Horgan on trade, carbon tax and LNG

Black Press interview: Horgan on trade, carbon tax and LNG

Tom FletcherBlack Press


NDP leader John Horgan sat down with Tom Fletcher for a year-end interview in his Victoria office Dec. 10. Here are excerpts. For the full version, see the Opinion tab at Omineca Express.


TF: In the recent federal election, national NDP leader Thomas Mulcair rejected the Trans Pacific Partnership sight unseen, endorsing letters from Unifor and CUPE saying this is a bad deal. Is your party seen as against Pacific Rim trade?

JH: No, I don’t think so, and what I said at the time was that I support trade. We’re a trade-centred province. We’re looking across the ocean at the largest market the world has known, and I support getting our products to higher-priced markets.

But having said that, the B.C. Liberals embraced TPP without even having seen it.

TF: The NDP and unions have historically been protectionist. Do you see any need to modernize the B.C. party?

JH: When it comes to trade, I think we have modernized. And who was the first premier to go on a trade mission from British Columbia? It was Dave Barrett. And now there has been a succession of premiers make regular visits to other markets to try to stimulate economic activity here at home.

TF: Your party supports the carbon tax now, but not the revenue neutral approach. Do you support increasing the rate?

JH: I’ve looked carefully at the report tabled by the premier’s [advisory] group, a vast array of British Columbians, and there was a lot of water put into the wine to get to the position they got to. What I’m comfortable with is that the date that they’ve selected for a ramping up of the carbon tax is 2018, which will be a year after the next provincial election. So if I’m successful and form a government, I’ll have time to look at tax policy broadly to see if we can make improvements in the carbon tax.

For me, and I think for most British Columbians, the model that Alberta has adopted of taking revenues and driving them into industries, or activities like transit, that will reduce emissions over time.

TF: Natural gas price and volume continue to go down, along with commodities generally, and supply of oil and gas keeps going up. What’s your take on the prospects for LNG after the year we’ve had?

JH: Not good. I’ve always said price will determine whether investors drop down multi-billions of dollars in a far-away place to provide a product that is not developed here. Brownfield opportunities have moved very quickly in the U.S. Changing LNG import facilities to export facilities is a whole lot easier and cheaper than starting from scratch.

Getting to the coast is a challenge for fossil fuels, and the last LNG price point I saw delivered in Asia was $5.70 a unit. You’re not going to make money at that price, even with rock-bottom prices here in B.C.

TF: We’ve just had a couple of announcements as part of the government’s Jobs Plan, $100 million in financing for tech startups, which your critic was pleased about, and an agriculture and food strategy. Are we going to see more Jobs Plan advertising in the new year?

JH: It’s the Christmas season, the federal election is over, there are two sets of ads running now. I think these ads are self-promotion. These are not informing the public on information that they really need.

If it’s just smiling people with hardhats on, I think we’re going to have something to say about that.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc


Just Posted

Skateboard park finally finds a home

New site adjacent to Diamond #4

Local air show hits turbulence as Provincial funding falls short

Community donations help save iconic event

Cough, cough…Vanderhoof’s air a problem

Wood stove replacement program largely ignored

U.S. consulate general to visit Northwest

Trip part of the region’s first-ever pop-up consul for American residents

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Northwest B.C. pellet plant to provide energy to Asia

Pinnalce Renewable Holdings and West Fraser Timber approve construction of plant in Smithers.

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

Most Read