Federal candidates weigh in on Woodfibre LNG project
Election candidates from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country expressed a range in opinion on the Woodfibre Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plant proposed for their riding, according to interviews conducted by Propeller Strategy.
Conservative Member of Parliament, John Weston, admitted support for the LNG industry and the environmental review process for the controversial LNG plant.
“I believe that politicians are not the best persons equipped to support or oppose a specific project, but, people such as scientists and engineers are the ones equipped to do that,” Weston added.
Liberal candidate and former West Vancouver mayor—Pam Goldsmith-Jones—highlighted the recent removal of environmental legislative protections by the Conservatives and cited four conditions that would need to be in place before Woodfibre LNG could be properly reviewed.
Goldsmith-Jones said an audit is needed of the new laws in order to assess the damage and restore important pieces.
When asked whether they support the LNG plant moving forward to approval, the NDP and Green candidates both resoundingly responded—“no.”
Business owner, educator, and NDP candidate Larry Koopman cited safety risks as of “prime concern” and stated the project doesn’t have the social licence to proceed.
Ken Melamed, the former Whistler mayor turned Green candidate, said the “LNG export industry is not appropriate for BC,” and that it isn’t “consistent with the values of Canadians and a strong economic policy.”
Feds have the final say on Woodfibre LNG
A hot topic in the 2014 municipal elections around Howe Sound, the Woodfibre LNG plant is nearing a decision on its environmental review. It’s undergoing a provincially led review that will likely get a thumbs-up from an LNG-enthusiastic Christy Clark government. The Squamish Nation is also conducting its own review of the project.
Despite the upcoming provincial decision, Weston’s federal Conservatives have ultimate decision-making authority over the project, at least until election day, and beyond if they hold power. Though some believe the Conservatives will steer away from controversial LNG approvals right before the federal election.
An opportunity to juice more from candidates on Woodfibre LNG?
Woodfibre LNG is no doubt the biggest local election issue in this riding.
Interestingly, recent polling suggests this long-standing Conservative stronghold is now in a rare three-way race between the Liberal, Conservative and NDP candidates.
The combination of a tight race and a looming federal decision on a contentious project may provide an opportunity for voters to pressure candidates for stronger campaign commitments around Woodfibre LNG.
It’s neck and neck around Howe Sound and no candidate can afford to lose a single voter.