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

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits Nanoose Bay property

Experts say interesting look may simply be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

The section of Highway 19A between Laburnum Road and Goodyear Road was closed to traffic due to a single vehicular accident. (DriveBC illustration)
Section of highway closed after vehicle hits telephone pole near Qualicum Beach

Traffic disrupted for hours; two people taken to hospital

Joan LeMoine. (Peter McCully photo)
OPINION: Joan LeMoine represented the very best in all of us

Beloved Parksville area volunteer left an indelible mark on the community

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read