Premier John Horgan says he wants to keep LNG door open

CBC News | Andrew Kurjata | February 15 2018

NDP Premier John Horgan insists he supports "every corner" of the province despite criticism from some northern municipalities he is not championing the oil and gas industry of northern British Columbia.

Horgan's comments came as the trade dispute with Alberta over the Kinder Morgan pipeline project entered its second week, and the day after a throne speech that made no mention of liquefied natural gas.

LNG was a central feature of the platform of the previous B.C. Liberal government.

In an interview with CBC Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk, Horgan said he is still working to open doors for selling energy overseas.

"We'll be providing energy from British Columbia to Japan," he said, in reference to the $475-million Ridley Export Terminal being constructed near Prince Rupert by AltaGas for the purpose of exporting propane to Japan.

Horgan said on his recent trade mission to Asia, he spoke with Chinese, Japanese and Korean partners involved in the proposed LNG Canada project in Kitimat, led by Royal Dutch Shell.

The premier said he reiterated the conditions for any new developments, which include participation or partnerships from First Nations and meeting climate objectives.

"Those conditions were well-known," he said. "We're welcoming private sector investment."

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has promised the NDP government will fall if it pursues what he describes as the "LNG folly."

But municipal leaders in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek and Kitimat, along with the elected council of the Haisla Nation on the north coast, have demanded more support for the natural gas industry.

Weaver's party holds the balance of power in the legislature. Last July, the Greens and NDP formed an alliance, allowing the NDP to form a government.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals spent much of the first day of the new legislative session's question period criticizing Horgan over the dispute with Alberta.

Asked how he responded to criticism that he isn't looking out for the economic interests of workers in British Columbia, particularly those in the north, Horgan pointed to the government's decision to allow construction of the Site C dam near Fort St. John to proceed.

"That was a very controversial issue," he said. "We fully support every corner of the province." 

Horgan said he doesn't understand why Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has decided to attack his position on Kinder Morgan.

"I'm disappointed," he said.

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