Green Party leader Andrew Weaver spoke to the BC Legislature March 26, 2019. He reported a former insider’s views of why BC natural gas royalty revenues have declined. These were in a letter written by a former civil servant who worked in the oil and gas provincial registry. NDP, Liberals, and corporate media paid almost no attention to Weaver’s speech. Natural resource taxation programs are complex and understanding is difficult because the NDP continues Liberal policies of less-than-transparent public-facing information.
Excepting BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, politicians on both sides of BC’s Legislature are reluctant to discuss natural gas policies. This week, the BC NDP raised gas subsidies. That’s unfortunate because climate change is a critical threat to the world we live in and fossil fuels are a prime cause.
Tax expenditures are subsidies delivered through the taxation system. These promote policy goals of government but are subject to far less scrutiny and disclosure than direct spending. The primary beneficiaries of tax expenditures are Canada’s wealthiest citizens and corporations. In British Columbia, natural gas producers, many with foreign ownership, are milking a very generous cash cow.
In the May 2017 election, only two of the main parties committed to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. BC Liberals were uncomfortable with clauses related to informed consent that would interfere with business of their corporate donors. John Horgan’s NDP Government and Andrew Weaver’s Green Party committed to a different approach. This was affirmed in today’s Throne Speech and we are left to hope the promises are not hollow, as were similar ones by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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Politicians assumed that power demand would grow and prices rise so they readily agreed to BC Hydro purchase contracts that were decades long with annual price escalation tied to inflation. They carelessly assumed the arrangements would be beneficial to all. However, what private industry achieved was guaranteed sales with guaranteed profits. All of the financial risks were carried by the public.
Opposition parties in BC ought to create a set of hearings to conduct a thorough PUBLIC examination of independent power contracts, alternative less-destructive energy sources and the state and future of BC […]
Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head, spoke to the Legislature on October 9, 2014. This are excerpts: The undeniable truth is that British Columbians have been sold a bill of […]