B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

B.C. VOTES 2020

B.C. Green leader pushes Horgan on climate, Wilkinson on debt

Furstenau focuses radio debate on hydro imports, LNG

Why are we having this election in the middle of a health and economic emergency? That question won’t go away for NDP leader John Horgan, as he was forced again in the B.C. election campaign’s second leader debate to justify why he called it a year early.

In one of several sharp exchanges with B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau on radio station CKNW Oct. 15, Horgan said it was the Greens’ lack of support for his plan to import U.S. electricity that persuaded him to break his written agreement on the minority government formed in 2017. Horgan asked Furstenau if she also opposes sending out $1,000 payments to most B.C. families, like she opposed cheaper energy from California.

Furstenau, who was hit with the election call a week into her leadership, has shown strongly in two debates despite having a hastily assembled platform and slate of candidates. That platform includes a boost for school district funding to get them through a period of falling enrolment and a shift to online and hybrid schooling in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of Horgan sending out payments to families earning up to $175,000, the $1.4 billion should be invested in education, Furstenau said. That plan is outlined in the Green platform released this week, centred on stable funding rather than per-pupil grants to districts that are struggling to serve students and laying off teachers.

As for imported U.S. power, she said the proposed imports are not guaranteed to be clean, and the NDP would tie B.C. to the American energy market while turning away from small renewable power that helps remote and Indigenous communities. Horgan’s government had to withdraw its power import legislation, after the three B.C. Green MLAs joined Indigenous leaders in opposing it.

The biggest rift between the Greens and NDP was over Horgan’s surprise plan to sweeten the financial pot for LNG Canada, a consortium of Shell, Petronas and other petroleum giants building an LNG plant and pipeline across northern B.C. to Kitimat. Horgan insists he can meet his government’s downgraded greenhouse gas emission targets, even with liquefied natural gas extraction and transport to Asia.

Furstenau said Horgan’s NDP provided $6 billion in subsidies to LNG Canada, after repealing an “LNG income tax” that was added by former premier Christy Clark in an effort to gain a windfall for B.C. natural gas exports.

“The $6 billion was not a subsidy, it was a deferral,” Horgan replied.

That’s not what the NDP government said in March 2018 when the new incentives for LNG Canada were revealed. Horgan said then his revised tax and gas royalty regime would generate $22 billion over 40 years, down from a previous estimate of $28 billion that LNG Canada partners saw as too high.

RELATED: NDP offers tax breaks to jumpstart LNG at Kitimat

RELATED: NDP vows ‘carbon neutral B.C.’ as oil pipeline begins

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visited Terrace and Kitimat Oct. 14, promising to get a second LNG export project off the ground. The completion of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline from the Peace River region to the North Coast continues to be confronted by protests, although the elected first nation councils along the route all approve and benefit from it.

Furstenau pressed Wilkinson on the consequences of his plan to eliminate provincial sales tax completely for a year, and bring it back at a reduced rate at a cost of more than $10 billion to the province’s revenues. A high school student submitted a similar question to the debate, asking how much debt all leaders were willing to pass on to the next generation.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gardeners at the Intergenerational Garden participated in the Grow-A-Row program for the Friends In Need Food Bank in previous years. (The News files)
Grow-A-Row for the food bank in Maple Ridge

Friends In Need Food Bank in need of gardeners to produce fresh produce

Townhomes at ERA Maple Ridge became a hot commodity as house prices soared past $1 million. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Sales at ERA Maple Ridge show sizzling market

Downtown development sells 13 townhomes one Sunday

Mike Cosic is taking over as Benchmark Botanics’ new CEO. (LinkedIn)
Pitt Meadows cannabis company names new CEO

Mike Cosic was previously the CFO of Meta Growth Corp

Chameleon Cafe, located in Maple Ridge, B.C., has a permanent street-side patio. (Black Press files)
Chamber of Commerce wants Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to move barriers to patios

Chamber president says struggling restaurants, bars and cafes don’t need additional red tape

Ken Dockendorf is president of the BC High School Boys Basketball Association. (THE NEWS files)
Administrators vote to change BC school sports governance

Maple Ridge coach says athletes won’t notice a change next season

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read