LNG Tax Breaks Must Be Rejected

Statement by the Communist Party of BC, March 26, 2018

Less than a year after the BC Liberals were defeated in part because of their close ties to the big energy monopolies, the new government of British Columbia is already beginning to move in a similar direction. Despite their campaign promises to shift away from Christy Clark’s  economic strategy based on extraction and export of energy and other raw materials, two early key decisions by Premier John Horgan have been the Site C Dam approval, and now the offer of massive tax breaks for liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects. The Communist Party of British Columbia condemns the LNG tax breaks and the earlier Site C approval as disasters for the environment, for indigenous peoples, and for working class taxpayers.

In both cases, these policies were not based on any serious economic, social or environmental analysis, but rather on accepting the assumption that ‘what’s good for the corporations is good for British Columbians.”

Clearly, despite taking some positive steps to reverse the damage inflicted by 16 years of Liberal governments, the NDP has chosen not to break with the historic private capitalist drive for maximum exploitation of the lands and resources on unceded traditional territories of the indigenous peoples. Both Site C and the LNG tax giveaways will bring overwhelming negative consequences for people and the environment. At a time when Canada and British Columbia face huge challenges in reaching targets to reduce carbon emissions, the proposed tax breaks for the LNG Canada project in Kitimat ignore the true carbon footprint of this industry. The provincial government’s figures on LNG fail to provide a complete and accurate picture. Unbiased scientific research shows that “fugitive” methane emissions emitted during fracking for LNG are at least 2.5 times higher than claimed by industry and governments. By 2050, the annual carbon dioxide emissions from the LNG Canada project alone could top 9.6 megatonnes, or 80 per cent of B.C.’s total annual emissions target of 12 megatonnes.

This is not the direction the Horgan government promised last summer in its confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party, which stated that the carbon tax would be applied to methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The Communist Party of BC joins with environmental groups, indigenous peoples, “green jobs” advocates and others in demanding an end to special favours to boost the profits of big energy monopolies.

Our economic future should not be based on handing out taxpayers’ dollars in the scramble for a bigger share of shrinking global demand for fossil fuels. Working people need policies based on public ownership and democratic control of all energy and natural resource extraction, production and distribution; a reduction of energy exports; an end to fracking; and a shift towards job-creating renewable energy projects which reduce B.C.’s carbon emission footprint.

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