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

Paul Nestman’s Exemplary Service Award, which will be presented to him on Oct. 27 by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin during a virtual ceremony. (Provided by Tammy Robinson)
‘Trust your team’: Victoria man receives Exemplary Service Award from Coast Guard

Paul Nestman, along with 36 others, receive awards during virtual ceremony

The ‘fall back’ time change Nov.1 means earlier sunrises – and sunsets – for British Columbians. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Clocks ‘fall back’ for B.C. residents on Nov. 1

Daylight Saving Time ends, B.C. still working on permanent switch to ‘spring ahead’ time

Victoria fire crews quickly extinguished a multi-unit apartment building fire near Beacon Hill Park on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Chief Paul Bruce)
Victoria fire crews extinguish multi-unit fire near Beacon Hill Park

Two people have suffered non-life-threatening injuries

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read