Saturday, July 18, 2015

Shorter Dean Of Legislative Press Gallery...If Petronas Deal Goes Bad, Blame The NDP.


You think I'm joking?

Here's is the good Mr. Palmer's latest lede and a wee bit more:

After all the buildup for the special summer session of the legislature, the key debate on the B.C. Liberal government’s controversial liquefied natural gas agreement came and went in short order this week.

Bill 30, the LNG Project Agreements Act, passed second reading, the stage where MLAs debate the merits in principle of a given piece of legislation, after just three days on the order paper.

Only half of the New Democratic Party MLAs exercised their right to speak against the enabling legislation for the 25-year deal between the Liberals and a consortium led by Malaysian-government owned Petronas.

Those who did speak tried not to say anything that would contradict party leader John Horgan, who said at the outset of the debate that “we do not under any circumstances oppose development of this (natural gas) resource.”...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Not to say more research or more speeches would have changed the outcome. Still, the apparent willingness to expedite passage left the impression that the New Democrats were almost as keen as the B.C. Liberals to put the matter behind them...

And when the Opposition supported a motion by Green MLA Andrew Weaver to halt Bill 30 because of the 25 year straightjacket it places on British Columbians that didn't seem to count either:

...Joining him (Weaver) in voting for the motion were the New Democrats, though again they did not exercise the opportunity to eat up more time speaking in support of it...

As for all that other stuff that the Dippers spent their time on to illustrate the non-stop ruinous malfeasance of the pay-to-playaholicistic Wizards Of Clarklandia?


You know.

The good Mr. Palmer didn't have the 'time' or space to write about any of that.

Given the angle of the column concerned, one can only wonder if the good Mr. Palmer bothered to call up Mr. Horgan and ask him what he would have done differently to negotiate an LNG deal if he and his had been in charge.



scotty on denman said...

BC Liberal-co-opted media isn't gonna report on what issue the NDP spent most of its speaking time during this short opportunity to raise it in the Assembly, even though they have reporters at the scene; none of Horgan's questions, nor BC Liberal non-answers, about the health-worker firings and government entangling the RCMP in its web of lies about this tragedy will ever be analyzed in any BC MSM journal, even though they claim to employ journalists; And the news that the BC Liberal government intends to continue trying to bury its obvious perfidy under a bogus "inquiry" process will never be chronicled by those who used to hold governments to account, even though both online and hardcopy publications are still called "newspapers."

Is it imaginable that if Mr Palmer was asked what else the NDP spoke about during this rare summer sitting he'd respond by say the word "nothing" instead of actually saying nothing? Would he really dare imply that the corrupt firings are of no interest to British Columbians, that lying about a police investigation to hide the initial corruption is something citizens needn't worry about, and that the life of one of those unjustly fired workers pushed over the brink of suicide was "nothing?"

Really? Vaughn's going down with the ship---and he doesn't even get to be captain.

RossK said...


One has to wonder if, given the timing, Mr. Palmer feels that his job on the healthcare worker firing inquiry is done.


You know.




Bill said...

The 'Dean' simply continues to slyly slam the NDP, credit the Green's Weaver and in doing so protect his LNG sparkle pony loving Liberals. Yes it would have been much more balanced if he had also interviewed Mr Horgan or any other of the opposition but that would require a real effort - not something Mr Palmer is inclined to do in his semiretirement. Being 'wonkish' you would think that he might even be interested in talking to and report on Martyn Brown's highly critical analysis of the Petronas LNG deal and industry template. In reality a generational sell out that Christy and company are fostering to save face at any cost. Palmer is clear on his agenda. It should by now also be clear to all that still care to read his spin.

The Dean's piece would have been more correctly titled... "Palmer goes 'relatively' easy on the BC Liberals", but that wouldn't really be news although it would be much more factual. Not surprisingly, the Georgia Straight and Martyn Brown put Mr Palmer and the Vanc. Sun to shame.

Grant G said...

he best NDP speaker against the BC Liberal LNG sell-out....Vaughn Palmer found no time or column space for this...

Jane Shin....From Hansard....Part I


"Deputy Speaker: Member for Burnaby-Lougheed.

J. Shin: Good to see you in the chair.

For those tuning in, the members of this Legislative Assembly were called back for a brief summer session in Victoria to debate Bill 30, the Liquefied Natural Gas Project Agreements Act, tabled by the government on Monday.

I do want to preface my remarks with thanks to the member for Surrey-Whalley, our lead spokesperson for the file on Natural Gas Development, as well as our researchers in the precinct and the business and economic stakeholders beyond the walls of this House who contributed by lending their expertise, spending numerous hours deciphering the 140-some pages of this bill, which is quite complex and technical. They distilled key areas of concern for us to deliberate on.

I also want to acknowledge my constituents and, surprisingly, many Liberal voters actually both in and out of Burnaby-Lougheed, who expressed their disapproval of what's considered to be of very weak business merit in this government's LNG project development agreement. I do want to mention that it's a pity that many interested British Columbians are on holidays. The weather has been great. They will be missing out on this unprecedented — and I mean that in a bad way — deal that the government is making. That might explain the rather ill-advised timing of this debate, insisted on by the government to take place in the summer instead of the fall.

As we know, the Malaysian energy giant Petronas has yet to make its final investment decision on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, and it still requires federal environmental approval to proceed. So Bill 30 before us this week is, essentially, the government's attempt to provide the LNG proponent with incentivizing measures. Such are specified in this project development agreement in the form of long-term cost certainty around the provincial taxation and environmental regulations.


Indeed, the government seems to have delivered for the corporations in this PDA. But for British Columbians, all signs point to this government coming back from the bargaining table with the short end of the stick, far less than what could be and should be had for our finite asset.

Yes, a project development agreement would be used by the government to attract, as it should, significant private investors like the LNG proponent to land a deal. But the question here is: a deal for who and at what cost?

As a member of the opposition, I am taking my place in this debate to criticize the deal for what it is and call it a bad one, because we should have done better or hold. I will be highlighting not one but multiple points, raised by many qualified to evaluate this PDA, on how this proves to be least in the interest of British Columbians and foremost for the Premier's political posturing and timeline.


Couldn`t have said it better...

Now, the thing is...LNG is trading in Asia at $7.30 per mmbtu...Petronas needs $11 dollars to break even, more if they plan on making money..

More devastating LNG news...The Iran sanctions have been lifted, guess who has ten times more natural gas than BC...Iran does, conventional gas, no need to frack for it..

So, Petronas has until 2017 to make a FID...And..They still need an environmental assessment greenlight and...Agreement with First Nations..

This project on paper makes no money for Petronas.


Grant G said...

Hansard part II


"Now, many of us in B.C. are aware of and recognize our prospects of natural gas development in this province. But we are also critical of the fact that the current economic climate and other competitors for this product in the global market are not exactly favourable for our bargaining position and do present us with significant risks for any long-term commitments. At the same time, that's not to say that there aren't positive probabilities for better gains in the near future.

[D. Horne in the chair.]

To put it quite simply, the present conditions dictate that we might be selling lower at this point. So the business case here is, then: how low are we willing to go, and why right now? Given that the government is probably desperate to lock in something or anything before the next provincial election, "Why right now?" is quite obvious. But how low is the government willing to go? Pretty low, as one would imagine.

It was expected that the Liberals would be crafting something that is now characterized by many, including their own, as a colossal sellout. He has been mentioned several times — Martyn Brown, the former chief of staff to Gordon Campbell.

We've seen how much this government can sell out. There has been a recent incidence of that to illustrate the point — the fire sale of the prime real estate in Coquitlam. How low can we go? We would sell a 6.5 hectare lot appraised at $5.6 million, and we'll let that go for $100,000. So $5.6 million for $100,000 is how low this government will go to balance their books. I can't say that there was much faith to begin with in their business acumen.

Of course, we have a Premier whose idea of a debt-free B.C. is being a Premier who piled on more debt at a record speed than any other Premier in the history of this province, racking up $20 billion on her watch. Again, on that note alone, I also can't say that there was much optimism that she would be bringing us our fair share for the LNG deal.

What I didn't anticipate was that this Liberal government could set a whole new low on what is already a pretty low expectation by making this LNG project development agreement not only a colossal sellout, but they made it a multigenerational colossal sellout that will lock us in their weak dealing for a quarter of a century. Here's the catch: a quarter century dealing for not just one corporation but for nine corporations. They gave this deal to not one but nine more corporations.

Let's take a look….


J. Shin: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I must mention this is the first time that I've been heckled. I'm sorry it has taken me two years to get there, but at least I'm learning. I can say that I can take off the rookie hat.

Deputy Speaker: I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Continue, Member.

J. Shin: Let's take a look at the Liberal PDA they tabled here. Well, the project development agreement at its core is no different than any other memorandum of understanding between two or more parties in a given transaction, where the intent of every party is to strive to have their best interests represented and inked within the negotiable terms.

What should a good deal look like? Ideally, I think it should be a win-win for every party. At the very least I would expect my representative to land me the best win that I can trade in for my asset. That should be the definition of it. But it turns out….


On the other hand, we do have a relevant comparison in another jurisdiction. It was mentioned several times. That's Australia. So let's consider what the Australian government delivered for their people in the Gorgon LNG and the North West Shelf LNG project.


Grant G said...

Hansard part III


"Firstly, they negotiated for and built into their PDAs clauses that guaranteed jobs for Australians, saying that the proponent must "use labour available within Western Australia." In contrast, this Premier's deal doesn't have a single reference to guaranteeing jobs for British Columbians in all 140 pages of it, and the corporation has already indicated that they could use up to 70 percent of the workers from overseas. That's 70 percent.

Now, I understand that the 100,000 LNG jobs that the Premier promised during the election…. I didn't have much of an expectation there. But we are, realistically, looking at 4,500 jobs from this particular LNG project and 330 jobs that will be long term. Those are not even the real numbers when you consider that 70 percent of them wouldn't be locally hired in the first place. The numbers are dismal right there. To put that in perspective, attracting one major motion film to come into town to film in B.C. would create twice that, if not more.

Secondly, Australia wrote in a buy-local policy. The proponent must give "preference to Western Australian suppliers, manufacturers and contractors when letting contracts or placing orders for works, materials, plant, equipment and supplies."

They don't stop there. They further elaborate by specifying "services of engineers, surveyors, architects and other professional consultants, experts and specialists, project managers, manufacturers, suppliers and contractors resident and available within Western Australia."

Yet, in contrast, our Premier made no requirement to buy local products and services from B.C., and Petronas, the company, has already signalled that they will be bringing services from overseas. At this point I'm pretty sure some of us are scratching our heads, going: "Really, what's in it for us, then?"

The third point. The Australian government provided no tax breaks and, certainly, no protection from future tax increases to the proponent for any length of time. Yet this Liberal government is locking in the LNG income tax that was already cut in half and reduces the corporate income tax from 11 percent to 8 percent for 25 years. I don't know if there's anybody else that would envy a deal like that.

Lastly, Australian PDAs contain environmental benefits with a clause where the proponent must pay "for ongoing programs that will provide net conservation benefits."

What about us in B.C.? What did this government get for us? The Premier came back with nothing that will protect our environment. Instead, she came back with something in writing that says that they will protect the company from increased costs if B.C. moves to improve environmental regulations in the industry.

How did we end up with a PDA so lacking compared to that which our Australian counterpart was able to strike up with their LNG proponents? This is where, I guess, Mr. Speaker, you and I can have a little bit of fun. Let's try to imagine for bit here what the thought process might have been for the government, at the table, to have ended up with a PDA like this.

Grant G said...

Hansard part IV


Remember, this government made an exorbitant promise, and they know that the market is grim, with the oil price having tanked this spring. There was a sudden U-turn, a change in the chant from LNG to diversified economy. That's the new marching order for the Liberals. But it would sure be nice, I'm sure, for the government members to have something, anything — and apparently at any cost — to come through from the LNG side before the next election. The government must have thought: "Okay. It's 2015. Not a single LNG deal yet."

Let's pretend that I'm the government, and Mr. Speaker, you will be the LNG proponent. I need to make sure you sign this deal. How can I entice you? The obvious. Okay. So how about I reduce your LNG income tax? I'll slash it. It's not 10 percent off. It's not 20 percent off. It's not 30 percent off. How about I slash it in half? That's a bold offer right there, from 7 percent to 3.5 percent."


That's worth about $800 million of revenue shortfall for us over ten years. But hey, revenue shortfall? I can always jack up the revenue by — I don't know — jacking up the MSP, ICBC, hydro, tuition, ferries — you name it. And you know what? If that doesn't bring in enough money for us, I know how to squeeze dollars by closing programs and cutting services.

But, Mr. Speaker, you don't look so convinced. What if I give you a handsome natural gas tax credit? It'll cut your corporate income tax from 11 percent to 8 percent. That's another $150 million over the next ten years that you can keep, and it's on us. Even the richest 2 percent in the province only got a 2 percent tax break in this budget, and I'm saying that I'm giving you 3 percent.

Still no, eh? Well, let me lock in those rates for you. For five years? Ten years? How about 25 years? You can keep those unbelievable rates for 25 years. Think about it. Even the mortgage rates for us don't go beyond five years fixed.


J. Shin: I don't think I was…. Was I born at that time when that deal was done? I think that we can get past that.

Mr. Speaker, still no? Aha. It must be the carbon tax thing that's bothering you. I know, eh? So let me protect you from any increases on that too.

Grant G said...

Hansard Part V


What else have I got? Oh, the greenhouse gas industrial reporting and control. That can be a bummer too, eh? So don't worry, we can lock in the rules for you for 25 years on that, too, so you can be safe from any added material costs to your operations, like having to pay for GHG offsets.

The Pembina Institute says that the subsidy is worth about $400 million over 25 years, and that's what you get to save. If anybody after me tries to change that and make you pay, I'll make sure that I put that in writing today, also, so that we have no choice but to compensate you dollar for dollar.

You still don't look so sold. Okay. So he's still not biting.

Are you worried about buyer's remorse? I understand. So let's say that in the next, oh, ten years if a different LNG proponent comes along and gets a better deal than you, I will retroactive our deal so that you can not only get the same benefits, but you can renegotiate the whole thing with us to make it even more favourable for you. Although, I don't know how this deal can possibly get any better than this, since we might as well be paying you to take our goods away.

But, Mr. Speaker — the LNG proponent — you're still not signing. Is it because the Australians put in writing job guarantees and local procurement? Well, how about if I say that you don't have to worry about any of that, because we won't put it in writing in our PDA.

Still no, eh? You're twisting my arm. Is it the apprenticeship quota for British Columbians that's bothering you? How about I let you off the hook on that one too? Just do me one favour, though. I want you to keep talking about how many jobs you're going to create through LNG, because nobody really needs to know how many of those jobs will actually be filled by British Columbians.

That's a pretty good deal so far, no? But they want more. Hmm. I'm running out of ideas. Well, how about you don't have to worry about conservation benefits either? And First Nations? We can sign the deal without them.

Social licence. Don't worry about the First Nations, building trades, academics, scientists and the British Columbians. In fact, I even had many from the University of Victoria show up in the gallery on Monday, and I thought the protest was so funny that I couldn't stop grinning. I just shut the gallery from public access the next day, and that's how we solved the problem here. How cute is that? The protestors forgot that I have majority here, and I can pass whatever I want.

There you have it. My offer is on the table for you to sign anytime. I wish I could make it valid for you indefinitely, but I do have an election coming up in 2017, so the offer can only be good for two years. I really hope that you'll buy in now while you still can, because I doubt that anybody is crazy or irresponsible enough to give you the deal that I'm giving you now.

Grant G said...

Hansard part VI

All right, Mr. Speaker, I think I'm going to wrap up there. The Coquitlam land fire sale made it pretty clear, I think, to many of us that there wouldn't be anyone in this province who would hire the Liberals as their realtors to sell their property.


This Bill 30 proves the exact same thing, seeing as this government came back with an LNG agreement that reads like they were bargaining for the corporation instead of negotiating for British Columbians.

It is just too unfortunate that…. Never mind the heckling. We seem to do it all the time. Logic, science and evidence seldom have a place in this government when it comes to their political agenda. We already know how this debate will end, if you can even call it a debate when the end is already predetermined, which is the reality. The reality is that this Bill 30, too, will pass to the tune of the Premier, irrespective of the qualified opposition across party lines.

I have seen this government rip up whatever they want to, whether it's the agricultural land reserve…. From adult basic education to English language learning, they will cut whatever they want to. From making money off student loan interest to increasing user fees like ICBC and MSP premiums, I know they can squeeze whatever they want to. Of course, I'm sure they will smear whoever they need to along the way to get their way.

My only regret in rising today on behalf of my constituents…. I tried to have some fun with it. Having tried coming to the debate respectfully or academically or whatever way, this is just another shot at it. My only regret is that the substance of my remarks, however I put it, will end up making no difference to the outcome of this debate against the majority government that we have.

My colleagues on this side of the House rose one after another to compel the government to be critical of the weaknesses that are inherent in their PDA that they came back to us with. The government failed to negotiate effectively for British Columbia. This project development agreement is a sweetheart deal — let's call it that — for the corporations. This government's attitude of "It's better than nothing" is not only not good enough, but we categorically reject the notion.

Grant G said...

Jane Shin said it all...Vaughn Palmer on LNG is being deliberately obtuse, his eyes are closed on purpose...The reason why?..For one he is a sell-out himself..The second, Palmer is flummoxed that bloggers own the LNG story, from start to finish..On LNG, Palmer is a bit player.


RossK said...

Thanks, as always, Grant.


RossK said...


Great header!

Might be fun to start re-writing 'em as a regular feature.


Anonymous said...

breach of a public trust breach of fudiciary duty
deleting emails
whatever it takes to win quote
health care firing and lying to public police investigating?
10 billion dollar dam in middle of drought.
BCHydro flat for 10 years demand at 53 now 51.2 for 2015

Grant G said...

David Keane, The spokesperson for the BCLNGA(British Columbia Liquefied Natural Gas Alliance), along with Jas Johal...David Keane states...The PDA the province signed is "Not Enough"

David Keane and the alliance want PST relief, LNG income tax relief and they want the carbon tax to not apply to the LNG industry...and more..The alliance wants provincial assurance that these LNG companies can have access to as many TFWs as needed...

Ross K..Like I said..David Keane`s message this week was cryptic, he`s asking for more..The reason being, LNG at current export prices still is not profitable, even if the price rose 40% from current levels, it still isn`t profitable....

Can we expect the BC Liberals to add more incentives to the industry in a Fall Session?.....If Petronas is still waffling, than the answer is yes..


Anonymous said...

turn nat gas to gasoline at home and forget export and site c

RossK said...


All that and Laila's 100 reasons....


You have not been wrong on this thing yet...Now I'm really worried.

And while they're at it, maybe they could make sure that we start paying Nestle for scooping up our ground water by the swimming pool full as well.


And/or we could start building the infrastructure to use the stuff ourselves...And I'm not talking about way, way more than a couple of ferries.

Heckfire....Maybe the Dippers should respond to this #$*&!'ing Dean column with such a plan.