says. “LiveSmart B.C. helps British Columbia make green choices that save money at home, at work and on the road. Be part of the solution.” This is a modification of how LiveSmart used to be talked about. In 2008 it was talked about as a way to save money and reduce emissions. Government changed. Of course, I should notice that government changed, because they also changed the slogan of the province. They decided
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B.C. was no longer the best place on earth. We’d go back to earlier British Columbia slogans.

They changed what the definition of LiveSmart B.C. was, as well, stopped talking about climate change and started talking about saving you money. Well, what does it say now? After you click on the link and you go to LiveSmart B.C., which was argued to be one of the key ways British Columbians could address climate change, it says: “The LiveSmart B.C. rebate and incentive programs ended on March 31, 2014.”

Of course, they’d been shrunk by that point. They’d been brought in; they’d been brought out. Yes, no, up, down. What do we have now today? We’ve got a lot of great, great carpenters, we’ve got a lot of great heat pump installers and solar installers and so on who were finding ways to make a living, growing a business through LiveSmart, and then had the program disappeared to a large extent by this government, as well as any forward-looking climate action.

I raise this because I thought this legislation would have included other steps to address climate change. If we’re going to meet our targets, we would actually have a real plan to meet those targets. Rather than saying, “I can do it,” but having no plan to do it, you would actually have the plan, the action plan, so that we could all get behind it and support it.

Instead we have transit frozen; no movement on pricing of pollution; no action on the upstream, which could be around 70 percent of the emissions from this process; the need to address 56 new tonnes of CO2, potentially. Now, maybe it’s not 56. Maybe it’s a lot lower. But of course, the government won’t say. Maybe it’s a lot higher. It really depends, I suppose. The reality is that we know it’s a lot.

When we are currently at 58 million tonnes, addressing 56 million tonnes additional when we’re actually supposed to be going in the other way, is really, really challenging. Who pays the price? Well, I guess future generations, if we don’t get this fixed, if we don’t acknowledge that we need to address this crisis, if we don’t acknowledge that we can have a more efficient, a more prosperous and a more long-term respecting economy and province.

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If we don’t acknowledge those things and if we don’t actually act on those things, the costs will be very large. Well, we can make millions or billions from the LNG industry. There are also the costs, and you cannot separate the two. I guess it’s hopeful that people won’t look at costs and that we’ll continue to think of climate change as an outside issue, as something out there, not affecting us.

Some people might be able to afford an air conditioner for their homes. Many people cannot. Some people might be able to live in parts of town where you’ve got a nice breeze that pushes any pollution off you. You might be able to live in a place where maybe you won’t be as impacted by rising water levels. Of course, most countries in the world that will be impacted are poor countries where they don’t have strong infrastructures that can withstand large storms, where they don’t have that same level of public ability to act as we do here.

Even here, even here in this province, we know that…. Well, who has been impacted by large-scale storms? We only have to look at the difference between how some First Nations were treated, after the large storm out in the east part of the province and towards Calgary, in their reserves — those who had the resources to be able to bring in boats and other things to help their homes versus those who had very little ability to respond.

That’s where the fraying of society starts to take place, and we see that in many jurisdictions across the world. When you have large storms, even in the United States, those with a lot of money can bring in private security, can bring in private fire services and things like that while, of course, the infrastructure and the community frays, because those with the least are not able to and must wait much longer to be helped or protected.

There’s also intergenerational equity and respect that we must discuss here. Again, it’s not just me. It’s not just the members in this House. It’s those four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten generations from now who are going to be affected, and are affected, by the decisions we make today.

I think everybody agrees. We often talk about this in this House. But for some reason, because climate change is somehow out there, somewhere down the road — “Geez, maybe it might not really happen, so I might not really need to buckle down and reduce my emissions, buckle down and find a way to drive emissions down” — we don’t act in the same way as we would if the threat was right outside the door right now. That’s one of the issues we have with climate change.

This bill. We should note that 25 percent — and I spoke about this at the beginning — of the bill is regulations. Now, for those watching at home — I’m sure that is a few but maybe not so many as I would like to admit — regulations: what does that mean? That means the government can go away out of this House and do whatever they want without the scrutiny of folks here, without the scrutiny of those at home watching the decisions that are made. They can be done in a cabinet room, sometimes as simple as with just a signature, and completely change what’s going on.

Of course, I mentioned earlier one of the more recent examples where the government, through regulation, decided that gas plants didn’t need to be part of the environmental assessment process. That was the decision. They signed it and went away. It was announced, and it was the law of the land. Well, this bill has 25 percent of the bill dedicated to regulations, so regardless of what the government says today, the bill could be completely different, completely opposite of what the government says. They have that power, under regulation, to completely
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change intents, to change how it works.

One of the things they could do is say that the carbon tax, for example, in this legislation could be exempted. It could be taken off all of the plants. It could be taken off the entire industry. It could be taken off any industry. They could say: “No, we’ll just sign this here. We’ll take that off. It doesn’t exist anymore.” They could do that. That’s a choice they could make.

While they like to tout it as a great climate change fighter, putting a small price on pollution, they could just, at the flick of a hand, with the flick of a switch, at the signature, sign it all away and say: “No, too bad. We don’t really believe in that anymore.” Maybe the company didn’t like it too much, so now we’re not going to do that anymore. That’s a choice they could make. There are many pages of regulations in this bill which would allow them to change just about anything.

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For me, as a legislator, as somebody who is supposed to scrutinize each and every word and sentence and clause in a bill, to see that many regulations is troubling because, again, it basically takes the power out of this room. I heard a number of ministers. They’ve said: “Well, that’s just the way it’s been going. That’s the way legislation is being created now, these days.”

Frankly, that isn’t a good enough excuse. It’s an excuse. Rather than having the job done, bringing it to this House for us to see in all of its wisdom, or lack of it, they decided to bring in a bill in which a quarter of it was left for somewhere down the road. “We can maybe do this, or we can change things or not do anything at all.” That is a real problem.

Well, what else do we have? Of course, the lack of consultation. This is something that I’ve raised in this House more than a few times — the lack of consultation. Maybe I’m a person that likes to hear from the public too much. Maybe I’m guilty of caring what people say. Maybe I’m guilty that I think better legislation comes from engaging those in the world that will be affected by it. If so, yes, I am guilty. I think that more heads and more minds are better than fewer, that you get less mistakes when you have more people being able to take a look, offer advice, and make suggestions.

Well, this legislation didn’t involve that. No, it involved a closed-door meeting with a couple of LNG companies, who, of course, are looking very much after their bottom line. That’s what their corporations are set up to do. They are dedicated to making a profit for their shareholders. That’s their legal requirement. How do you do that? You have low environmental regulations, protections, because maybe they could increase costs. You have the lowest taxation possible, because again, there’s a cost. That’s their job. They argue for it that way.

I would argue that they should also be considering the long-term costs of climate change in their decisions. Some say they do. Others say, very much, that it’s just the bottom line. I think that will weaken some businesses in our world very much in the long term, as they can’t recognize that a shift is underway to more renewable power, more long term, as the price of fuel can go up because of climate change. Some will want to, I think, have a better and more sustainable plan, but that is for another day.

What do we have? There was no consultation with the public, largely consultation just with liquefied natural gas companies. A bill came forward which, surprisingly — or maybe not surprisingly — they say they can meet. They say: “Yes, we can do that.” For some, they seem to suggest it’s not that much of a challenge, that it’s really just a small piece, that it’s not that difficult for them.

If so, if what they say is true, I hope that they decide to use electrification, that they use direct drive in their plants rather than burning the gas to create the power. That would be a big drop in emissions right there. That could help. That would be one small part — of course also, if they decided it was not so difficult to get to, to go from the well to the water line, not just the plant, as the government seems to be focused on.

This bill also decides that inflation, I suppose, doesn’t exist. It decides to lock in a price. They argue it’s for the tech fund. They seem to argue…. Just as we have seen with the carbon tax — the price of pollution kept the same despite inflation changing every price elsewhere — they’ve decided that the basic impact of this will lower over time, with, of course, that provision to remove the carbon tax down the road should they so wish.

It’s a challenge. It’s a real challenge. We think that you can make more money from your gas, because, of course, we have a large amount of it in this province and there are many places across the world that would like to buy it. I’m glad of it. We have the possibility. We are a trading nation.

I look out my window, and I see boats going by where I live because we have a huge, very successful port. Many of my constituents work in the port, as a trading nation. Many of my relatives, through the businesses that they have run, of course have relied on international trade in order to succeed and in order to be able to support their families, but in order to do that, you need to recognize that there are also impacts, and they do. They understand that. They argue that we need to be thinking long-term, not just short-term. If you have a very wealthy person today and you don’t think about down the road….

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If we decided, for example, that we didn’t need a fire service, we would save money today by not having a fire service. If we put a whole bunch of money into our fancy new home because we saved so much from not having to pay for fire services, and then down the road, of course, had a massive fire, we could lose all of that wealth that we created today.

That is the risk that we face here if we do not focus on the future; if we do not focus on the impacts of the decisions we make today — an impact on the planet; if we
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do not ensure that we have the lowest impact on the environment in LNG creation; if we do not ensure that we’re doing it in a responsible and a reasonable way, rather than just overpromising and then getting rid of any environmental protections, any sort of financial benefit to British Columbians and any sort of support for British Columbia’s workers.

We will not be doing the people of this province justice, we will not be doing the future justice if we do not acknowledge the real threat that climate change poses for our farmers, our cities, our forestry-dependent communities, our shellfish industry, our fishing industry, our tourism industry. You cannot name one industry in this province, one person that will not be impacted or, indeed, has not already been impacted by climate change in this province or, indeed, in the world.

If we continue on a trajectory where we push off tough decisions to the future in terms of how we lower our emissions, we are going to make it even harder and even more expensive to make the changes that are required. Indeed, we’ve seen that. We’ve seen that long-term. As we push it down the road, as the emissions in the atmosphere increase globally, we have a real problem for us. We have a real problem for the future.

We also have an opportunity. I believe we have the opportunity to have one of the greenest building sectors in this province, some of the cleanest homes, the cleanest industries in this province. New technology that we can sell the world that will buy it in droves because it will reduce their emissions and it will reduce their energy usage. Our brains — using our knowledge industry, our creative industry. We can be leaders in that.

That requires us all to work hard. That requires a government with leadership, a government that decides to make this a top priority — not a priority for somebody else, but a priority for all of us. This is an opportunity for change, and this is an opportunity for growth. This is an opportunity for incredible wealth in our province if we address the climate change challenge, but it’s not going to be addressed alone, and it’s not going to be addressed by somebody else. It has got to be addressed by each and every one of us.

This bill could have done that. It could have shown a way forward. It could have shown a path that could drastically reduce emissions from natural gas while supporting a natural gas industry. It could have done that. It didn’t. It could have addressed the entire natural gas industry from well to waterline. It refused to do that, very purposefully, as the government has changed their story.

They’ve changed their lines, as they’ve decided to go from saying that it was all going to be clean to saying that maybe only just a little part of it is going to be somewhat clean. They were going to say that we were going to have all of this money, to saying: “Well, maybe we won’t have so much, but oh yeah, don’t worry; it’s all going to be great anyway.”

They could have been honest about it from the beginning at the election. That’s what we would like: a discussion, collaboration, deciding to break down the barriers between us and them; deciding that no, there is not one right party in the province and one party that never gets listened to before deciding that “My team is better than your team, or your team is better than my team” — deciding in a spirit of collaboration and deciding in a spirit that this is a challenge that faces each and every one of us now.

We need to get into the fight with it together. We may debate how we address it, but surely we can all agree that we need to address climate change now. It’s one of the biggest issues facing our generation, facing our entire planet and facing our future.

I will close off debate for now. I know there are many others keen to address the challenge of climate change, to speak about this legislation and about how we could improve this legislation. I hope we get more than that. I hope we get real ideas and not just: “We should stand pat and let things be as they are.” I fear we may hear that from the other side, but hopefully I’ll be surprised. I am eternally optimistic.

I thank you for the time, hon. Speaker.

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D. Barnett: I support this necessary piece of legislation. We need to move forward with the legislative framework for B.C.’s liquefied natural gas industry, as we need to create certainty for business and investors and, most importantly, for British Columbians, who are owners of this resource. They need to know what’s in it for them.

Currently there are 18 potential LNG projects in British Columbia that have invested more than $7 billion to acquire natural gas assets in British Columbia. An additional $2 billion has been invested in preparation for construction of B.C. LNG infrastructure.

I want the citizens of Cariboo-Chilcotin and of British Columbia to know that it’s not going to put another tax burden on the consumers of British Columbia, as it is part of our export industry. It also won’t be another tax bill for an energy project. There are also no immediate impacts on the province’s fiscal plan. This legislation is another step towards providing the certainty companies need to move toward making final investment decisions.

W.A.C. Bennett had a vision for what British Columbia could be, and he knew that eventually, with the access to electricity and those dams created, business would start up, industries would flourish, and we would use that electricity today. He had a vision, and it worked.

With this framework of legislation in place, industries and business will flourish and continue to flourish in this province. Success in developing a thriving LNG export sector will lead to continued and increased funding to our health care system, so important given our aging population.

The framework introduced specifies this resource
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that will responsibly develop and protect our environment and help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Our commitment to the cleanest LNG has not wavered. British Columbia’s LNG industry will be globally competitive. This is because B.C. has been a global climate action leader since we introduced our climate action plan in 2008, and we are currently developing options for an update to this plan. The liquefaction of natural gas is an energy- and emissions-intensive process. It takes time. However, natural gas is still part of a global climate solution.

B.C. is now competing with jurisdictions globally to be part of this LNG supply. Our government promised the cleanest LNG facilities in the world, and that is exactly what we will be delivering. This is a chance, not a windfall. It will not be simply given to us but achieved after a lot of hard work. We’ll continue to lay the groundwork for the cleanest LNG industry in the world without violating B.C.’s legal requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, and by getting people in countries to switch to using it, the planet and future generations will be better off. LNG is worth fighting for. The proposed LNG industry is a worldwide pollution fighter because it will replace dirty coal with cleaner-burning natural gas in Asian countries, especially China. We truly will be a global leader in clean LNG, because we are committed to having the cleanest LNG facilities. In fact, our facilities will address greenhouse gases to a higher standard than any other LNG facilities in the world.

Based on a targeted review of criteria established by leading jurisdictions, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, B.C.’s new interim air quality objectives are among the best in the world when looking at other jurisdictions.

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The legislation in Bill 2 will permit companies to purchase greenhouse gas offsets and contribute to a technology fund to reach the benchmark. It will cover all GHG emissions from the point where natural gas enters the plant to where it is loaded onto a ship, train or other transportation system for delivery to market. The benchmark allows facility operators to choose between investing in GHG emission reductions at their facility or elsewhere in B.C.

Our government is demonstrating climate leadership with real action — and make a real difference in communities all over B.C., including my constituency of Cariboo-Chilcotin. We will continue to advance our efforts to reduce overall emissions while ensuring a strong, growing economy.

This past June we proudly announced the achievement of our first interim greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 6 percent below 2007 levels by 2012. We also know that as we move forward, we have the opportunity to see investment across sectors. New measures in every sector are going to help B.C. reach its long-term climate change goals in tandem with the buildout of the LNG industry. The province will be releasing its plans to achieve this in the coming months.

We also have opportunities to significantly reduce emissions in the building sector through the use of climate-friendly construction. Our government will seize global leadership by reducing GHGs while adding jobs and stimulating economic growth, guaranteeing revenue flow for the next generation of British Columbians.

We are building on the vision that W.A.C. Bennett had, because we have faith in British Columbians. We believe this overall framework strikes the right balance between a competitive economic environment and a fair return to all British Columbians and generations to come.

Unlike the previous speaker, the MLA for Vancouver–West End, who spoke before me, we can grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time. The NDP should come clean and say yes or no to LNG.

A. Weaver: There are moments in our lives that serve as turning points. For me, one of those moments was on February 19, 2008. On that day, I sat on the floor of this chamber for the first time as the hon. Carole Taylor presented a vision for British Columbia, one that attempted to redefine the legacy we would leave our children.

The vision wasn’t hers alone. It was the vision of then Premier Gordon Campbell, it was the vision of his Environment Minister, the hon. Barry Penner, and it was the vision of the majority of British Columbians.

It was also the vision of the province’s Climate Action Team. Created in 2007, the province’s Climate Action Team comprised a body of experts around the province that included the now member for Cariboo-Chilcotin, who at the time was the mayor of the district of 100 Mile House. I, too, had the great privilege of serving on the Climate Action Team.

That day was a turning point for me. It was a day when I was incredibly proud to be a British Columbian. My government, our government, took a bold step forward in recognizing that while British Columbia may represent a drop in the proverbial bucket of international greenhouse gas emissions, it was important to demonstrate leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Government also realized that demonstrating leadership was an economic opportunity.

As I watched this progress start to unravel back in 2012, I decided I could no longer sit on the sidelines. I had to get involved myself. So here I am today, in part thanks to the work that we did back in 2008.

That day was also a turning point in British Columbia’s history. It not only put us on a path to lead the continent in climate policy but stood as a testament to what could be accomplished when experts from around the prov-
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ince come together with the government to help answer an essential question: in the context of all the challenges we are facing, what can we do today to offer our children a brighter future?

When the Climate Action Team was assembled in 2007, it was tasked with three actions. First, to offer expert advice to the province’s cabinet committee on climate action on the most credible, aggressive and economically viable targets possible for 2012 and 2016. Second, to identify further actions in the short and medium term to reduce emissions and meet the 2020 target. Third, to provide advice on the provincial government’s commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2010.

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Earlier in 2007 the provincial government had enacted the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act. I had the privilege of sitting in the gallery, again with the member for Cariboo-Chilcotin, the day the legislation was introduced and read for the first time. The government set a bold yet achievable 2020 target of reducing our emissions by 33 percent below 2007 levels and a 2050 target of reducing our emissions by 80 percent below 2007 levels.

Starting at roughly 64.3 million tonnes of emissions in 2007, by 2020 we were tasked with reducing our emissions to 42.9 million tonnes, and by 2050 we were tasked with reducing our emissions to 12.8 million tonnes. Those targets were enshrined in law precisely because they were grounded in necessity.

Together with business leaders, scientists and policy experts, the Climate Action Team reviewed existing scientific literature and best-in-practice economic and environmental policy options. We rose to the challenges to which we were tasked, and our efforts culminated in the publication of our final report on August 6, 2008.

The report balanced environmental needs with economic needs, and we determined that to have an impact, our interim targets and policy recommendations needed to be bold yet practical. They needed to be grounded in climate science yet viable for business. Together government, academics, industry leaders and First Nations made recommendations on innovative policies to address one of the most pressing issues of our time, and that is, of course, global warming. We did so in the context of strong economic policy.

Since the rollout of those and other greenhouse gas mitigation policies began in 2008, we’ve seen our economy outperform the Canadian average. We’ve seen up-and-coming sectors like the technology sector become the second-largest contributor to private sector job growth, supplying 84,000 jobs for British Columbians and revenues of $18 billion a year. We’ve seen mining output and exports double in the last ten years, and we have seen more than $18 billion added to our provincial GDP.

We did all of this while reducing our carbon emissions by over 4 percent from 2007 to 2012, the most recent date, of course, for which official data are available.

In fact, published studies have clearly concluded that the 2008 and subsequent climate policies have successfully reduced carbon emissions while still supporting economic growth. To quote the former Finance Minister, the hon. Carole Taylor, the government offered a new vision for our province that confronted and completely overturned “the outdated notion that you have to choose either a healthy environment or a strong economy. That’s simply not the case. That either-or thinking belongs to the past.”

In 2008 our province boldly strode down a path that was grounded in real leadership and prosperous economic growth. That vision, those policies are being dismantled with this legislation. I cannot stress this enough.

Just this week September 2014 was announced as the warmest September on record. This announcement came a month after a similar one citing August 2014 as the warmest August on record. Before that June 2014 was the warmest June on record. Before that May 2014, the warmest May on record, and April 2014, the warmest April on record.

In fact, and this statistic is very important, the last time a monthly cold record was set was in December 1916. And I repeat that: the last time a cold monthly record was set was in December 1916, yet every monthly heat record has been post-1997.

All around us we see the impacts global warming is having on the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events. It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to step up, to show leadership and to put our province back on the right course.

The simple fact is that we cannot build an LNG export industry governed by emissions intensity regulations like the ones proposed by the government and still meet our legislated climate targets. There are no two ways about it. The emissions from LNG are too big for accounting tricks and numbers games, and no bill can fix it.

According to estimates from the Pembina Institute, an LNG industry of the size proposed by the government would emit roughly 73 million tonnes of carbon pollution. That’s more than the emissions from every other sector of our economy combined.

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To meet our 2050 climate targets with an LNG industry of that size, we would have to reduce provincial emissions, which currently stand at 62 million tonnes, by 122 million tonnes. In other words, we would have to double the already bold commitments we set in 2008. That’s just simply not possible.

As a pundit told me, through LNG the government has promised a Ferrari in everybody’s driveway. The reality is that if we want to meet these emissions, we’re really promising British Columbians a bicycle, because they cannot use cars if we’re going to have this LNG industry and actually meet our targets.

By Pembina’s estimates, even one LNG plant would
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likely emit 12 million tonnes of carbon pollution. That one LNG plant on its own would emit as much as our entire province under the 2050 target. I’m not making this stuff up. These are the numbers. You can pretend they don’t exist, or you can actually do the math yourself.

If we leave aside Pembina’s estimates for a moment and instead look at the government’s numbers, the story is the same. Even if we meet the government’s “cleanest LNG” — whatever that means — scenario with an LNG emissions intensity of 0.16 carbon dioxide–equivalent tonnes for each tonne of liquefied natural gas produced, if B.C. exports 81 million tonnes of LNG each year, our downstream carbon emissions, on their own, would total 13 million tonnes.

To be clear, that calculation, as the member for Vancouver–West End pointed out, doesn’t even include upstream emissions, which count for roughly 70 percent of all emissions in the LNG supply chain. The downstream emissions on their own, and under the best-case scenario, would equal the total provincial carbon emissions set for 2050.

I mean, I’m not making this stuff up. I just don’t understand where the government’s mind is when they think that they can meet their 2050 and 2020 emissions targets and have five LNG plants.

The upstream emissions could add well over 43 million tonnes to the numbers I just cited, in addition, entirely blowing our legislated climate targets out of the window. I mean, I chuckle. I shouldn’t chuckle, because this is very serious, but I chuckle at the absurdity of the government’s direction in this piece of legislation.

The fact is this bill is an attempt to pull the wool over British Columbians’ eyes, to make us think we are reducing carbon emissions when instead we would actually be doing the opposite. If we pass this bill, we may as well say goodbye to all of the progress we worked so hard for — including the member for Cariboo-Chilcotin, who sat on the Climate Action Team with me — in 2008. We will be stepping into an era as one of the most polluting provinces in Canada, joining our friends Alberta and Saskatchewan as laggards in the climate change mitigation game.

This legislation would see us make a distinct shift from an innovative, made-in-B.C. approach to absolute reductions in the magnitude of our gashouse gas emissions, to a made-in-Alberta, Harper-government approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity — which, as we know from the Alberta experience, permits an overall increase in the magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, the climate system does not care about intensity. It cares about magnitude, and to pretend otherwise is not being truthful to oneself. It’s clear to me that this bill is ill-considered, misleading and a clear signal that we are losing our leadership in addressing global warming.

C. Trevena: We’ve lost it.

A. Weaver: Thank you to the member for North Island here, who pointed out that actually we’ve lost our leadership, not are losing it.

When I read through the legislation before us, I couldn’t help but wonder why British Columbia has veered off its path towards substantive emissions reduction and instead moved down a road paved by Alberta.

What do I mean by a road paved in Alberta? Well, it’s truly remarkable to see the similarity between our new legislation here today and Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Act, as amended in 2007, together with its accompanying Specified Gas Emitters Regulation.

What this Alberta legislation and regulation did was require heavy emitters of greenhouse gases — and in the Alberta context I mean over 100,000 tonnes per year there — to reduce their emissions intensity, not their absolute magnitude of emissions, by 12 percent.

It gave large emitters four ways to accomplish this: (1) making operating improvements; (2) buying Alberta-based offsets; (3) buying emissions performance credits — i.e., any excess emissions intensity reductions; (4) paying $15 per tonne into a technology fund. While the technology fund, as the member for Vancouver–West End pointed out, has not really worked in Alberta, it does set the stage for quite a number of photo opportunities for those claiming to actually be taking measures to mitigate climate change.

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Does all of this sound familiar? It should. These are precisely the same four actions that this legislation will allow LNG facilities to take to meet their emissions intensity targets, at only a slightly higher cost per tonne in B.C., although there have been musings in Alberta about raising the cost to 40 bucks per tonne.

Now, here’s the problem again. Our climate does not care about emissions intensity. It doesn’t care how much carbon is in a particular tonne of emissions coming from an LNG facility. Our climate cares about the overall magnitude of carbon pollution a facility would release and how much carbon pollution is in our atmosphere.

Under an emissions intensity model, the overall magnitude of emissions can increase substantially even while emissions intensity is falling. So why are we going down this path? Because the government knows, as any scientist does, that emissions are going to skyrocket if we develop our LNG industry.

An Alberta or Harper government–style emissions intensity model will provide the illusion of action — let me repeat, the illusion of action — on global warming at the same time as our overall magnitude of emissions continues to increase. That’s all this is: the illusion of action. To pretend otherwise is to be dishonest to ourselves. All one has to do is compare Alberta’s and B.C.’s emissions
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records over the last few years, and one will see that while B.C.’s emissions declined, Alberta’s continued to rise.

This government’s approach to Alberta or Harper government–style emissions intensity reductions is why this act will also repeal the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act. The 2008 Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act was one of many pieces of legislation brought in by the provincial government under the leadership — and I say leadership — of Premier Campbell. This act was specifically designed as enabling legislation to allow British Columbia to join its Western Climate Initiative partners, like Washington, Oregon, California, Manitoba and Quebec, to create a larger market for carbon trading.

As economists will tell you, the larger the region, the more economically efficient the cap-and-trade system would be. In repealing the 2008 Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act, this legislation attempts to take the elements of a good piece of well-thought-out legislation and embed it into a politically driven process. The government is doing this because a cap-and-trade model puts a limit on the magnitude of emissions, and any limit, as such, would be inconsistent with the dramatic increase in emissions that we will see with this proposed yet entirely hypothetical LNG industry.

Again, we may decrease the emissions intensity, but the atmosphere really does not care about that. It only cares about the magnitude of emissions, and this bill is systematically designed to allow for a dramatic increase in emissions, right down to the repealing of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act.

On September 22 the government issued a media release entitled “Statements by West Coast on the United Nations 2014 Climate Summit.” In it the Premier proudly proclaimed: “British Columbia has proven that there’s no need to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy. B.C.’s revenue-neutral carbon tax has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while encouraging more sustainable economic development and competitive tax rates.”

Compelling statements about the importance of dealing with global warming were incorporated in the press release from Governor Brown from California, Governor Kitzhaber from Oregon and Governor Inslee from Washington.

In the last few years we have made significant progress with our Pacific coast action plan on climate and energy partners, progress that would see the magnitude of emissions decline in a way that is consistent with continued, strong economic growth. This legislation would undermine that progress. I cannot stress this enough. Now is not the time to turn our backs on the progress that has been made. If we are not going to scrap this bill, then at the very least we should take the time necessary to properly consider its consequences.

With that in mind, hon. Speaker, I would like to table a hoist motion.

[I move that the motion for second reading on Bill 2, Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, 2014 be amended by deleting the word “now” and substituting the words “6 months hence”.]

I have here copies of this signed hoist motion.

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Deputy Speaker: Continue, Member.

On the amendment.

A. Weaver: Please allow me to speak to the reason why I put this hoist motion forward. I’ve spent much of my life working to improve our understanding of the science in past, present and future climate change and variability. My work took me to the forefront of international efforts in climate science. I’ve helped create an understanding of how changes in radiative forcing, amplified through feedback mechanisms operating internal to the climate system, allow for an explanation of the variations of climate change over the last 130,000 years.

I have been involved in local, provincial, national and international efforts to provide decision-makers with up-to-date scientific assessments of how increasing greenhouse gas in aerosol emissions, together with land use change, will impact society both now and into the future.

This did not happen overnight. I spent more than two decades pointing out the risks associated with unmitigated global warming, and I’ve advised decision-makers at all levels of government and industry of both the consequences of taking imminent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the opportunities that come when we do take action.

Now, I recognize that there are members on the government side of this House that believe — as calculated by Archbishop James Ussher, who lived from 1581 to 1656 — that the earth was created on Sunday the 23rd of October, 4004 BC — making tomorrow particularly notable as the earth’s 6,017th birthday. I also recognize that there are members on the government side of the House that believe that libertarian blog sites constitute primary sources for scientific information.

Nevertheless, it is a step forward that this government historically, and governments around the world, no longer believe it to be responsible, at least in words, to take the position that human-caused global warming is not changing the world we live in and that mitigation and adaptation strategies aren’t an imperative.

Those jurisdictions that were the first to recognize the risks and also saw the opportunities that addressing climate change could offer are prospering. For example, Germany is far ahead of much of the world with its policies. It has made the adaptation and mitigation of climate change a key factor in how it develops its economy. China is also seizing the economic opportunities afforded by developing low-carbon technologies.

This is why we need the time to reflect upon the deci-
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sions that we are dealing with today — because what’s at stake is so incredibly important.

In the case of Germany, instead of focusing on one industry, Germany has developed clean technologies industry that permeates through their entire economy. As reported in Bloomberg in 2012, the clean tech industry in Germany is set to double in size by 2025, creating new jobs and new opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Germany’s massive effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, while opening the doors to the development of a new industry, is called Energiewende and is among the world’s largest proposed shifts from carbon-based energy to renewable power. This is not to say that we can follow Germany’s example step by step. That, of course, isn’t desirable.

Instead, what we need to explore are made-in-B.C. solutions. In fact, until recently this is exactly what we were doing in B.C. British Columbia was once a leader in North America, bringing into law the first carbon tax on the continent. We established clear greenhouse gas emission targets and enshrined these into law. Again, this was done not as a cheap political talking point but because real, honest steps to address climate change were grounded in necessity if we wished future generations of British Columbians to prosper.

When we singularly focus on LNG, we fail to value the sectors in B.C. that actually exhibit promise for growth. For example, the Canadian clean tech sector tripled in size from 2012 to 2013. This was a sector that was growing in B.C. and one that we had all the tools necessary to develop further. The educated workforce; the cheap, renewable power; and the creativity and courage required to show leadership were at one point all present in British Columbia.

This industry, along with others that are becoming mainstays of our 21st-century economy, requires a focus on developing diversified industries that provide local, well-paying and sustainable employment over the long term. They are also developed with an understanding that it is our responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is why the decision we are making today should not be taken lightly. Hence, the reason why more time needs to be put before this legislation is brought for a vote.

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What is different about this path than the LNG pipedream is that economic development goes hand in hand with reducing emissions. These are not separate initiatives brought together. Instead, they are addressed simultaneously. We can meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets by prioritizing the growth of this clean tech part of our economy.

The foil to this is the legislation we have before us, which is why we need more time to actually examine it. Rather than looking for win-win opportunities, this bill implies a massive increase in our greenhouse gas emissions stemming from LNG.

Government suggests that we’ll rely on other industries and individual British Columbians to take up the slack and reduce their emissions even further to account for the balance. As I said before, the reason why we need so much time to think about this piece of legislation is that while the government is promising a Ferrari in everybody’s backyard, the reality is that all we’re going to get is a bicycle or a scooter if we’re going to actually have our legislated targets being met.


A. Weaver: It is, indeed, green. But you tell all the British Columbians that they are not allowed to drive a car because of the inability of government to actually work out the numbers in the policy it’s developing. I don’t want to be that person. You can be that person.

I want to give British Columbians hope — real hope, not hope based on a pipedream, an economic windfall that will not happen. At the same time it’ll destroy the legislation that has been brought into our chamber here by true leaders in our economy — the former government of this province, not the present government.

This bill…. I got off track there. I got moved to speak passionately against the heckling from afar, from a member who, I suspect, believes that the world is 6,017 years old, as opposed to the age of the earth actually starting about four billion years ago.

Again, without time to reflect upon this current bill, we will be turning our backs on our Pacific coast action plan partners and on the real climate leadership that we established in 2008. We need to take this very seriously. We need time to reflect upon this. Instead of reducing emissions and working our way towards a regional cap-and-trade framework, we will be shifting towards a made-in-Alberta emissions intensity framework, a made-by-Stephen-Harper emissions intensity framework.

Is this what the government wants to tell British Columbians — that our policy is being made in Alberta by Stephen Harper and his cronies in the Alberta government? This is not what I would like to tell British Columbians, but the honesty before us is that this is what government should be telling British Columbians. This is not made-in-B.C. policy. This is mirroring Alberta policy to put in place emissions intensity arguments so that you don’t have to do anything about emissions reductions.

The sad fact is that passing the bill without us thinking about the consequences and delaying it before bringing it to vote is that in its current form we would essentially be turning our backs on the progress we’ve made in British Columbia and all the good work that has been done in terms of reducing emissions since 2008.

When we consider the trends of our neighbours, this legislation — if we pass it today, as opposed to thinking
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about it and reconsidering it six months hence — represents a move away from the progress and hope that the Pacific action plan on climate and energy heralded just last year.

When our province came together with California, Washington and Oregon, the latter two states vowed to join California and B.C. in putting a price on carbon. This was a monumental step forward for both action on climate change and for building a 21st-century economy on the west coast of North America. Our carbon tax policies were held up as a shining example of how to take action on climate change without hurting the economy.

Washington and Oregon are already taking steps to follow our lead and California’s lead in putting a price on carbon. Currently they are actively determining precisely how they will do this and whether they will adopt a cap-and-trade framework or a carbon tax.

The trouble is that we don’t have these details yet. This is a fast-moving area, and the developments are still unfolding. Why are we rushing to legislate major changes — including the repealing of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act — that could undermine our partnerships with our friends to the south before we even know how our neighbours are going to proceed?

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Surely they’re not looking to British Columbia for leadership now, as they used to. So why don’t we wait and see what leadership they will offer us, rather than throwing it all away from our past legislation?

We have a rare window of opportunity to come together with other west coast jurisdictions and live up to our word and our commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By seizing this opportunity, we will be able to move forward together in a united approach to tackling our emissions. We cannot do this if we rush this legislation through. We may be able to do it if we take more time to consider the ramifications of this bill.

However, there is more to this than simply reducing our carbon emissions. The steps we took in 2008 opened up a new and vast sector of our economy with vast economic opportunities for British Columbian businesses. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is our clean tech sector, which I’ve already discussed. This sector has experienced significant growth in the years following 2008.

When the details emerge as to how Washington and Oregon are going to enact carbon pricing, B.C. will be in a much better position to assess the economic opportunities that our partnerships with those U.S. states present.

Will they go cap-and-trade? We don’t know just yet. We know California has. We know Quebec has joined them. Why are we repealing cap-and-trade legislation in B.C. that was actually put in place so that we might join our partners? Washington and Oregon may go there, and we’ll be left out, yet again on the sidelines of international policy.

Instead of putting our current progress and these potential new opportunities at risk by rushing this legislation through, we could use this extra time to explore opportunities that are presented by collaborative cap-and-trade schemes with our neighbouring states.

Our LNG industry — this hypothetical industry, which may or may not transpire — could actually participate in a broader economic jurisdiction in terms of capping emissions and trading emissions, efficiently reducing emissions broadly in the North American context, as opposed to the made-in-Alberta, Harper Tory, emissions intensity non-reduction policies that are being brought forward in this legislation.

In a time when international cooperation on climate change is rare, taking the time to properly consider the potential for such a harmonized carbon-pricing zone is well worth it. As our neighbours move forward and look to join us in putting a price on carbon, now is not the time to guarantee massive increases in emissions, to compromise the gains we have made or to abdicate the leadership role we previously had in this area.

It is also not sufficient to claim that this legislation, at some point down the road, will actually find offsets in other jurisdictions — perhaps in China, perhaps in Alberta. Who actually really knows?

There are ten pages of regulatory power in the legislation, which we have not had time and the general public have not had time to go through in detail to determine the consequences of. Yet these ten pages in the legislation essentially grant the government carte blanche to call whatever they want “an offset,” whenever they want an offset, whoever they want to do an offset with, at any time they want.

It essentially says: “Government makes up the rules as they want to go along.” And we’re trying to think about passing this legislation today without the time to properly reflect upon the consequences on British Columbia’s reputation not only in Canada, not only in North America but globally. Where once we were thought of as leaders, we will surely follow the way our federal government has gone and be viewed as laggards here.

You can pretend that we have these legislated targets on the books. You can pretend that this emissions-intensity legislation is going to somehow meet these targets. The reality is: it, along with the LNG hype, is nothing more than a pipedream.

The reality is that this government today has lost credibility, through this legislation, on its past, present and future performance on any action to do with climate change mitigation. The reality is that you, the government, are trying to pull the wool over British Columbians’ eyes, trying to pull the wool over North Americans’ eyes, trying to pull the wool over the eyes of our friends around the world and claim that we are still leaders, when we are not.

We are moving away from leadership to becoming a
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laggard, as I have underlined several times, just like our federal government. Shame on the government. Shame on them for bringing this legislation forward.

I certainly hope that they will support this amendment and actually delay it six months, so that we — the opposition, the people of British Columbia, the people in Canada, our friends to the south, our friends elsewhere — will have time to look, reflect and think about this.

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To my friends and members opposite, this will also give you time to go and move past the conservative blog sites that you so love to look at to find the things you love to back the opinions you have and actually go and read a few scientific papers. Go to the peer-reviewed literature. Take a look and see the predicament that this world is in because of irresponsible legislation that you are putting forward today in our Legislature.

Shame on the government. Shame on the people who voted for this government. This bill needs to be delayed, and I urge you to support this hoist motion today.

Hon. M. Polak: Very briefly, I always respect the principled and consistent stand that the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head takes. He’s made that clear. I’m sure he won’t be surprised to know that I will not be recommending to government side that we support the hoist motion.

C. Trevena: I have to say I’m disappointed that the Minister of Environment has so quickly dismissed the idea of supporting the hoist motion. We have the opportunity here to debate this, about why it may or may not be good. I have to thank my colleague, my friend from Oak Bay–Gordon Head, for introducing this motion, because it does allow that six months to get this right.

What is so very clear is that Bill 2, the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, is very, very damaging. It’s damaging not just to B.C.’s reputation, not just to this whole, I think, now strange and ethereal concept that we may be an environmental leader. It’s damaging to our environment, and it’s damaging to our contribution to trying to combat climate change, if we are to make any contribution.

Getting this piece of legislation right is incumbent on us. If we do accept a hoist motion, if the government would actually participate and listen to the debate before shutting down the idea, we could possibly add to the Premier’s check box, which is that she wants to see the greenest LNG in the world. This is what she’s been promising.

She has been standing up front and centre. When she has been talking about what we’ve been on this side of the House talking about, the pipe dream of LNG, the fact that it’s being so oversold…. When the Premier is talking about the fact that we have all these hundreds of thousands of jobs, trillions of dollars, all this that’s going to happen, she’s also been standing up and saying very clearly: “The cleanest LNG in the world.”

This bill that we have before us, which is the environmental side of the LNG debate — that piece which will bring the cleanest LNG — is lacking. It is lacking considerably.

There are so many different areas. I’m very glad I’ve got some time to speak. One of my real concerns, which I’ll speak on in more detail later on in my remarks….

But in the fact that it is lacking, I think this bill in itself acknowledges that it is lacking. From page 46, under the “General” section of the bill, right to the very end of the bill, where we get to the transition, repeal, consequential amendments and commencement — the start date of this — it talks about regulations on how this bill will work. We need the regulations, but what this is talking about is effectively handing over the details of this piece of legislation, the complete details of the legislation, to the cabinet to draw up how it’s going to come into effect.

Surely if we had the six months to debate it, if we had this chance as my friend from Oak Bay–Gordon Head suggests, if we had that six months to look at it, perhaps we could come back with consensus and with a complete bill — not with something that says: “Well, actually we wanted to get something in really quickly. We’re running out of time. We’ve been promising this for the longest time, and now our deadline is here. We’re at crunch time. We haven’t finished it, but maybe nobody will notice, and we’ll just put it all in for regulation.”

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This gives the government, the whole government…. And if you do what is appropriate in something as significant as this….

If this is the industry that is going to be the saviour of B.C., as has been portrayed by the government, if this is going to be the industry that is going to be leading us on and creating…. I know that there is still some vague hope. I think most people have written off, but the Premier still stands up, stood up today in this House and talked about the prosperity fund and, again, all the jobs.

If there is any hope that we are going to have a leading industry here that is the cleanest in B.C., we should all, as a complete province, be talking about this. This should be going out to…. We should be having full committees on this. We should be getting experts in to attest to this. We should be engaging people, not with some bogus consultation in the way that this government usually does consultation. We should be having real consultation, using our committee system that is part of our Legislature. We should be really engaging experts and individuals in this so we get this right. So we then can stand up and talk about cleanest LNG. We can then talk about that we really are going to achieve our climate action goals.

A few years ago now…. It was mentioned that it was 2008. It was back when we were still getting ambitious and lofty lists of ideas and visions from the B.C. Liberal
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government. We don’t seem to get that anymore. We get very lightweight ideas now. Back in 2008 the then Premier, Gordon Campbell, came in with his — my biblical allusions are just going — road to Damascus.


C. Trevena: We had Saul going on the road to Damascus, and suddenly we had a Premier who stood up and said: “This is something we have to deal with.” He had his Pauline conversion on the road to Damascus. I thank my friend from Nanaimo for reminding me which biblical allusion I was referring to.

We had the Premier who had his Pauline conversion. Suddenly climate change was the big thing, and we had to do everything to fight it. We were leaders. There was controversy about it. No question there was controversy about just how it went ahead. But things were happening. There were goals there. This government, under the present Premier, seems to have forgotten that climate change is an issue that governments can take seriously, and they can take in hand. And it is their responsibility to take in hand.

We have an industry that is professed to be fantastically green and fantastically environmentally friendly. But it doesn’t happen overnight. You’ve got to have laws. You’ve got to have regulations. You’ve got to have rules. You’ve got to have more than guidelines. You’ve got to have the carrot and the stick.

Encourage people to come, sure. Encourage industry to come. We have the gas that is going to be extracted. Encourage the industries to come, and make sure that they are doing it to the best environmental standards possible for the benefit of all the people of B.C., for the benefit of our First Nations and for ensuring that — and we will have this discussion later — we all get, as a province, the just rewards from that industry.

The environmental side of it. I think it’s quite incredible that we are here, in 2014, even having a discussion on something that is so flimsy, when we do have the opportunity of either the government could have got this right the first time or the government will take up the idea of the hoist motion and take it back to get it right this time. We all know that climate change is real, and we all know that we can do something to combat it.

Now, again, there are climate change deniers, and there is no question about that. Here we are in this chamber. I would hope that in reality we all realize this is something that is our responsibility to take head on. As a provincial government, we can’t do everything, but we can do something. While I fundamentally disagreed with Mr. Campbell in so many of his areas, he did actually acknowledge this was something that we, as a province, needed to tackle. And where we’ve disagreed about the way it was going to be tackled, it still does need to be tackled. We, as a province, can tackle that.

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My friend from Vancouver–West End was talking about the precautionary principle. I’d go further than that. We on this side of the House have been talking about the whole concept of Sustainable B.C. We were talking about this for about five or six years, about how to ensure that there is a sustainability throughout what we do here. This is the sort of idea that a government can take on, and push through strong legislation as well as bringing people on through ideas, through discussion.

This is not going to do that. This is a very retrograde act. Instead of looking at climate change as our moral responsibility here in the 21st century…. We do have to acknowledge that we have a climate that is warming. It’s not just the fact that it was a really hot summer and that it’s been a really hot fall. But we can see it. We see the bigger wind storms, the big wind storm that hit Metro Vancouver last night. We are seeing a lot more wind storms. We’re seeing a lot wetter weather here on the west coast. We’re seeing that.

Again, it doesn’t take much to find out about this. We’re seeing the melting of the polar ice cap. We’re seeing the melting in the Antarctic. We’re seeing the impact that that’s having on wildlife. We’re seeing that that’s happening on the tundra.

There are huge areas that we are very well aware of that we as a province can contribute to if we are serious, if we don’t go, as this bill does, and say: “Well, you know, we’ve got these standards, these targets, but if you don’t meet them, don’t worry. You can buy some offsets here, and we’ll actually help you out here. We’ll actually give you some public money if you’re not making your targets, because you really deserve it.”

The multi-billion-dollar, multinational energy corporation will be, according to this legislation as it stands at the moment, getting money from the province to help out if they don’t meet their emission standards. I mean, how farcical can this be? That is why, if the hoist motion isn’t accepted, I would hope the government just says, “Okay, we got it wrong. We’re going to tear it up and start all over again,” rather than trying to fix what is such a flimsy and wrong-headed and, in fact, wrong piece of legislation.

This is our opportunity to literally seize change. We’ve been talking about LNG. We keep having the comments: “What side are you on?” We on this side of the House have talked about LNG and the need to get it right, the need to support an industry that is working, as I mentioned, with a number of caveats. We want to see this happening, but one of the caveats is that we’ve got to make sure we get it environmentally right.

We’ve got to, also, I think…. Here we all stand up every so often and talk about our grandchildren. I had the great privilege early in the spring session to talk about my first grandchild. We all stand up and talk about, you know, “Let’s announce our grandbabies.” We are announcing our grandbabies because we are investing in our future.
[ Page 4845 ]

We are working here not just for our grandbabies but everybody’s grandchildren. We are working here for our future. We are working here, as the First Nations say in some areas, for the seventh generation. That takes with it responsibility. That takes with it the responsibility to get environmental bills right. If we don’t get our environmental bills right, we are selling out, at a very dangerous rate, the future for those grandchildren whom we love, for those great-grandchildren we’re expecting to come along, for everybody’s grandchildren.

We’re not working for 85 people here. We are working for the province, and we, as well, have a responsibility, as a province, to the country and, as Canadians, to the rest of the world.

We used to be seen as leaders environmentally. We also used to be seen as leaders in peacekeeping and in various other areas. We are failing miserably on this as a country and, I would attest, with this bill, very much provincially. It is misconceived on so very many levels, and I would like to just talk about a few specifics in the time that I have.

One is that it offers LNG companies some flexibility. There’s a benchmark. Again, I’m not a scientist. I listen to scientists. I listen to people who explain to me some of the issues. We have the flexibility on the greenhouse gas intensity.

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I must say I was listening attentively to my friend from Oak Bay–Gordon Head. If there is one expert in this room on this, I think that we should all respect that he was on the former Premier’s Climate Action Team. It’s something he’s worked on for many years — so listen to that, when he’s talking about the emissions and what a falsity it is to accept that.

Even accepting that the intensity issue is not a credible issue to be talking about, this is what the government is basing its legislation on, the intensity of emissions and benchmarks of intensity. Even with that, this legislation offers companies flexibility within that. You have something that is not a credible measurement anyway. And then when you set the level low…. You’ve got something that’s not credible. You set a very low benchmark level, and then you give those companies, who are….

Again, these are the companies that are working around the world, working where they have a number of things. They have access to the gas, and that’s in many places around the world. They can do it cheap. That looks like it’s going to be B.C. And they can do it, to be honest, where they’re not going to have to worry too much about the environmental impacts and where they’re not going to get somebody breathing down their necks, and it’s not going to cost them.

We are on all those levels…. We’ve got the LNG, we’re going to be doing it cheap, and we’re selling out on the environmental side. I think that the government must have found a number of sweetheart deals with LNG companies for this.

The legislation doesn’t actually require the LNG operators, liquefied natural gas operators, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. It sets this benchmark standard, but it isn’t saying: “You’ve got to reduce your greenhouse gas emission levels.” It’s quite incredible that in this day and age, when you have an industry that we know produces greenhouse gases, you’re not reducing the levels.

One of the areas that concerns me is this whole concept of offsets. It is the idea…. My friend from Vancouver–West End used the analogy — again, a religious analogy — of the indulgences. You’d go off, and you’d buy your indulgences, and that would be it. You’re no longer a sinner.

That is somewhat how offsets work. A company can go off and buy its offsets in B.C., maybe in Canada, maybe in another part of the world. That’s it. It’s like when we fly. You know, you buy your ticket. You can add a few extra dollars on your ticket price, and you feel less guilty about taking a flight to somewhere, maybe over to Europe or to Asia. You’ve paid your indulgences. You’ve paid your offsets.

This is effectively what the government is saying. It’s like: “Well, you know, you can go off. You can do this. Don’t worry. You can buy the offsets.” I think it’s really concerning. Added to that is that, again, because of this flimsy piece of legislation, which we could fix if the Minister of Environment hadn’t so rapidly turned down the concept of a hoist motion…. We are debating this for a little while. I hope that we have that Pauline conversion on that side of the House, and they decide that they will accept the hoist motion — or take it off.

You have the problem of the offsets anyway, and then under this piece of flimsy legislation, it’s still not defined. How the offsets are going to work is also going to be defined through regulation, handing it back to that cabinet, that cabinet in which we put so much…. I was going to be sardonic and say trust, faith, hope. You hand it back to cabinet. You hand it back to the Premier and her handpicked crew to set into motion these regulations.


C. Trevena: My friend from Skeena suggests I use the word “cadre.” I’m not sure she’s quite got a cadre.

With the offsets, there is something that rings a little worrying for me — or, actually, maybe quite a lot worrying. There are certain reminiscences or echoes of the Pacific Carbon Trust. Well, didn’t we scrap the Pacific Carbon Trust because it was seen we had schools and hospitals in B.C. basically helping out those companies that really didn’t need the financial help?

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Effectively, it was a very interesting shell game to meet greenhouse gas targets for companies, that somehow our tax dollars, through schools and hospitals, were going to pay off their targets.
[ Page 4846 ]

That was scrapped because it was shown to be inoperative, possibly underhand, definitely something that was very worrying. We brought it up in this House. We questioned a lot in question period, and finally the government got it and scrapped it. I have a fear that there are echoes of that in this piece of legislation.

You have the hoist motion. You have that opportunity to say: “It didn’t work before. Are we getting it right this time?” Don’t think so. Need to put in stiffer, much clearer, much higher sanctions for a company that exceeds its emissions targets, have real emissions targets that are going to work.

The companies have the opportunity to have a technology fund, to invest in a technology fund. Again, there is very little detail about this. The ministry staff provided a briefing to my colleague. They called that technology fund “a backstop” and suggested it’s a long way from taking shape or having any form — a bit like this whole piece of legislation, which has come to us with a quarter of it unfinished, a quarter of it handing back to government.

I think there are really, really huge problems just in whether companies are going to be reducing their carbon footprints, which is what you would hope — that there will be no added emissions to our environment.

At the moment what we’ve been hearing from the Premier is the classic thing of where she says one thing and you just can’t believe her. She’s saying we’re going to have the greenest LNG. She’s saying, basically, it’s okay, because we’re going to deal with…. We won’t actually have a green LNG industry, but we will be able to ship LNG to China, which means that they will use less coal-fired power generation. Therefore, we are improving China’s carbon footprint. It doesn’t really matter about ours. We will just do it. It’s no wonder that people really don’t trust what she’s saying, because it’s incredible that as a leader of a province, she can stand up and say this.

As I say, this is the opportunity. Let’s go back and get it right.

We have, in this, certain incentives. The incentives are the Pacific Carbon Trust model. I think that’s a bit worrying. We have the fact that we have this flexibility. We have the offsets. We have these incentives. We have this undefined technology fund. We really have a lot that could be fixed, I would have thought, quite well in six months. Put the right minds to it and bring a lot of people together.

The other area that this legislation really doesn’t deal with is what’s described as the upstream emissions. That’s at the wellhead. It’s the flaring, it’s the fugitive gas, it’s the pipeline and so on. It’s been noted by a few people that this isn’t covered in this.

I think if you are going to do a comprehensive bill to have, as was touted, as was suggested to be the cleanest LNG…. You know: let’s just forget about that, like we’re forgetting about everything else with the LNG industry. I think we certainly cannot trust the government to come clean on it.

The upstream emissions, the flaring, the fugitives at the extraction and the pipelines. The Pembina Institute estimates that these account for approximately 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the life cycle of liquefied natural gas — 70 percent. Yet they are not touched in this piece of legislation, not even when you get to that quarter of this legislation which hasn’t been written yet because it’s in the hands of the cabinet.

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I think if we are serious about having a proper LNG industry for the 21st century that is looking at doing the right thing for the environment, as much as any major extraction industry can do, we’ve got to bear that in mind. We have the ability, as legislators, to make sure to put those rules in place so that happens. You’ve got to be looking at the whole system. You can’t just sort of say this is the plant, that’s it, and it’s on it’s own. You’ve got to take it from the beginning to the end.

I’ve got to note that we had an election last year, and at that time this side of the House, which is now the opposition, actually proposed to expand the carbon tax. That side of the House doesn’t believe me. We wanted to expand the carbon tax to those fugitive emissions, and it would have covered the upstream emissions. We had a plan to deal with that. This piece of legislation doesn’t. We’d be happy…. Take our idea. Add it in. Please use it. We had an idea. It’s sitting out there. We can’t bring it in, because we are still the opposition. Let the government do it.

Let the government, in these next six months, have a reasoned look at this. Otherwise, we are just going to be, I think, digging a bigger and bigger hole for us.

I mentioned right at the beginning, and I’ve been mentioning as I’ve been going through, the fact that so much of this legislation isn’t written here. So much of it is in regulation. What that means is that you get the outline that is in the bill, and then you hand that outline over, to fill in the details, to the cabinet — as described, the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council.

If I might just cite a few areas. They can make regulation in relation to compliance units, regulation to reporting and regulated operations. Okay, there are regulation-making powers, so they’ve got: to industrial, reporting; to compliance units; to validation and verification; to registry; and then even to the penalties brought in; and regulation to appeals. Then there’s a whole section for other matters.

Basically, a quarter of this bill, all the details, all the meat of the bill is being handed to the cabinet to fill in, which I really do not think is appropriate. When we have the opportunity to…. We’ve now got a motion to hoist this. Let’s hoist it. Let’s talk about it. Let’s get this right.

Let’s not do this behind closed doors — because that’s effectively what you are saying. You’re saying, “We are just going to give away the shop,” and that we in this Legislature have no role to play in discussing, debating
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and seeing what is going to go into this.

That really is a very, very worrying approach. It’s one that we’ve seen more and more often from the government. We see it. It’s their playbook. I mean, to be honest, it’s the Prime Minister’s playbook; it’s the Premier’s playbook. It’s: “Let’s not be honest with people. Let’s not be open. Let’s not engage people.” They think that people are either too dumb or too clever. They’re too dumb, so they don’t need to know, or they’re too clever so that they’re going to see what’s happening and really oppose it and vote them out of office. I can’t see any other way.

We have this institution. It’s a sensitive day. We had the shooting at Parliament Hill, which reminded of us all, I think, how important this institution is. It’s our Legislature. This is the place where we do the people’s business. This is the place where the government comes with ideas for legislation.

We’ve had a whole discussion about whether it has a vision or not. But it comes through with ideas for legislation. It comes through with bills, what it wants to have in legislation. It is incumbent on us as opposition, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, to study that — to read it, to discuss with people, to see whether it is good legislation or bad legislation — and then to be able to participate in that.

[D. Horne in the chair.]

What this bill does is it takes that fundamental role away from us as legislators. It says: “You don’t need to know. The people of B.C. don’t need to know. The only ones who need to know are the Premier and her cabinet.” That is not good enough.

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It’s not good enough when we’re talking about something that’s so fundamental. It’s not good enough in any respect, to be honest. We need to be open. We need to have a much more transparent system — not closed off, as this government is doing. That is a dangerous approach, and it is also dangerous when we’re talking about something so fundamental as our environment and climate change.

This government has a huge responsibility here to deal with this and to deal with it appropriately and deal with it in the best interests of everybody. I just cannot believe that they would think that they can get away with (1) such a flimsy piece of legislation that undermines any moves for climate action and (2) that it’s going to be doing it without the scrutiny of us in this Legislature.

I’d hope that the Minister of Environment changes her mind, that she’s going to listen to the debate about the hoist motion. I hope she will change her mind and decide that it is worthwhile pulling this piece of legislation to get it right, to allow us to have a fulsome debate in this Legislature about all the content and to get it right on the climate action side, on the environmental protection, and to make sure that instead of just having fantasy words, we actually do get a clean LNG.

Deputy Speaker: Seeing no further speakers, the….

Oh, sorry. Member for Columbia River–Revelstoke.

N. Macdonald: No, I thought there might be a Liberal that would actually speak. I mean, no Liberals — that is unbelievable — on this motion. We had one minute from the minister, dismissing the whole idea of MLAs working together to get this bill right.

You have a world-respected climate change scientist. He comes to this House, and this is how his experience is treated. It is unbelievable to me that in one minute it can be dismissed out of hand — what he said.

The member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head is far more gracious than I am, and there’s no question of that. I am a creature of ten years of working with this government, and I’ll tell the member: “Give yourself some time, and you will actually understand how this works. You came in at a time….”

Like, the idea that Gordon Campbell was actually sincere about any of this, I don’t believe. I always thought it was affected. I always thought that we would get to this point. I always thought that we would get here — that when it actually came to the crunch where something needed to be done, it would show itself for what it is, which is affected.

I mean, Member, if you had shared our experience…. Remember the five great goals? There are members…. I think the Minister of Environment came in at the same time. I remember the five great goals. You know, that was there for a minute, and it’s as affected as the green agenda. It was never real. The five great goals about treating seniors properly and helping those that are poor and the best education system ever — what? Were they ever serious about that? They’d give the speech, and then they would cut the budgets consistently.

Some of the members were here for the exercise programs there were going to be. That was there for a while. Did anything come of it? Nope, other than pamphlets and ads on Global. Anything real? Nothing. The tourism, doubling tourism. First Nations — that was going to be a serious initiative. Wood First — what happened to that? These are all, just as the green agenda….

I think the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head is going to realize this, and maybe this is the moment of epiphany. There is nothing about these initiatives that is sincere and real. That’s the reality. They are all distractions from what this government is actually about. In my mind, it basically looks after the interests of a privileged elite and some political cronies and retains power by putting forward these sparkling ideas, but they do so without sincerity.

There is an opportunity here that the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head — and I’m sure will now start to real-
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ize, naively — thought that the government might step forward and take advantage of. I mean, I understand the politics of the B.C. Liberals appearing to care about the environment. I get it.

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I get the politics of it, but the actual policy framework the government would put in place to achieve something meaningful would look different than this bill. It would look different.


N. Macdonald: Now the Minister of Environment contradicts that, not surprisingly.

In this House we have a lot of experience that could be tapped into, and one of the most experienced and knowledgable members has just been pretty clear — over an hour on what he sees as major flaws with this bill. If this House worked the way that it was supposed to and if backbenchers would actually stand up and demand, on the government side, that it do work properly, we would get a piece of legislation that everyone in this House and everyone in this province could be proud of.

But the chances of that happening — this is a spoiler alert for the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head — is about zero. It is not happening.


N. Macdonald: Yes, it is not happening.

I admit many of my speeches sound frustrated, because I get tired of these sham initiatives, to be honest. It is continuous. It’s not to disparage the civil servants who try to make something of all this, but I do not find that the government is credible on any of these initiatives at all.

Why not be honest about government intent? If we’re serious, if we’re actually serious about reducing or limiting emissions, then why would you not include all MLAs in a meaningful way? Why would you not do that?

Here in the House we have in opposition the member for Vancouver–West End, our critic. We have former critics who are very knowledgable as well — Vancouver-Hastings, Victoria–Swan Lake. These people have spent years learning about these issues. We have the former Sierra Club president, the member for Vancouver-Fairview. And of course we have the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head, who, as I said, is a world-renowned expert on this very topic.

Climate change — this is something that’s real. It’s something that we have to deal with in an intelligent way, and here in B.C. we have the opportunity to do that. But we then have to step forward and, as legislators, accept our responsibility to do this properly.

Like I say, I don’t actually agree with the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head about Gordon Campbell. What I saw there was the facade of being serious about the environment and then policies that put a lie to that.

The Pacific Carbon Trust is a perfect example. It was a fiasco. It was never created in an honest way. The unfortunate thing is, I think, that it discredits the tool that would be there for dealing with this if it was done properly. You know, the Pacific Carbon Trust had public institutions forced to pay into a fund as a penalty for pollution, but only private corporations could access the funds generated, and the money for schools to upgrade heating systems or to insulate was often not there. In fact, one year that program was cancelled altogether.

You set up this system where in my school district hundreds of thousands of dollars would go into this Pacific Carbon Trust and then be taken out by a private company to pay for changes that the company had done already. It was all, in its execution, completely farcical.

The world context for this bill….

Deputy Speaker: To the motion, please, Member.

N. Macdonald: I think it’s completely to the motion. It’s about the fact that we need to do the bills properly. That would tap into some of the experience that is here, rather than just stubbornly sticking to what’s put in front of the House.

The world context for the bill is that we need to deal with climate change. For the world, as I say, to deal with the issue, it’s going to require people to stand up to vested interests, and it’s going to need a sustained effort.

[1740] Jump to this time in the webcast

The main thrust of the government’s claim to having clean LNG is to use greenhouse gas intensity measurements. The benchmark is 0.16 of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of LNG produced, and then there is considerable flexibility in terms of where we go from there.

B.C. environmental policy — as I’ve said, there’s nothing genuine about it. I mean, there’s nothing that is honest about what is presented. It’s always, consistently a sham, as so many other policies have been. You consistently verge on farce. Again, not to disparage staff, or even the minister. On our side we actually have a lot of respect for her. She’s good on any file, and she’s good in the House, but she is handed one mess after another by this Premier and by her colleagues.

In my area she was up in Jumbo Valley, and bless you for going up there and getting an idea of what actually is being put on your plate. That’s a mess. You have colleagues that say Fish Lake should be a tailings pond. Well, it turns out a lake did become a tailings pond, but the fact is that we had colleagues of this minister arguing that they should be, as a matter of course. Dump the tailings in a lake. Fish Lake — who needs it? We’ve got plenty of those, right? Went to Ottawa to make that.
[ Page 4849 ]


N. Macdonald: Okay, I hear the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs has something to say. Of course, in question period he never does. He stays seated then, but he’s got a lot to say now, don’t you? You have your chance to stand up, but no Liberal does, do they? You just sit there, and when you’re told to vote, you vote without thinking, without taking advantage of the opportunity that’s here, doing the real work.

Deputy Speaker: I’d ask the member to get back to the motion.

N. Macdonald: You want to have something to say, then take the opportunity to say it. You had it in question period. You did here.

MMBC is another mess for you. There’s a long list. In the Kootenays we had recycling that worked. Now we don’t. There we go.

Look at this bill. What were we promised? The cleanest LNG in the world. It doesn’t apply to 70 percent of emissions — right? — so it’s the cleanest for the 30 percent that’s actually covered.

If you look at Bill 2, there are just certain sections I would get people to turn to right away. Maybe the government members could flip through the bill and actually have a look at some of this. LNG plant managers or owners that don’t meet their emission targets could face fines of up to $1.5 million and up to two years in jail. Well, that’s something, and I guess that’s my starting point. Let’s be clear. That is never, ever going to happen, right? That is never going to happen.

Oh, the minister, I think, in an interview said that’s a possibility, but, again, it’s the same possibility that this House is actually going to vote for the very reasoned arguments that have been put forward by the two people that spoke before me about why we would take six months to do this properly. It’s zero. There is zero chance that you are going to see these executives wearing orange in jail. That is not happening, right?

We’ve heard this before. We were promised jail time and $1 million fines for forestry. Well, in 12 years of experience, has that ever happened? That’s supposed to be there for mines too. Oh, it’s time in jail, millions of dollars in fines. There were, from 2006 to 2012, six fines, and five of them were for less than $600. That’s the reality, different than the promise that’s contemplated in this legislation.

What exactly are we voting on? What are we exactly voting on when we vote on this bill? Well, 25 percent of the bill — I don’t know what it is. Not one backbencher on that side knows what you’re voting for. Did you ever ask those in cabinet when they dumped this on you and said that this is what you must do…? Did you ever ask, “What about the quarter that’s not written yet? What are the details there”— which are some pretty substantial details, right? They’re pretty substantial details as to how this all is going to work. Time and again….

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It’s not just this. This isn’t even the worst bill. This House voted for the ALR bill, which was what? You voted for it, and then you had the consultation, and then you’re going to get the regulations. You still don’t know the…. Do they know the regulations? No.

As long as you do what you’re told, the world will work out lovely. Is that what you said to your voters when you went? Oh no. Wait a second. I know what you said. You said: “Vote for us. There’ll be a $100 billion prosperity fund.” That’s what they told us. There’ll be $1 trillion in economic activity. What else? Oh, debt-free B.C. How’s that going for you? How are we doing on that?

The Minister of Education goes: “Oh, blah, blah, blah.” That’s so yesterday, eh? That’s so yesterday. You know, in question period today I heard it again.

Deputy Speaker: Member, if we could….

N. Macdonald: The Premier had not moved on to the new message box, which is: “Let’s tamp down our enthusiasm. Maybe we’ll get one.” Well, it’s possible none of this is going to happen, in which case….

Deputy Speaker: We need to get back to the motion, please. Member, back to the motion.

N. Macdonald: You’re drawing me back in. Well, I’ll come back to this, which is the possibility that none of this will happen, and this is all redundant anyway. That’s a pretty good possibility. The best, the most honest speech that I heard on that side….


Deputy Speaker: Members.

N. Macdonald: The minister of aboriginal affairs has something to say again. Well, I didn’t hear him before. I did hear one of his colleagues, who stood up and said…. It was the member — lovely to have him back — from the North Peace area. He stood up, and he said: “You know what? Maybe we’ll get one.”

It’s a step up from the throne speech, where we were all supposed to despair, right? Everything is going down, but he said: “Maybe we’ll get one.” Who knows? Maybe we’ll get one. That would be all right. That was at least honest — at least honest. I don’t think that the Premier quite caught up with her colleagues in terms of what’s all going to happen, the message.

Anyway, we have the likelihood that we’re not going to really get full information in terms of what the bill is. Now, you could fill in that big blank spot in this bill
[ Page 4850 ]
if you took the time that my colleagues have suggested you take and actually do the work and put a bill in front of this House that’s proper. I’ve joked about it, but this is our profession. This is what we do. When it descends into farce, that is each individual’s responsibility to make sure that that does not happen. You cannot walk away from that. You cannot walk away from that.

As I said, it’s become a pattern in this House for the B.C. Liberals to use enabling legislation. We saw it with ALR, but we’ve seen it with all sorts. What it means is that instead of this Legislature actually making the laws, it is made elsewhere, behind closed doors, with cabinet secrecy attached to it. One-quarter of the bill will come later, and B.C. Liberal backbenchers are okay with that, apparently.

What are some of the other promises? Let’s remind everyone.

Deputy Speaker: I think we’re straying again, Member.

N. Macdonald: I would say that the suggestion the members are going to make — that this is about the best, greenest LNG — fits in with other promises, with the $100 billion prosperity fund, with the trillion dollars in the economy. It fits right in there with those promises: the 12 to 15 — remember, that was the original promise — LNG plants, the first one up by 2015; debt-free B.C.; no sales tax. Wow. Those whoppers go in with this one, I would suggest to you. I don’t think any of you can argue that that’s not the case, because you don’t actually know. One-quarter of the bill you don’t know. You have no idea what that actually is going to look like.

Deputy Speaker: Through the Chair, please, Member.

N. Macdonald: You need to ask yourself: is that a reasonable way to make laws? I think it’s not. I think the LNG emission claims you could put in the same box as those other claims, just like jail terms for corporate polluters. That happens all the time in B.C. Liberal B.C. That’s going to happen. Okay.

[1750] Jump to this time in the webcast

What difference does it make? I suppose, if five LNG plants are built… Honestly, that seems unlikely, but if it happens, that will have negative impacts on greenhouse gas emissions here in B.C. As I said, that, we are led to believe, is of a concern to the Premier and B.C. Liberals. Like I say, I just don’t believe it.

The Premier says we need to replace dirty coal in China. She says it all the time — dirty coal. Well, the coal mines in Tumbler Ridge are down, and I cannot imagine that that is what anyone in this House wants. I can’t imagine that we would want the same thing to happen in the southeast of the province.

The fact is that we sell what the Premier describes as “dirty coal” to China, and we are going to continue to do that. It doesn’t matter which government is in place. These are things that we’re going to do. That’s the truth of it.

I toured the mines in the southeast there in early October. There are five of them, all owned by Teck. The Leader of the Opposition was just there yesterday. It represents — that dirty coal, as the Premier calls it — 22 percent of our exports, $7.1 billion. It’s significant, not only for the revenues that it brings to government; it’s significant for the jobs that it provides.

You know, when the Premier stands up and says those things…. I mean, they all sound like there’s a chance she means it, but we know that she doesn’t. When she talks about dirty coal…. I mean, those mines are owned by Teck. They give B.C. Liberals over $1 million — like Teck doesn’t believe what she’s saying on dirty coal, and nobody else should either.

Everything about this bill and about the place that we’re going is disingenuine. That should be a problem for members here.

The liquefied natural gas. I think people know it’s predominantly methane. It has to be cooled significantly if it’s going to be transported. There is an opportunity to sell LNG produced in B.C. to Asian markets.

If that price differential is there…. You know, this is the other part of all of this that the members need to get their heads around. That price differential is the key. We have had that price differential change. The ministry even alluded to it. The Minister of Finance even said prices have softened, as if that should be a surprise.

I mean, you just need to go back and read…. They’re all on the Internet. I would just invite members to go and read newspapers from the past six or seven years. You will see that those prices were all over the place. Back six or seven years, the North American price for natural gas was dramatically different than what it is now — dramatically different. The whole North American price structure for natural gas was completely different.

You know, the United States built gasification plants to bring LNG into North America to sell at profit. That’s what you have in the States now that they’re switching to process plants to make LNG.

The price structure was completely different in North America, and the Asian market, which was so high, was always momentary. You had China deciding that they were going to move from coal into more natural gas. That pumped up the price. Then you had, at the same time, the problems with Fukushima for Japan, where they shut down all of their nuclear program. With the Japanese crude cocktail pricing system, the price jumped up, so there was a differential.

I mean that, to every single person, including the Premier and her staff, was always a short moment. Yet it was described and used to paint a picture of an opportunity that was going to last.
[ Page 4851 ]

[Madame Speaker in the chair.]

I think the thing over the summer that should have woken most people up was when Russia signed the deal with China.

[1755] Jump to this time in the webcast

It changed the price structure completely. If you look at the need…. For this to work, you need a price of about $16 per million British thermal units in Asia. That’s the price you need. What we have seen is that price deteriorate down to about $10 per million British thermal units. That gap that was needed — it has changed completely. That’s the reality.

When we talk about the economy, and we talk about policies, it’s really important that the government is honest with British Columbians as to what is a credible way forward on the economy. When the government talks about being serious about green and then is so obviously not interested in the environment, it just makes people cynical. It’s debilitating for a society to then move forward.

You look at the tools. The member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head is familiar with the tools that one could use to get us somewhere. Other members on this side have talked about them before. After the Pacific Carbon Trust fiasco…. When you take a tool and you set it up so poorly, as the B.C. Liberals have done, you make it more and more difficult for any government in the future to use that tool. It sits there as an example of failure and farce, where things are used for the wrong purposes, and people make money off it and game it.

That’s what, as a legislature, we need to do better. It’s not just for…. It’s not just my job. It’s every legislator’s. There are 85 individuals who each can participate in any way that they choose. Now, granted, there are consequences for you if you don’t follow the line, but you can choose to express yourself in many ways.

Here we have a suggestion that we take six months to do something properly. If you were interested…. If the B.C. Liberals were interested in doing something properly, that is an opportunity you jump at, but, of course, you’re not. You’re not interested in doing it properly because you don’t actually care about these issues.

All it is, is a bill that is untestable, that will allow the Premier to stand up and make some claim about it being the cleanest LNG in the world. I mean, I don’t think we’re at a place where what the Premier says needs to be based in anything. It’s a pretty fact-free sort of discussion she has with herself on most things, and certainly on LNG. It’s fact-free on steroids, right? It’s all over the place and pretty wild stuff. There is an opportunity to do it differently.

When we talk about the economy, when we talk about environmental policy, I think all of it needs to be grounded in a long-term plan. I think that how you would do that is you bring MLAs from all views together — NDP, Liberal, Green, maybe Conservative — and you agree on some of the basics about how you’re going to move forward as a society so that we’re not lurching all over the place on some of these issues.

Just get an understanding of what the basics are that we’re going to do well. Then different governments, as they come in, can tinker with it, but you’re not throwing away ideas. You’re not throwing away investments in policies that have already been put in place.

You can do the same thing with economic policy, but that would require this government to approach things in a completely different way — what I would say is an open way and what I would say is an intelligent way. None of that is on display here.

Like I say, the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head…. I mean, I’ve talked a lot about you, because you’re wonderfully naive about what you expect here. I mean, it’s wonderfully naive. You will come to a place where you become the creature that I’ve become. I know too much. I know what will happen. I know what will happen here.

[1800] Jump to this time in the webcast

I am prepared to be disappointed. You learn to live with it. It is possible. I mean, it is possible that miracles will happen and that the minister will see the opportunity to do something different. I mean, if she just took a minute to actually listen to what members had said, maybe there’s a possibility of changing.

You know, I said the…. The minister was up in the Jumbo Valley over Thanksgiving. It’s beautiful up there. I think we need to remember that with the environment we’re talking about places that we all hold dear. Climate change seems detached from us. It seems as if it doesn’t impact us, but I think that in our own areas we see that it does. The expectations that our children have, the expectations that people who send us here have, is that we’re going to sort some of this out.

I know as individuals…. Many of you who have come in recently I don’t know. We haven’t served on committees together. I don’t doubt that you bring intelligence and experience. I wish that that was in some way relevant. For it to be relevant, you would have to exert that intelligence and experience and force this House to work differently than it does.

I am going to vote in favour of the motion put forward from one of my opposition colleagues. We don’t agree on everything, but on this we do.

V. Huntington: I’m rising to speak in favour of the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head’s motion to hoist this bill. At its core, this motion is asking us to look not at the government’s opportunity of a lifetime but to look at the great issue of a lifetime, that of climate change and what it is going to do to this earth.

This is not just an issue for this chamber, for this prov-
[ Page 4852 ]
ince or even for this country. It’s an issue for the entire world, and this chamber has spent absolutely no time in considering what this means to the province.

I doubt whether either caucus…. Well, I shouldn’t say. Has either caucus discussed what this policy issue means to us as a people and a province and a nation? Has cabinet discussed it? Has cabinet even looked at whether or not these bills that they’re proposing and the bill under discussion right now is of significant value to us in the long term? I doubt whether they have.

Money is not everything when you’re faced with catastrophe in the shorter and nearer term, and I think that we need to step back and take a look at the great issue of this earth today and the impact of what climate change can mean to all of us.

It is the most important of all subjects. We don’t know what we should expect. What can we expect? Not in this House. We haven’t even discussed and understood what the expectations of climate change mean to this province.

We don’t know how to adapt. How do we adapt? How do we mitigate the impacts? Are we making them worse by looking at this bill without asking those questions first? Do we even know what the impacts are? Do we know, as a society, whether we’re contributing to them or whether we can resolve and mitigate them?

We haven’t discussed those things, and this House deserves the opportunity to do that. We deserve the opportunity to understand what a bill of this nature is doing to this province and to this country and to this world.

I strongly support us stepping back, considering the hoist motion and debating the great policy issue of our time, and that is climate change and what our responsibility is in front of it.

[1805] Jump to this time in the webcast

L. Krog: Sometimes it’s good to remind yourself exactly why you’re standing in this chamber, apart from trying to earn your paycheque, which the people of this province generously give to us every couple of weeks regardless of whether we do a good job or no job at all.

I’m going to be a little cheeky when I say this. We are debating a motion now, for those who are listening at home, asking that this bill be set over for six months so that appropriate review and consideration can be given to it — in other words, to actually do our jobs.

It’s called the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act. Everything we say with respect to this motion today, every word, will be scrutinized and recorded by Hansard, corrected and reported in something we call the Debates of the Legislative Assembly. Indeed, they will pump out something called the Blues, which are contained in bookshelves around this chamber, so that we can all check and see what we had to say on a particular issue.

Here’s where the cheekiness comes in. It’s called the Debates of the Legislative Assembly. Now, a debate, by definition, requires that there be an exchange of views, that there be things said on one side of the issue and things said on the other side of the issue. One would hardly characterize what has happened today as a debate, really.

We have heard from one member of the governing party, the party that has a majority in this assembly, speaking to a hoist motion on one of the signal pieces of legislation of this session that is supposed to help fulfil their major campaign commitments — indeed, campaign commitments which one would have to believe were accepted by the people of British Columbia — and all we have heard is from the minister herself, in something that was so brief that if you had actually had a short conversation with a colleague in this chamber, you would have missed it entirely.

That was the response of the government of British Columbia to the motion of the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head. You know, in order to have the debate, you’ve actually got to have an exchange of views. It’s kind of like going on a date by yourself. There’s not a heck of a lot that’s going to happen, and it won’t be terribly satisfying, unless you enjoy your own company that much.

I guess I’m struck by the concept that here, as the member for Delta North has pointed out…. Delta South. Pardon me. Delta South. Don’t wish to raise the expectations of the members over there that I was giving a compliment to a member of the government benches. The member for Delta South has pointed out that the motion before us, and the bill before us, deals with the issue of our time.

There has never been in human history an issue that was greater, that would have a more far-reaching impact on every aspect of human life and, indeed, life on the planet as we know it, than climate change.

This bill deals with the production of gas that we hope to liquefy, that we hope to find as a source of prosperity for British Columbians. The motion is saying: give it some consideration. If we’re going to have this regime established by this legislation, give it some consideration. Take what I’ve referred to in this chamber many times before, when the debates of this nature come up, what W.A.C. Bennett used to refer to as the famous second look.

Step back; reconsider; give it some time. Are we in that much of a rush? Is there such a hurry for this? I would respectfully suggest that the only hurry involved in this debate today, and the only reason we’re having this fall sitting, is because this government, the B.C. Liberal Party, made a series of promises and commitments in the last provincial election and the lead-up to it which have, frankly, proved at best to be false, at worse to be something even more awful than that.

The expectation that we’re going to have 100,000 jobs out of this, that we’re going to have all of these liquefied natural gas plants popping up all over the landscape, par-
[ Page 4853 ]
ticularly of northern British Columbia….


L. Krog: A trillion-dollar GDP, the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head reminds me — and a $100 billion prosperity fund. That we’re going to eliminate the provincial debt starting in 2017…. And don’t forget the sales tax.

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I think I made reference in the first week, in my response to the throne speech, to Elmer Gantry. I can’t help but bring up Elmer Gantry again. We’re in the greatest revival tent in the province of British Columbia, the B.C. Legislature, where faith in liquid natural gas is going to lift the roof off this place and allow us all to ascend to some sort of political and economic heaven long before our time, instead of being condemned to some sort of political hell, which will potentially follow the truth of what we’ve been told about liquid natural gas — or at least what was promised by this government.

As we debate this motion to set aside six months, I would have thought that the government would have wanted to have taken advantage of this opportunity. Again, the opposition, through the one sole opposition member and supported by others in this chamber, is proffering the hand to the other side and saying: “Let’s give this some real consideration. Don’t make fools of yourselves. Don’t jam through a bill that is so poorly drafted.”

When you look through the legislation itself, it’s a complex piece of legislation — tough on our researchers, tough on the members in this chamber to understand. I get that. If there ever was a bill we’ve had recently in this chamber that requires intelligent commentary and thoughtful consideration, this is certainly one of them.

But you know, the very way the bill is drafted speaks to this unnecessary but very deliberate rush to deal with what is a political problem for the B.C. Liberals and the Premier of this province, her cabinet and her colleagues.

That political problem is that they’re trying to deliver on a campaign promise. As we see that ship sort of steadily disappear into the horizon, into the political fog, as we see the triumph of the 2013 election fade now, as we see all of their political capital potentially disappearing, the reason we’re debating this is because this is all about politics. This is not about prosperity.

This is all about politics. If you want to see the best example of why this is driven by politics, it is the nature of the bill itself. I have stood in this chamber countless times, and I feel the same frustration as the member who spoke before me.

It’s a shared frustration, I suspect, by every member in this chamber who has a couple of ounces of grey matter to work with — that is, this government’s reliance on regulation. Pass the bill, and give the regulatory power to cabinet. There’ll be no public scrutiny of the regulations before they’re passed. This bill is the best…. Pardon me, hon. Speaker, the worst example. I wanted to emphasize that it is the best of the worst.

Instead of spending six months to look through this bill and improve it and work on it and perhaps salvage the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act scheme that’s proposed in it, instead of doing all of that, we’re going to jam through a bill where a quarter of it is basically dealing with giving regulatory power to be determined by the cabinet at some date in the future in a process that is not open to the public, that is not transparent, that is not designed to be transparent.

It is the way our parliamentary system works. I get it. I understand it. I sat on the other side of the House many, many years ago, back on the government side. I understand how legislation and regulation work. I understand the necessity of government having some authority to do things that require expediency, if you will, that don’t require the full debate.

But this bill, of all bills, is absolutely filled with references to regulatory-making power, as opposed to setting up a scheme that we can debate legitimately in this chamber. This bill is just wrong. If this is the best that government can do, it says, I think, two things.

[1815] Jump to this time in the webcast

Either I’m absolutely right that it’s in this form because they can’t get their act together and they’re not confident of what they’re doing and they don’t know what it’s going to look like and they’re still engaged in what has to be one of the most disgraceful and unsuccessful negotiations in the economic history of this province, or they really don’t know what they’re doing.

I think the truth is we’re just jamming this through because we’re still in this political process, we’re being hurried along by the political winds of this province because we have to complete some sort of scheme to enable them to be able to stand up at some point in the relatively near future — and heaven knows when that’s going to be — and be able to say: “We have a gas plant. We have a plant. We’ve got a photo opportunity. Oh my goodness, the campaign continues.”


L. Krog: “Get out the hard hat,” my friend says. Get out the television camera and get out the hard hat, because we have faith. We have faith in the B.C. Liberals. We have to have faith in the B.C. Liberals. I mean, they made us these promises. They promised salvation in gas, and they’ve got to deliver.

But what this bill is asking the B.C. Legislature to do is in a sense…. Tired cliché that it is, they’re asking that they be given a blank cheque. Essentially, “just give us the scheme and we’ll tell you what you’re going to do.” It’s like saying: “Here’s a criminal code, and you decide what the crimes are later. Here’s a regulatory scheme, and we’ll decide what the regulations are all going to be later.
[ Page 4854 ]
But right now we’re just basically asking for permission.”

It is as reprehensible as the concept that government gets to tax without representation and take money from the people without legislation to support it.

You know those wonderful words at the close of debate, when the Clerk of the House says — what is it? — “in Her Majesty’s name, Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor thanks you for your benevolence.” Words to that effect. They’re wonderful words. They have the great scent of history about them. They resonate in your ear. It’s a wonderful concept: “Thanks you for your benevolence.”

Well, I don’t mind playing my role as a member of this assembly in extending benevolence where I’ve actually had a chance to debate and speak on behalf of my constituents, to participate with my caucus in a genuine debate back and forth across this chamber. But that’s not what is happening here, and that’s not what this government proposes.

They’re saying: “Give us the right to set up this scheme, give us the right to decide how much pollution they can pollute with or how little, whether it’s up or down. Give us all of this authority and just trust us.” That’s really what the regulatory power is. It is the biggest trust-me you’ve ever heard — the biggest trust-me that any government ever asks.

What do we have? Does this bill have some issues with it? Well, I’m not going to pretend I thought all these up. Thank goodness for some bright researchers and able members of our caucus who have a better grasp of this than I do. But there’s kind of a big omission with respect to emissions, and that big omission with respect to emissions is that all of the upstream emissions aren’t touched by this legislation.

It’s kind of like having a 20-link chain, and we’re only going to deal with one. Now, if the analogy got stretched, surely you could say if it’s the weakest link, that is the most important link, of course. But we’re talking about a chain of pollution, and we’re going to regulate one aspect of it only, one portion of that.

When we stand in this chamber and say we want six months to make sure that we’re going to do it correctly, that maybe this bill needs to be expanded and maybe it needs to apply to other areas of the whole process, what we’re really saying is: put aside the politics. Stop rushing this through. Let us have that opportunity.

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Right now this bill doesn’t touch any of the upstream emissions. It doesn’t even require actual greenhouse gas reductions.

You know, I’m going to say it, and it pains me. It pains me to say this in this chamber, but having come back here after a long and sad absence from the joys of debate in this place, Gordon Campbell was Premier. I have to tell you that as much as I had profound differences — as did every member of the opposition and indeed many British Columbians — with Gordon Campbell, he at least pretty much got the message around climate change. He actually seemed to have some understanding of the issue.

We may debate about whether it was a sincere effort on the part of government, whether taxing carbon emissions was the best scheme or could have been a better scheme. He at least got it.

What we are seeing here today in this bill — if it isn’t hoisted for the six months — and most particularly in section 55, is what I will call Gordon Campbell’s political funeral. Section 55, “Repeal.” The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act, S.B.C. 2008, chapter 32, is repealed — repealed.

Now, I’m not going to get into this, and frankly, I find it rather tiresome, to be honest with you, and I say that as a grandfather — that this is all about our grandchildren and our children and blah, blah, blah. Okay? I’m not going to go there because I’m tired of hearing it, particularly from the members on the other side. I don’t believe it anymore — anymore than I believe the ridiculous claims of the Premier around what she was going to do with liquid natural gas and how we’re going to enjoy all this future prosperity.

Just that section alone in this bill is a signal to the people of British Columbia that this has nothing to do with some altruistic attempt to assist China in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. It has nothing to do with some sincere concern around the environment. It has everything to do with political expediency.

The one right-winger we’ve had as Premier in the last many decades in this province who actually had some understanding of that issue — there he is being crucified with section 55. Crucified. I wonder how it feels to be in our lovely house in London, Canada House, thinking that here in the B.C. Legislature there’s a bill now before this Legislature that is going to repeal one of the things that he took his greatest pride in. Frankly, I don’t think he should be surprised.

The people of British Columbia bought a bill of goods in the last election. People want to believe in the future. That’s our nature. We want to look forward to things. We want to believe that things are going to get better. So I can understand why British Columbians, confronted with the campaigns that were run last time, liked the idea of eliminating the provincial debt and liked the idea of eliminating the sales tax and liked the idea of clean energy.

We’re not debating that in a very realistic way here when this is the best the government can do with respect to a regulatory scheme. All at the same time, they are repealing one of the signal pieces of legislation passed by the B.C. Liberals — passed, as I say, under the leadership of a Premier who now seems to have no political influence whatsoever on his former colleagues. Many of those very colleagues are still sitting in this chamber; many of those colleagues are still sitting around the cabinet table. I can’t imagine the political gymnastics they must have had to engage in to twist and turn and wiggle around in
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order to actually stand behind and, by their silence in this chamber, support section 55 of this bill.

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I’m glad I don’t have to make those contortions. I’m very glad I don’t have to make those contortions. It must be incredibly uncomfortable.

Here we have an opportunity, as I said, for the government to reconsider its position, for the government to take a few months. Instead of worrying about whether or not they can secure a plant so they can have one tiny bit of success out of all of these promises, instead of taking the time to consider, they want to put this through.

As my friend and colleague said earlier, somewhat cynically, trying to give friendly advice to the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head: “Yeah, we’re going to lose. We’re going to lose.” Now, some smart aleck once said to me some years ago after I was defeated once: “Just remember there’s splendour in defeat.” I think it’s probably from Tom Brown’s School Days or one of those similar kinds of books promoting the concept of the good fight and the cause and the race well run and all of those fine things.

There is no splendour in what’s going to happen in this chamber. There’s no splendour in pushing through a bill that is poorly drafted at best, that represents a giveaway of the authority of this chamber to cabinet — which is unconscionable, in my respectful opinion — particularly, when it deals with something that is the most important item on the government’s agenda.

They talk about balanced budgets and about various things, but really what we get from the Premier day after day after day is gas. We get gas. It’s gas constantly. It’s gas forever. It’s gas in the future. It’s gas today. It’s all about gas. Let’s be blunt about this. That’s what this government is all about. It’s about the gas.

The best they can do on the second most important piece of legislation we’ll probably see this session is a bill that literally sticks it in the eye of the people of British Columbia and says: “Your elected representatives don’t get to debate this. No, no, no, that’s not going to happen.”

We’re going to ask them, and they have the majority to accomplish it, to give cabinet the authority to make all of the regulations that might make this sorry horse at least get out of the barn door, let alone consider moving around the racetrack. Well, with great respect, this is a horse that isn’t ready to run. If this government was sincere about developing a legislative scheme that might provide some solace to the literally hundreds of thousands of British Columbians, including the member for Delta South, that this government actually understands the issue of climate change, they’re not going to get it.

They’re not going to get it in the form it is. It’s not going to happen. It’s pretty clear. This bill basically aids government in avoiding meeting the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that it established itself. Now surely, we would want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And in developing our resources….

Many of the members know that I come from a family. My father was a logging contractor. I mean, exploiting B.C.’s resources was, frankly, what put food on our table. It put a roof over our heads. Many of my family worked in the industry for many years — or in fishing, some of them. Exploiting the resources of this chamber, which I’ve pointed out many times, are all beautifully muralled outside this chamber in the rotunda: mining and fishing and logging and agriculture — all of those things that are so important. All of those primary industries drove this province. They’re all important.

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We understand the need for development, but if we’re going to do it, let’s do it in a way that is respectful of the planet, respectful of what we know, respectful of those who are going to follow us, respectful of the fact that this is not ours to give away. Be respectful of the fact that this is a benefit that we have received.

If it isn’t done right, who’s going to bear responsibility? Are we going to reassemble as a Legislature ten or 20 years down the road and all of us take collective responsibility? Is the Premier going to come back to this chamber and be politically spanked?

Are the government members going to come back and accept some kind of punishment for having done it wrong, for having made — oops — a big mistake? “I’m sorry we created this scheme that wasn’t workable, that in fact allowed for an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, instead of a scheme that actually reduced or controlled them.” Is anyone going to come back and say: “Sorry. Oh, I’m going to give back the pay I took at that time” or “I’m handing back my pension or giving up my ‘honourable’ title”?

No, nobody’s going to do that. So we have a duty and an obligation to do the right thing with this legislation, and that’s all this motion is asking. Do the right thing, take some time, consider the legislation, bring us or work up a piece of legislation so that we can have that debate — which hasn’t occurred so far on this motion today. We can have that debate in this House. We can have that thrust and parry back and forth that enables good legislation to be produced. That’s what this parliamentary system is about.

You know, the media has made much today of what happened in Ottawa from the angle of an assault on democracy and how terrible and awful it is, and I do not for one moment diminish what happened in Ottawa today. It was awful that anyone would attack people defending the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and attack those who work in the Parliament of Canada. It is an awful assault. It can be seen as the act of one individual, perhaps crazed, perhaps with an axe to grind.

But when legislation comes into this chamber that gives this enormous regulatory power to cabinet, in defiance of the rights of the people — who are represented by the members in this chamber to debate the bills that
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come before this House — that is an assault and an affront to democracy which is palpable, which is real and which is occurring once again in this chamber in a more significant way than, perhaps, we’ve seen in other bills.

I have complained about this concept for a very long time. But today with the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act we see one of the worst examples of that approach. We see an example where this government says: “We know best. We won the election. We know best. We get to make the decisions.”

Now, I can just imagine if the shoe were on the other foot — if somehow the results had been different, and we were on that side and the B.C. Liberals were on this side — what they’d be saying today if we’d brought in a piece of legislation like this. I hesitate to use the word that I’m tempted to use and that was muttered in my ear by a fellow member, but I’ll just call it this piece of legislation. I hesitate to imagine what the debate would be like. There would be such a thumping of desks and a screaming and a vitriolic assault as you’ve never heard.


L. Krog: “Hair on fire,” my friend from Surrey-Newton says. Hair on fire. Well, my hair is not on fire today, and gosh knows the Liberal members here aren’t setting their hair on fire very much. They’re not even getting up to speak.

But this is wrong. It is bad legislation. The opportunity to hoist it is the right thing to do. I encourage the members opposite to actually stand up for once, defend the interests of their constituents, defend the interests of their grandchildren that everyone in this chamber loves to talk about. Ensure that the scheme that is proposed, that is set out — which is a necessary part of the development of liquid natural gas as an industry in this province — is a good scheme, is a scheme that works, is a scheme that protects the environment and protects the future security and prosperity of our province.

Let them do their job by supporting this motion for a change, doing something dramatic and making the member for Columbia River–Revelstoke and I look like fools for having suggested for a moment that we’re going to lose this vote.

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Amendment negatived on the following division:

YEAS — 28











Chandra Herbert


















B. Routley


NAYS — 40






















de Jong












Michelle Stilwell









On the main motion.

M. Morris: I sit here listening this afternoon to some of the comments made by members opposite, and I’m amazed. The member for Vancouver–West End was basically saying that we shouldn’t be doing anything until somebody comes up with an answer.

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We do have an answer. This government has an answer to a lot of the problems that we have in British Columbia. LNG is going to form a significant part of the economic future of British Columbia for our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren. We’re going to have not only a healthy province, but we’re going to have a healthy province economically as well.

We talk about 150 years’ worth of supply of natural gas in British Columbia for the export market, turning it into LNG and exporting around the world to do our part globally to help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that we see coming from China and other parts of the world because they’re forced into burning coal in their electrical generation processes.

We see this as an opportunity for B.C. to step up to the plate and help the global world that we live in to reduce the greenhouse gases so that our grandchildren can live healthy and the grandchildren of the people in the world can live healthy, happy lives around the world.

The suggestion that we wait six months. The global economy doesn’t wait for anybody anymore. The capital that we have out there is very mobile, and the people that have that capital are looking for immediate investment opportunities so that they can get a return on that capital. They’re not going to wait for B.C. or anybody else to
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address some of the theoretical issues that members opposite and other people have suggested — that we’ve got some significant climate change issues out there and that LNG is going to add to the greenhouse gases in British Columbia and destroy everybody’s lives.

Greenhouse gas emissions are going to go down around the world. B.C. has already seen a significant reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions. We’re going to continue to meet the greenhouse gas emission targets that we are setting by this legislation. When we look at the way technology has evolved over the past decade, the past 50 years, it’s evolving at such a high rate that we can’t even imagine what the technology is going to look down like ten years down the road, 20 years down the road, let alone 50 years down the road.

When we develop these state-of-the-art LNG facilities in British Columbia and start shipping LNG around the world, these companies are stepping up to the plate, and they’re going to be using the latest and greatest technologies in order to ensure that they are competitive around the world but also that they are competing in a green environment to the best level that they can. They’re going to keep reinvesting in their corporations and their technologies and their plants and their facilities in order to maintain that competitiveness around the world.

People are demanding that they receive energy from the greenest sources that they can, and I think that our LNG plants are going to do that. We’ve committed to saying that the greenhouse gas emissions are going to be at a certain level, and this level is going to be less than any other LNG facility that we currently have worldwide. We’ve done a lot of work and a lot of study to look into that in order to establish that rate.

These companies are going to continually invest. Part of this bill that we have before the House is going to offer incentive programs so that these companies can continually invest in lowering the greenhouse gas emissions that their plants will be emitting in British Columbia here. With these incentive programs, I see nothing but good things happening as we progress ten or 20 or 30 years into the future, with technology that’s going to evolve from that.

The member for Columbia River–Revelstoke was commenting on the fact that we’re already selling coal to the world and contributing to greenhouse gases.

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He forgot to realize that by developing these LNG plants, the coal that’s currently being used in all of the electrical generation systems that we have around the world is a different kind of coal. It’s not the metallurgic coal that is needed in the foundries and the metal processing industry that they have in China and elsewhere in the world.

We’re going to reduce the dirtier kind of coal or the coal that doesn’t burn as effectively as the metallurgic coal. So that’s not going to have as great an impact on the British Columbia economy as the member for Columbia River–Revelstoke was alluding to.

He also spoke like he understood global economics. He spoke like he understand the capital market that’s out there. He spoke like he understand the LNG market that’s out there globally. But it’s a good thing that the proponents that we have currently in British Columbia haven’t listened to him because they’ve spent…. I believe the figure is around $7 billion over the last few years in British Columbia preparing to develop the LNG industry that we have here.

Goodness, you know, if they had listened to him they probably wouldn’t have spent a nickel and the thousands of people that have worked and provided a living for their family over the past few years as a result of this $7 billion investment would have been out of luck. They wouldn’t have had a job. And B.C. would have been the worse for it.

These companies are putting a significant amount of effort into the research and development of the LNG business. There are narrow margins in it, so they have to do their homework and make sure that they’re investing in something that’s going to give them a return. They’re not going to get a return on an investment if it’s something that is polluting the world and is not going to contribute to the overall greening of the world environment.

The overall goal of this government is to make sure that we have a feasible LNG business that is going to help support the five million people that we have in British Columbia, and more people are going to move here because of the environment that we’ve created. British Columbia has got the triple-A rating, the credit rating that we have right now. We’ve got a balanced budget.

When we get LNG up and running, we’re going to be contributing more to paying down the provincial debt. We’re going to be contributing to a lifestyle in British Columbia that a lot of people are going to want to come and enjoy. We’re going to be able to invest more money into our health systems and our education systems, and we’re going to be able to modernize our infrastructure systems.

The member opposite was talking about not having enough money. I believe it was the member for Vancouver–West End who was talking about the government not investing enough in the transportation infrastructure in the Lower Mainland here. Yet we’ve invested billions of dollars over the years into the transportation infrastructure in the Lower Mainland, but without added revenue coming into the province, we’ve got a limit on how much capital that we can invest in some of these different projects that we have here.

So, you know, he’s saying one thing, that we can’t invest in new industry like LNG, and on the other side he’s saying: “But give us more money so that we can build more infrastructure. Give us more money so that we can pay the public sector workers more money. Give us more
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money so that we can increase our education system.”

But without industry and without a resource sector to support that, we don’t have any other access to money, and we’re certainly not going to be increasing the taxes so that people in British Columbia become tax-poor and we’ll see a mass exodus of businesses and people leaving the province after that.

B.C. has suffered economically as a result of the 2008-2009 downturn in the world economy. We’re looking at new ways of developing revenue for the province, and of course, we’ve heard that LNG has been top of the list. That’s what the last election was won on, and that’s what the next election is probably going…. By the time the next election rolls around, they’re going to see that we have followed through with our promises and that we do have an LNG, a very viable LNG.

Madame Speaker, I know I’ve just started. I’ve got a lot more to say, but noting the hour, I would like to reserve my place in debate and move to adjourn the debate.

M. Morris moved adjournment of debate.

Motion approved.

Hon. M. Polak moved adjournment of the House.

Motion approved.

Madame Speaker: This House, at its rising, stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

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