Green Party of B.C. candidates say they believe the province can become a “green tech powerhouse” if a series of regulatory barriers in the province are addressed.
“We think that there needs to be some governance changes, some structural changes in how we go about thinking about the future of British Columbia, so that it isn’t just fossil fuel-based,” Green party leader Jane Sterk said during a press conference in Vancouver today (May 9).
“I come from Alberta; I know boom-and-bust cycles. And we don’t want that as a future for British Columbia, and that’s the path that we’re on if we do what the other parties are proposing.”
In their platform, the B.C. Liberals call the liquefied natural gas industry a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" that they project could generate up to $100 billion over the next 30 years if five LNG plants are in operation.
Green candidates criticized the other B.C. political parties for what Sterk called “a sense of desperation in their economic policy”.
“I think that...the Liberal projections of the royalties from natural gas are a fantasy, and hence the assumptions used in the NDP projections as to what the budget will be are also a fantasy too,” charged Andrew Weaver, the Green candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.
"Building a future economy two decades from now on LNG is…a pipe dream."
Jason Bak, the CEO of Finavera Wind Energy, said legislators have been focusing on hydrocarbons, coal, and LNG, “while not spending enough time focusing on making it easy to invest billions of dollars in clean energy in this province.”
Bak said he has talked to “dozens of companies” over the last two years that wanted to fund Finavera's projects.
“We’ve been able to attract billions of dollars of capital that [they] want to invest in this province, but they can’t do that without the right legislation, without the right framework to have these products developed within a set timeframe," he said.
Sterk said the Green party is proposing to improve the environmental assessment process, which it believes will translate to fewer regulatory barriers.
"The companies that want to invest will get the information that they need faster and the conditions will be set up in advance,” she stated.
Measures proposed in the Green party's platform include making B.C. Hydro a division of a new B.C. Energy Authority that would be focused on renewable energy.
Sterk acknowledged that the B.C. Greens are "not going to form government” following the election next week, but are seeking official party status in the legislature.
“We want to be able to go in and provoke the government to think differently,” she said.