B.C. Views – Horgan looks back on 2015

Columnist Tom Fletcher chats with BC NDP leader John Horgan about the year gone by.

NDP leader John Horgan sat down with Tom Fletcher for a year-end interview in his Victoria office Dec. 10. Here are excerpts. For the full version, see the Opinion tab at www.ash-cache-journal.com .

 

TF: In the recent federal election, national NDP leader Thomas Mulcair rejected the Trans Pacific Partnership sight unseen, endorsing letters from Unifor and CUPE saying this is a bad deal. Is your party seen as against Pacific Rim trade?

JH: No, I don’t think so, and what I said at the time was that I support trade. We’re a trade-centred province. We’re looking across the ocean at the largest market the world has known, and I support getting our products to higher-priced markets.

But having said that, the B.C. Liberals embraced TPP without even having seen it.

TF: The NDP and unions have historically been protectionist. Do you see any need to modernize the B.C. party?

JH: When it comes to trade, I think we have modernized. And who was the first premier to go on a trade mission from British Columbia? It was Dave Barrett. And now there has been a succession of premiers make regular visits to other markets to try to stimulate economic activity here at home.

TF: Your party supports the carbon tax now, but not the revenue neutral approach. Do you support increasing the rate?

JH: I’ve looked carefully at the report tabled by the premier’s [advisory] group, a vast array of British Columbians, and there was a lot of water put into the wine to get to the position they got to. What I’m comfortable with is that the date that they’ve selected for a ramping up of the carbon tax is 2018, which will be a year after the next provincial election. So if I’m successful and form a government, I’ll have time to look at tax policy broadly to see if we can make improvements in the carbon tax.

For me, and I think for most British Columbians, the model that Alberta has adopted of taking revenues and driving them into industries, or activities like transit, that will reduce emissions over time.

TF: Natural gas price and volume continue to go down, along with commodities generally, and supply of oil and gas keeps going up. What’s your take on the prospects for LNG after the year we’ve had?

JH: Not good. I’ve always said price will determine whether investors drop down multi-billions of dollars in a far-away place to provide a product that is not developed here. Brownfield opportunities have moved very quickly in the U.S. Changing LNG import facilities to export facilities is a whole lot easier and cheaper than starting from scratch.

Getting to the coast is a challenge for fossil fuels, and the last LNG price point I saw delivered in Asia was $5.70 a unit. You’re not going to make money at that price, even with rock-bottom prices here in B.C.

TF: We’ve just had a couple of announcements as part of the government’s Jobs Plan, $100 million in financing for tech startups, which your critic was pleased about, and an agriculture and food strategy. Are we going to see more Jobs Plan advertising in the new year?

JH: It’s the Christmas season, the federal election is over, there are two sets of ads running now. I think these ads are self-promotion. These are not informing the public on information that they really need.

If it’s just smiling people with hardhats on, I think we’re going to have something to say about that.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press.

Just Posted

Golden Country: Daylight reveals the devastation and extent of the Hope Slide

Amid more rockslides and treacherous conditions, the search for the victims begins.

Smile Cookie Campaign a huge success for Tim Hortons and AVFD

Two anonymous donations had local firefighters and staff busy making cookies

Curling season has started again in Ashcroft

Club has some new members and looking for more newcomers to join

Cache Creek council wants to enter bus service negotiations

Calls from local residents for scheduled public transportation answered

Community Resiliency Barbecue well-attended and opens some eyes

Equality Project provides services for people with financial, social, and spiritual needs

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of Monica Jack

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Bernardo-like sexual deviancy poorly understood, expert says

What exactly causes such deviance is not known but some evidence exists of physical brain damage to the front part of the brain

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Former B.C. cop sentenced to jail ‘in the community’ after caught in Creep Catchers sting

Dario Devic pleaded guilty after getting caught up in Surrey Creep Catcher sting in Whalley in 2016

5 races to watch in B.C.’s municipal elections this Saturday

This year’s election results across more than 160 cities in B.C. will start pouring in after polls close Saturday at 8 p.m.

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index in September was up 2.2 per cent from a year ago compared with a year-over-year increase of 2.8 per cent in August

Most Read