…A Liberal government would dedicate all revenues from liquefied natural gas and a proposed oil refinery in Kitimat to debt reduction until all provincial debt is eliminated, said Clark. She pointed out that the New Democrats have said they will increase taxes on the LNG industry.
B.C. would be debt-free in 15 years under her stewardship, she said, and the Liberals would tie government spending increases to the rate of nominal GDP…
It is worth noting that when Premier Clark made the 2013 promise to be debt free within 15 years, debt and contractual obligations were $55 billion and $100 billion. Liberals forecast total provincial debt will be $70 billion in Mar 2018 but don’t report on the larger contract obligations total. By then, one-third of Clark’s 15 year time frame would have passed and BC would have no material LNG revenues. Nevertheless, LNG skepticism is rare within the pro-media. It still occupies government attention and hundreds of millions in annual ministry spending.
The linked Maclean’s article read like an advertisement but it was not marked as such, nor is it so marked today at their site. No reservations or alternative voices were included for even a pretense of balance. The incomplete piece would earn a failing grade in a first year journalism course.
That such fantastical claims were made and sustained so easily explains why British Columbia’s government remains focused on natural gas as a supposed economic driver. It is simply electoral politics and pro-media has done a full buy-in.
LNG was the magician’s rabbit in 2013 and Liberals calculate that it can be the same in 2017. That natural gas is such a tiny industry in this province matters not; it offers so many political advantages. This graph is drawn from information assembled and published by BC Stats. It needs no further commentary to emphasize my points.
Government preoccupation with the fossil fuel industry hurt BC’s export and tourism industries. Observers know that billions of dollars spent by the Chinese government to acquire Canadian resource companies contributed to a dollar that went above parity with the US. We’ve suffered from “Dutch Disease.” In BC, there has been an accelerated increase in low paying McJobs and lower employment in manufacturing and other non-extractive industries. As a result, this province has joined Ontario and Quebec at the bottom in measurement of recent wage growth. This is unsurprising since Central and Upper Canada have had similar experiences with Dutch Disease.