Debate during Question Period in the B.C. Legislature on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, between MLA Tracy Redies (BC Liberal) and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall.
T. Redies: Today, we are in the midst of the largest infrastructure project in our province’s history. The case for building Site C is very compelling: clean, affordable and reliable power that will enable sustainable development for generations to come. Cancelling Site C would mean the largest write-off in our province’s history, higher electricity bills and lower economic growth.
So, my question: Other than partisan malice and a desire to undo the legacy of a previous government, why on earth is the Minister of Energy still considering what would be a 10 percent increase to people’s hydro bills and writing off $4 billion?
Hon. M. Mungall: I’m sure the member would agree, as all members in this House would agree, that we need a B.C. Hydro that works for British Columbians, that develops clean power in an affordable way for British Columbians. Unfortunately, the B.C. Liberals chose to sidestep the right process for doing just that when they came to the decision-making process for Site C. Rather, they decided that somehow their decision-making was much better than being informed by the B.C. Utilities Commission.
That was the wrong decision. We are righting that decision. We are ensuring that British Columbians’ interests are first and foremost as we right that decision, and that’s how you build a better B.C.
Mr. Speaker: Member Surrey–White Rock on a supplemental.
T. Redies: Frankly, the minister hasn’t articulated a single reason to consider writing off $4 billion, but interestingly, her own deputy has, by painting a very grim picture of an NDP future in British Columbia.
In a letter addressed to the BCUC last week, he asked if the BCUC used the low energy forecast because they are expecting significantly lower economic growth and also the decline of the mining, forestry, commercial and, yes, even, technology sectors — presumably because of NDP economic policies.
Mr. Speaker: Members, if we may hear the question.
T. Redies: A simple question for the Minister of Energy. Can the minister confirm that the only reason to terminate Site C is if the BCUC’s dire economic forecast for our province is accurate?
Hon. M. Mungall: Well, I commend the member opposite for her stellar attempt at quite the spin job there. At the end of the day, if government has questions about the B.C. Utilities Commission report, it’s absolutely appropriate, it’s fair, to ask those questions. That’s our job.
This is a very complex issue. It’s an important decision. It’s a serious decision. It’s one that that government refused to make with information from the B.C. Utilities Commission. That was absolutely wrong.
British Columbians had questions. They deserved answers to those questions. And now they deserve a fair and informed decision. I know that that’s not the way the B.C. Liberals like to do things, but that’s how we’re going to do things on this side of the House. We’re working for British Columbians.
Mr. Speaker: Surrey–White Rock on a second supplemental.
T. Redies: Since I didn’t get an answer to the question, it would appear that the plan of the NDP is to make B.C. an unattractive place to invest and live in so they can terminate Site C.
The grim picture painted by her deputy and in the BCUC report goes on: “The NDP future under a low energy forecast and a termination of Site C means no climate action, no electrification of our economy or electric vehicles, no economic growth and no population increase.”
Again, to the minister. Is this the future she and her government want for B.C.? Yes or no.
Hon. M. Mungall: British Columbians want a B.C. Hydro that works for them. They want to see a B.C. Hydro that puts its projects through the appropriate process through the B.C. Utilities Commission.
The B.C. Liberals failed to do that. And now they’re mad about the report that came out. No surprise.
This side of the House is committed to working for British Columbians — to make sure that B.C. Hydro works for British Columbians, to make sure that rates are affordable for British Columbians. We’re doing the due diligence to make sure that that happens.
Source: BC Hansard (draft transcript)