Today, for the second time since I was elected, I stood alone in the legislature.
This fall brought our elected representatives back to Victoria to debate the government’s singular plan to develop an LNG export industry in British Columbia. Our new session started on Monday with the government’s Speech from the Throne.
The problem is that the economics simply aren’t there to support an LNG industry on the scale of what has been promised. I’ve been pointing this out for nearly two years now. And as an MLA, I believe that it’s my job to present a realistic alternative when I find myself disagreeing with an idea put before me. It’s not enough to simply say no. Our challenges are too profound to be met with blind opposition.
With that in mind, I used the 30 minutes I am allotted to respond to the throne speech to lay out an alternative vision to the government’s plan. My vision was for British Columbia to develop a diversified economy that seeks to innovate in existing industries while also promoting the up-and-coming pillars of a 21st century economy, such as the clean tech sector. A 21st century economy also includes making new investments into education and core government services while also addressing the growing spectre of climate change. I even mapped out how a responsible LNG, and more broadly the natural gas industry could play its part in this diversified and sustainable future.
As a part of my effort to offer a new alternative, I put forward an amendment to the Throne Speech calling on us, as a legislature and a government, to consider this vision as an alternative path to the one currently proposed by the government.
I made it clear that real leadership is not gambling our future prosperity on a hypothetical windfall from LNG, but instead supporting the development of a diversified, sustainable, 21st century economy as I outlined in my speech.
At the end of the day, I found myself voted down 65-1.
Both the BC Liberals and the B.C. NDP decided they could not support this vision.
Going forward, I will ensure that the government’s hype about the LNG opportunity is met with the honest facts that the future of BC will not be paid for by an LNG windfall. It is, afterall, my job as an MLA to hold the government to account on their promises.
I will also continue to map out my vision of a diversified, sustainable 21st century economy.