VICTORIA, B.C. — Today, the BC NDP and BC Liberals passed into law tax credits and the fiscal regime for what will become the single largest point source of carbon emissions in Canada’s history two days after a government report confirmed Canada is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the world, with the North, the Prairies and northern British Columbia pushing to nearly three times the global rate.
“This legislation is not only lacking vision to bring BC into a competitive economic future, it is compounding the massive challenges we have before us today in the form of extreme weather events: massive fires, droughts, and flooding,” said Dr. Andrew Weaver, leader of the BC Greens and award-winning lead author of four United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. “The BC NDP and BC Liberals are together sending BC down the wrong path with new fossil fuel subsidies and the expansion of the oil and gas sector while much of the world is transitioning to a clean economy based on innovation and sustainability.
“Our caucus used every tool at our disposal to oppose this legislation. We forced 14 votes in order to give MLAs repeated opportunities to stand up and vote against this bill, to vote with their conscience, and to question whether this was the path they support our province pursuing. When the BC Liberals brought forth an amendment to the bill itself, our caucus chose to abstain; we will take no part in debating, passing or defeating an amendment on a piece of legislation we fundamentally oppose. Every MLA who felt conflicted in supporting giving massive tax breaks to what will become the single largest point source of carbon emissions in Canada’s history right after endorsing CleanBC’s objectives to reduce BC’s emissions, should have voted against this legislation.”
The BC NDP have ignored the rising economic costs of the environmental impact from the increase in floods, forest fires and drought that this project’s emissions will contribute to when they talk about its potential benefits. Last year, BC’s forest-fire spending increased from an average of $214 million to $568 million. Floods cost $73 million last year and studies show a major Fraser River or coastal flood could cause damages up to $30 billion.
“What is so disappointing about the passage of this bill is not only that the costs will fall squarely on communities across the province - but that there is a viable alternative in front of us,” said MLA Sonia Furstenau of Cowichan Valley. “Rather than put our effort into working with communities and First Nations across the province to implement an economic roadmap that increases their resilience to climate change, we have yet another government that has worked hard to aggressively secure tax cuts for a new major fossil fuel development.”
“There were 83 legislators from both the BC Liberals and BC NDP who supported a project that will pollute until after our children have retired,” said MLA Adam Olsen. “Now, more than ever, BC needs the Greens to be here in government. We may just be three MLAs, but we will continue to do everything in our power to set BC on a sustainable course. We must allow science to inform our policy if we want to ensure our children inherit a world worth living in.”
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