Occasionally, the BC Government issues press releases touting success of its natural gas Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program. Corporate media lacks resources and commitment to examine the claims so they do no more than edit and republish texts provided by government.
This is one example:
We’ve seen these announcements before. But, we will never see a press release saying BC’s fossil fuel industry benefited from credits worth $902 million in fiscal year 2018 and $4.2 billion in the past five years.
Yet, that is revealed by careful reading of footnotes to the province’s audited financial statements.
In today’s announcement, government claimed that $120 million in credits for 20 projects will create more than 1,740 jobs. That would be a payback — albeit a costly one — if it were true.
But, it is not.
According to BC Stats, the entire oil and gas extraction industry provided an annual average of 4.880 jobs in the five years 2013-2017, a number that is 1/5 of 1% of employment in all industries.
Casual readers of press releases remain uninformed about the scale of subsidies directed at fossil fuel producers. That is the exact purpose of the Ministry of Energy Mines & Petroleum Resources. Announcements are crafted to deceive by omission.
Deception was honed by BC Liberals and is continued by the NDP. As a result of its record, the official opposition is now mute on the subject.
With $4.2 billion in subsidies through tax expenditures in the past five years, each of the jobs in oil and gas extraction cost BC taxpayers $185,000.
A similar amount spent on reducing dependence on fossil fuels would have been more effective in creating jobs and protecting the environment. Before the Horgan Government was captured by vested interest groups, they knew this statement was true.
This was a promise made to voters in 2017, but quickly forgotten when an NDP government was formed: