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

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
More than 200 new COVID-19 cases linked to Fraser Health region: Dr. Henry

Provincial health officer appeals to people to keep gatherings small

Reni Masi file photo
Former Surrey school trustee, Delta MLA dies at age 87

Reni Masi served as Liberal MLA for nine years, then as a Surrey school trustee for another nine

A mail-in ballot package for the 2020 B.C. provincial general election. (Liam Harrap photo)
Over 15,000 mail-in ballots in Delta could mean no clear winners on election night

About 18 per cent of voters in Delta North, 23 per cent of voters in Delta South, issued mail-in ballots

A driver pulls up to the new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Weddings, funerals have ‘potential to become a super-spreader’ event: Fraser Health

As of Oct. 21, health authority accounted for 70% of total provincial cases

(Delta Police Department photo)
Police investigating indecent acts in North Delta park

Police received two separate reports of a man masturbating near the Mackie Library on Oct. 21

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Most Read