by Tom Fletcher
The B.C. government presented a cautious preview of the coming year with its speech from the throne Tuesday, predicting a rural revival through industrial growth while lowering earlier aggressive expectations for mining and natural gas exports.
The speech announced the formation of a rural advisory committee to “provide independent and impartial advice on helping rural B.C. increase opportunities, manage growth and meet its full potential in communities big and small.”
As the government continues to await investment decisions for liquefied natural gas facilities, the speech noted that LNG “could create 100,000 jobs and the revenues to eliminate our debt,” adding that exports are needed to maintain a gas industry that already employs 13,000 people.
The speech referred to five new mines opening since 2011, but avoided mention of northeast coal mines that have closed due to low commodity prices that also threaten the continued operation of metal mines in B.C.
“This year in transportation, your government is working in partnership with Alberta and Saskatchewan through the New West Partnership to add capacity and resolve bottlenecks to strengthen our Asia-Pacific gateway,” the speech said.