NDP's Shane Simpson worries that B.C. Liberal government focus on LNG comes at a price

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The new B.C. NDP critic for economic development, Shane Simpson, says he wants to focus on the diversification of B.C.'s economy.

In a phone interview with the Straight, Simpon said that the B.C. Liberal government's preoccupation with creating a liquefied-natural-gas industry "has been at the expense of attention to a number of other sectors".

He listed forestry, mining, and high-tech as three examples.

"It's almost impossible to get much meaningful attention out of the government," Simpson alleged. "So it becomes an issue of saying, 'Okay, let's talk about how we can improve that.' "

Simpson, the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Hastings, is also the new B.C. NDP critic for jobs, labour and skills.

He suggested that one key measure of economic development should be the number of family-supporting jobs that are being created.

"If it's not doing that, is it generating levels of revenue that help support government programs like health and education, and are putting extra resources in there?" Simpson added.

Thirdly, he said that economic development must also "address the realities of environmental issues and First Nations".

Simpson said the fall session of the legislature will likely focus around the royalty regime being created for the LNG industry.

It comes at a time when LNG prices have fallen significantly in Asia, raising questions about the viability of the entire LNG enterprise in B.C.

"My sense is nobody is going to consider a deal, none of the companies, until they actually know what the rules are," Simpson said. "And they're going to want to see them in law."

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Mark
Extremely hard to create a diversified, family supporting economy in BC. The high cost of operating here keeps a lot of companies from bringing their headquarters here. Compare that with Calgary and Edmonton, where land values are lower, and that's where the family supporting jobs are.

In BC in the last 10 years or so, we have only concerned ourselves with building as many condo towers as possible, and flipping homes, disregarding whether families can afford increasing real estate prices and other personal costs.
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cuz
Hey, it's easy to be a critic. The ndp should worry about their own house. They really lost all credibility in the last election!!
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Cons
BC has a great small business community but it is in decline after years of neglect by this Government and all the Corporate Welfare primarily aimed at big mostly Foreign Corporations.

Comparing Alberta to BC is a fallacy in that Alberta has the Tar Sands which is the primary engine for that Economy as well as the Canadian Economy.

The LNG debacle is unfolding due to the collapse in the price as supplies increase from various Countries.

No Corporation is going to invest billions in an LNG plant without huge subsidies from the Government and we should not subsidize an LNG industry that will never be able to ween itself off subsidies due to lower LNG prices above the costs of production and transportation from BC to Asia.

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