Sunday, June 16, 2024
Darpan's 10

DARPAN 10 with BC Premier John Horgan

Petrina D’Souza, 17 May, 2018

    "In our first nine months, we’ve made real progress by eliminating MSP fees, getting rid of bridge tolls, building new schools, tackling housing affordability, introducing affordable childcare, reducing surgery wait times, and so much more.” 


    What are your major accomplishments as BC’s Premier? 

    After 16 years of neglect and bad choices by the BC Liberal government, I committed to working hard to fix the problems left behind and to make life better for people in BC. In our first nine months, we’ve made real progress by eliminating MSP fees, getting rid of bridge tolls, building new schools, tackling housing affordability, introducing affordable childcare, reducing surgery wait times, and so much more. And I’m proud that we did this while creating jobs and keeping British Columbia’s economy strong.

    Do you regret any decision made in the past year as Premier?

    We’ve faced some tough decisions on issues that people in this province care about very passionately. As hard as these decisions have been I don’t regret them. We dug deep into these issues to understand what was in front of us, and we made choices based on the values we share with British Columbians. 
    Our goals are to make life more affordable for people, to build a strong, sustainable economy and to improve services like health care and education. Guided by these values, we’ll continue to tackle the tough issues in the best interests of all British Columbians. 

    As Premier, you have been strongly opposing the Kinder Morgan project, do you think the federal government will revise or end the project?

    I have had frank discussions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where I made it clear that the people of BC expect us to defend our province from the devastating consequences of an oil spill on our environment, our economy and our coast. A single spill of diluted bitumen would threaten tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity. We are proceeding with a reference case in court to affirm BC’s right, within our jurisdiction, to defend our environment, our economy and our coast.

    It has been reported that your opposition to the project is due to the NDP government’s partnership with the Green Party, and the province cannot override the federal decision. What is your comment on it?

    We campaigned on standing up for our coast, and the jobs that depend on it, long before our government’s partnership with the Green Party. 
    All along, we’ve said what we were going to do, and then we’ve done it. We are continuing to stand up for our environment and our economy, and will settle the question of jurisdiction through the reference case we put forward to the BC Court of Appeal.

    Based on your recent meeting with PM Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, what do you think will be the outcome of the project?

    As British Columbians, we should have a say over whether we put our coast at risk. I had a conversation with Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Notley, and was clear about this. We believe we need to grow the economy, while protecting our coast from the risk of a catastrophic bitumen spill. We want to work to address these challenges together. But we will always stand up for British Columbians, our environment and the thousands of jobs that depend on our coast.

    Opposition to the project also means facing restrictions and consequences from the Alberta government. How are you going to deal it? 

    Our goal to protect our coast has generated disproportionate reactions from the Alberta government in past months. We took steps to protect our wine industry from the unwarranted trade action by the Government of Alberta and we will continue to stand up for any BC industry targeted or threatened by any unlawful actions.

    What will be the impacts of Alberta’s Bill 12 on BC? Will it increase oil prices?

    The fact is, Alberta can’t use this legislation to target British Columbians because to do so would be unlawful. Any attempt to restrict gasoline shipments to BC would not only violate the Constitution, but also the North West Partnership Agreement and the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. We don’t expect them to try to invoke these extreme measures, but we are prepared to defend British Columbians with the full force of the law. 

    Are you working on collaborating with other provinces or oil/energy companies for a solution to Alberta’s restriction?

    Alberta knows it’s against the law to enact this restriction against BC, and they likely will never use it. Even the Supreme Court of Canada has warned that attempts to punish other provinces through trade measures are not allowed. However, we are looking at every option available to protect BC should they go ahead with restrictions.  

    If the Federal government goes ahead with the project, do you have any special conditions drafted that can limit the entry of oil into BC and lessen the damage to environment?

    We’re not going to stop standing up for British Columbia’s interests. We put forward a clear question to the highest court in BC in order to confirm the Province’s right to regulate to protect the environment, our economy and our coast. We are also working with the federal government to identify and close gaps in spill prevention and response in order to improve protections for our coast.

    What major introductions/developments can residents expect from the NDP government in the coming months?

    People in BC have seen a number of changes to make their lives more affordable and to improve the services they count on over the last nine months. But the BC Liberals left a lot of problems behind, like the financial mess at ICBC, and our government still has much more to do to make life better for British Columbians. We are going to continue taking steps to tackle the housing crisis and bring more affordable childcare to families. We are going to continue taking steps to improve our healthcare system. And we are going to continue to support our strong, sustainable economy by working industries to promote BC as a great place to create good jobs – like the 3,000 new jobs just announced at Amazon in Vancouver. 

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