Climate action neglected in B.C. Liberals' throne speech

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This week the B.C. Liberals delivered their throne speech as a new session of the province's legislature began. High on the list of issues covered were the province's economic record, LNG projects and agricultural growth.

With the B.C. provincial election just over a year away, the speech acted as a foundation for the B.C. Liberals' election campaign, highlighting some of their previous accomplishments and plans for the months ahead.

"To grow and diversify our economy, we must have the courage to say yes," the speech read. "Yes to recognizing that economic development and environmental protection go hand in hand."

However, critics of the B.C. Liberals have noted that their focus on economic development has a habit of neglecting environmental protection -- particularly when it comes to Premier Christy Clark's ongoing pursuit of LNG projects.

"We're concerned about the continued commitment to LNG," says Tim Pearson, Director of Communications at Sierra Club B.C. told rabble. "With global commitments, including Canada's, to trying to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees we need much, much stronger action and LNG is simply incompatible with that."

Beyond climate concerns, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver pointed to the financial nature of the Liberals' continued push for LNG.

"The global market is oversaturated in natural gases...and the world is decarbonizing its energy systems," he said in a statement. "British Columbians would be better off with a government that knows that success means to stop throwing good money after bad. Success means investing in a 21st century economy, not doubling down on an economy of the past century as Alberta and the Harper government did."

Pearson echos this statement noting "we would've liked to have seen a commitment to real investment in genuinely renewable energy sources to wean us off fossil fuels."

Pearson also pointed out the issue of the speech's paradoxical comments on the importance of food supply security and the province's Buy Local program while, later on in the speech, suggesting the benefits of B.C. Hydro's Site C Dam project.

"Site C would flood incredibly productive farmland in the Peace River Valley that's capable of providing fruits and vegetables to one million people," he says. "If this government is committed to food security, why on earth would you flood that land?"

At the end of the day, for a political party that has committed to making B.C. a leader in climate action, the throne speech's lack of comment on climate change was significant -- an omission not unlike those seen in Harper's federal government.

"Has this government done anything to make the lives of British Columbians substantially better? I would suggest not," said Weaver. "After I listened to the Throne Speech today it has become perfectly clear that Today's B.C. Liberals are nothing more than Yesterday's Harper Tories."


The B.C. NDP did not return request for comment before publication time.

Alyse Kotyk is a Vancouver-based writer and editor with a passion for social justice and storytelling. She studied English Literature and Global Development at Queen's University and is excited by media that digs deep, asks questions and shares narratives. Alyse was the Editor of Servants Quarters and has written for the Queen's News Centre, Quietly Media and the Vancouver Observer. She is now rabble's News Intern.

Photo of Christy Clark in 2016: flickr/ BC Innovation Council

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