Op-Ed – Does Nathan Cullen REALLY Support Economic Growth in Northwestern BC?

B.C. LNG has the massive potential to provide a positive impact on global air pollution. Electricity generated by natural gas has 50 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than coal-generated electricity, making it the cleaner option. This means that countries like China, India and others that move towards using natural gas in place of highly polluting forms of energy would be able to breathe cleaner air as a result.

We in British Columbia can be a part of that positive change if, and only if, natural gas is permitted to be shipped from our shores. Even the most concerned about our environment has to admit that LNG would help to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Pacific NorthWest LNG project has gone through – and passed – a highly rigorous environmental-review process and is now in the final stages of approval. In fact, the project recently wrapped up a 30-day public comment period in which tens of thousands of Canadians took part. One name, however, that was apparently absent in offering his support for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project was Nathan Cullen, Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

While he claims to be supportive of LNG projects, Mr. Cullen’s actions don’t seem to make that the case. Recently he suggested the Pacific NorthWest LNG project move its proposed location from Lelu Island to Ridley Island – a move that would require a complete environmental review, delaying the project even further and put thousands of jobs in his riding at risk. This has left many local residents wondering if Mr. Cullen is truly supportive of LNG or if it is just lip service.

Just last week Terrace was one of three Northern BC communities to hold a rally in support of LNG. This could have been an opportunity for Mr. Cullen to come forward and truly show his support for the industry and the thousands of jobs it would create. Instead, 24 hours before the event he was on Facebook sharing a photo of an anti-LNG sign in Ottawa saying that it was, “a message from the people of northwestern BC”. The over 100 residents that took part in the rally in Terrace would beg to differ.

At a time when growth in our economy is desperately needed, there is no question that Northern BC will benefit greatly from the approval of LNG projects. The Pacific NorthWest LNG project alone will create thousands of high paying jobs, as well as billions of dollars in tax revenue. If LNG projects in British Columbia are completed, Asia would see a massive reduction of emissions and be a positive for our global environment.

And yet, the only thing Mr. Cullen has done for LNG is continue to suggest unnecessary road blocks and proudly support anti-LNG messages. As the Northern View said in a recent editorial: “When will Nathan Cullen actually champion a project that will create the economic benefits this area so badly needs?”

Bob Zimmer
Member of Parliament
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies