Venon-Monashee candidates asked: Where do you stand on pipelines and resource investment in B.C?

Candidates talk resources

Castanet put the provincial election candidates in Vernon-Monashee on the hot seat with a series of questions on issues of importance.

The topics were selected from among the top concerns of British Columbians in a recent Angus Reid survey.

We'll run all eight questions and the candidates' answers leading up to election day on Oct. 24.

Today's question: Where do you stand on pipelines and resource investment in B.C?

Keli Westgate, BC Greens

We will end subsidies and wean the province off fossil fuels, especially high-polluting LNG.

We will not support expansion of pipelines to offshore the carbon pollution problem.

The BC Greens are in favour of clean, local, renewable energy projects.

We are in a climate emergency, and none of the other parties seem to accept this fact. We cannot continue down the path of carbon emissions related to fossil fuel extraction and burning if we want to protect our water, land, air and health.

We will invest in innovative solutions and end subsidies for the oil and gas sector.

Kyle Delfing, BC Conservatives

We would like to see more investment in our resources and into pipeline infrastructure. Getting Canadian oil and gas products to world markets is a great way to help other countries modernize their infrastructure while supporting our communities with tax revenues and great paying energy sector jobs.

We all know the Okanagan has more red plates in the summer when oil is flowing freely to the market. 

There is lots to do regarding resource development. We will encourage a change to how we manage our forests by expediting the replanting of cut blocks and promptly updating the stumpage fee in shorter intervals to compete with other markets. We would also work with resource industries to create finished products from B.C.'s resources; this would promote job creation in communities like Vernon and across B.C.

British Columbia has a unique position in Canada, being full or resources and a prime location to export our resources to the world. Resource development has always played a vital role in the prosperity of Canada. To ignore that reality is to create poverty willfully.

We must continue to develop and manage our resources to benefit the lives of all British Columbians. We all want a clean environment, and we will always have that at the top of our list. We also need to generate capital to take care of our people. Resource projects yield a lot of tax revenues that would otherwise come from the average citizen. Responsible resource development is one of our key strategies.

Eric Foster, BC Liberals

I am a registered forest technician by trade, and I am a huge proponent of responsible natural resource management. I understand the importance of B.C.’s resource industries.

Although the North Okanagan region is not as heavily reliant on resource development and investment as some of the smaller rural communities in B.C. are, I believe we need an attentive government who will work for all communities and not just for those on the Lower Mainland and the Island.

Over the past three years, the forestry industry has essentially collapsed, with 45 mills closed or partially closed and over 10,000 jobs impacted. The stumpage system is broken. New mine permit processing times are so long that investors take their money elsewhere. The Rural Dividend Fund has been gutted. When the BC Liberals introduced a five-point recovery plan for the industry — John Horgan said no and dismissed it.

The situation is obviously broken and requires a new approach.

Overall, I am a proponent of resource development and investment. If building pipelines is a necessary part of getting product to market in a safe and responsible way that will help grow our economy, I support it.

Harwinder Sandhu, BC NDP

B.C. is rich in resources. The shift we're making is to put the public good first. Our strategy is to deliver smart, well-distributed industry, manufacturing and growth, to all parts of the province. We can revitalize communities facing job loss by getting more value from our resources and retraining people, our greatest resource. 

In forestry, a greater portion of the annual allowable cut will go to higher value producers who demonstrate they are creating new jobs. In 2020, we planted the most trees in B.C.'s history, and invested in wildfire protection and silviculture to ensure a healthy, sustainable forest.

In mining, we support innovation, training in new technologies, regulatory excellence, environmental enforcement and low-carbon approaches.  

In agreements with First Nations along its proposed pipeline route, LNG Canada is expected to be one of the lowest GHG emitters of any LNG facility in the world. It will be strictly monitored to fit our climate plan.

B.C.'s salmon need protected habitat, while B.C.-caught fish will be processed in B.C. A new provincial coastal plan to protect habitat while growing coastal economies will happen alongside negotiated reduced freighter traffic in the south. 

Agriculture is highlighted by the pandemic as climate change threatens food security. Grow, Feed and Buy B.C., cut by the Liberals and returned by John Horgan, key to our food and beverage producers, will have new processing hubs. I deeply understand the value of our farmers and their hard work to bring food to our tables. BC NDP have made great changes to protect agriculture land.

Tomorrow: Final question on integrity and ethics in politics

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