Premier John Horgan responds to Green Leader Andrew Weaver’s threat over ‘LNG folly’
The Vancouver Sun | Nick Eagland | January 26 2018
Premier John Horgan played down threats by Green party Leader Andrew Weaver over LNG “cheerleading” and insisted Friday that fighting carbon emissions remains a priority for his government.
Earlier this week, Weaver reiterated in a tweet his threat to topple the minority NDP government if Horgan continued to promote the liquefied natural gas industry – “LNG folly” – while the premier is on his trade mission to Asia. Weaver later told CKNW he believed Horgan’s staff had misinformed the premier about LNG and its impact on fighting climate change.
Horgan, during a conference call from South Korea on Friday, said he and Weaver have discussed the threat and will again upon his return to B.C.
“There are legions of public servants, government employees, who have been working on these files for a long, long time and I’m going to take their advice first and foremost and then consult broadly with other stakeholders,” said Horgan, adding that he did not mean to diminish Weaver’s role as a “stakeholder.”
“But there are lots of people with lots of ideas on climate action and the impact of our plans as Minister (of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George) Heyman is developing them, and I’m confident that we can walk through this and get to the point that I want to get to, and that’s reducing our emissions.”
Horgan said he recently attended meetings with representatives from firms LNG Canada and Kitimat LNG, and had pledged to LNG Canada to meet with organizations in Asia to discuss his government’s LNG strategy. He said he has remained consistent — the NDP’s four conditions for LNG were stated in the party’s election platform — and said he has a “larger responsibility” as premier to find opportunities for economic development and job creation.
“I’m under no illusion,” Horgan said. “Mr. Weaver’s very passionate about this and, as you know, he can take it 140 characters at a time and more so,” he added, referring to Weaver’s use of Twitter to comment on LNG.
Horgan’s agenda has included visits with officials from B.C.’s sister provinces — Guangdong, China, and Gyeonggi, Korea — along with meetings related to tourism, clean technology, forestry, energy, mining, agriculture and arts and culture.
The premier said he was struck by the “staggering magnitude” of China and saw poor air quality there as an opportunity for Canada’s clean-tech sector. He learned about the flow of metallurgical coal from the Kootenays to steel manufacturer POSCO in Korea, and toured a tech hub with hundreds of startups. Along with the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea are B.C.’s four largest trading partners.
On housing, Horgan said he expected to have discussions about B.C.’s expected plans to dampen foreign speculation in B.C. real estate, but it wasn’t raised by government or business officials.
“Certainly, we’ll have a comprehensive plan in the budget that will be apparent to everyone — whether they be in B.C. or around the world,” Horgan said.
Bruce Ralston, the minister of jobs, trade and technology, and George Chow, minister of state for trade, joined Horgan for the trip. Lisa Beare, minister of tourism, arts and culture, was along for the Chinese leg of the trip.
Horgan’s final stop is Saturday in Tokyo. He left Vancouver on Jan. 20 and also visited Guangzhou and Beijing, in China, and Seoul, South Korea.