VIDEO – Question to Premier Horgan regarding British Columbia’s energy policy

I rose in question period to press Premier John Horgan on the whether his government was going to follow the BC Liberal approach to energy policy or embrace a 21st century energy policy?

[Transcript]

This week in the House, British Columbia’s energy policy has been canvassed in great detail. In doing so, we’ve spoken a lot about the legacy of the B.C. Liberals, a government that let industry set the energy agenda for B.C.
Those companies determined how many wells, pipelines, roads and water dams were needed and where they’d go. 

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members, please. We shall hear the question.

A. Olsen: Even Site C is a clear industry connection. For the Liberals, it was all about politics. The problem is we’re now seeing the same approach to energy policy from the new government. 

This week questions were dodged or avoided altogether. A B.C. Hydro rate freeze was announced with short-term political gain in mind, not responsible energy policy. This approach will simply saddle us and our children with additional costs. No different than the last government.

The NDP government claims at every turn that they’re different than the B.C. Liberals and yet, we’re seeing more of the same.

My question is to the Premier. According to Moody’s, B.C. Hydro’s financial position is among the weakest of any Canadian utility. Now, how is freezing hydro rates doing anything different than continuing the B.C. Liberal legacy of putting politics before good public policy.

Hon. J. Horgan: I thank the member for his question. I do agree with him that the disastrous record of the people on the other side of the House deserves attention.

I also know that working cooperatively with the Green caucus, a fully recognized political entity in this Legislature, we can come up with better policy for the people of British Columbia. 

We ran on a platform to freeze hydro rates while we did a thorough review. I expect B.C. Hydro to find those savings, not at a cost to taxpayers, not at a cost to ratepayers, and we are going to get the job done. I welcome the member’s participation in that work.

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.
Member, please be seated until you can hear yourself speak.
Member for Saanich North and the Islands on a supplemental.

A. Olsen: We are rapidly approaching a crossroads. We can continue to follow the B.C. Liberal’s path of fiscal mismanagement, or this government can be better by developing our energy policy in a way that is fiscally sound, environmentally sustainable and respectful of First Nations.

The opportunity in front of us is a generational one. This government has an unparalleled chance to set the course for 21st century energy policy in this province. Failing to take advantage of this moment will see this government’s legacy become just another chapter in the sad legacy of the B.C. Liberal energy policy.

My question is for the Premier. In order to rise to this opportunity, we have to do more than say the right words. We need to take clear, bold action that takes us into the 21st century. Mr. Premier, are you prepared to do that?

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. The question has been directed towards the Premier.

Hon. J. Horgan: Thank you for the question from the member for Saanich North and the Islands.
I think that it’s interesting to watch the response from the B.C. Liberals when you have a former board member at B.C. Hydro who knew full well they were proceeding down the wrong track on Site C, a board member who knew that the deferred debt was going up by $3 billion.

For them to heckle a legitimate question about a generational opportunity not just in energy policy but in the decorum of this place, where legislators from across British Columbia can come to one location and build a better British Columbia…. It’s questions that want to inspire people that are appreciated in this place, not the crap that comes from the other side.

In anticipation, I withdraw that last comment.

However, the challenges that the member from Saanich North has laid down for this government and for this Legislature are real challenges, and I think all members of British Columbia want us to act responsibly as we go forward. But, hon. Member, we are where we are, we found what we found, and it was a big stinking pile. We’re going to do the best we can to fix it.

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