There sure is a lot of excitement in town about the prospect of LNG coming to the North Coast.
It promised to bring jobs in construction and operations, but I wonder if it is such a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for the city to be in a boom environment too.
Just look at the places around the world that has had the so-called LNG boom. The LNG companies have pitted country against country to see who gets it. In the process, they have wanted concessions from those countries or have threatened to go somewhere else if they don’t get them.
I read in Australia they demanded a one-third concession from the government for the construction costs. Then the construction cost, estimated to be $30 billion, ballooned to $100 billion so the government was on the hook for $33 billion (the original cost and possibly the real cost). Maybe the LNG people got their plant built entirely by government money.
Oh, but there’s royalties you say… how many decades will it take to get $33 billion back in royalties? I’m guessing it will be a really long time. Meanwhile, the LNG companies reel in the profits because they had no construction costs because the government paid the cost.
Is our government getting sucked into the same deal? Maybe. Why haven’t the plants been started yet? Maybe the B.C. government hasn’t signed the deal yet. But if there is so much money in LNG, why do you need concessions?
Don’t believe me? The nature of foreign investment in Canada is to get concessions. The Chinese did it with the pulp mill and took the city to the edge of bankruptcy. And what’s going on in Alberta? More oil than ever before coming out of Alberta and the largest deficit in Alberta’s history. I fear we in B.C. are headed down the same road and what do you think gets cut when that happens? Education, health care, ferries and government services of all kinds.
But when our politicians make bad decisions these are the things that suffer, not the politicians.
Environmental concerns seem to dominate as the biggest detriment to LNG coming, but maybe people should start asking if LNG is going to put us in the poor house as well.