With all the propaganda surrounding LNG and the Enbridge pipeline, it’s easy to be convinced by the Premier’s claim that we could be entering a new era of economic prosperity that would wipe out all our debt and substantially reduce our taxes.
However, if these megaprojects come to pass, it will more than likely have a negative impact on your pocketbook.
First, you’ll be impacted by the direct and indirect subsidies your government will give these companies to make these projects economically viable. The fossil fuel industry lives off subsidies — trillions of dollars in subsidies each year from governments worldwide, billions here in Canada and BC.
Second, most of the jobs associated with these projects will go to Albertans or temporary foreign workers; the Albertans will pay income tax in Alberta and foreign workers will send the bulk of their earnings home rather than spending it in BC. The rapid and massive exploitation of BC’s natural resources proposed by both the BC Liberals and the BC NDP will mean significantly less return to the BC government than if we developed our resources in a more measured way with BC workers. You’ll have to pay more for public services or get less from your government.
Third, you’ll have to help cover the costs of any catastrophic events that occur as a result of these environmentally risky ventures. Any cleanup costs associated with the inevitable environmental side effects of these projects will be borne not just by the companies responsible, but by government; that is, you and every other taxpayer.
Finally, if the companies racing to get oil and LNG to Asia actually get a higher “Asian premium” price, it just means you’ll pay more for your own resources here at home — that higher Asian market price will raise all fossil fuel consumer costs here, negatively impacting your pocketbook.
Instead of continuing to subsidize an unsustainable industry with taxpayer dollars, Canadian citizens need to demand that our federal and provincial governments develop energy self-sufficiency strategies and support the growth and development of renewable energy sources.