Excerpt from Question Period in the B.C. Legislature today, May 29, 2018, with Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone, Premier John Horgan and Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo (Liberal):
T. Stone: This is beyond bungling on the government’s part. This is an absolute sheer dereliction of the responsibility of this government, which is now going to cost taxpayers billions of dollars. British Columbians deserve much better leadership than what we’ve seen from this NDP government, which continues to play politics with the futures of British Columbians, mostly to appease the junior coalition party down there, the Green Party.
Instead of working collaboratively with other provinces, instead of working collaboratively with the federal government, the Premier continues to put his own political future above that of B.C.’s relationship with the rest of Canada. The Premier knew all along that he couldn’t stop this project. So why does he continue with his politically motivated and reckless actions?
Hon. J. Horgan: I’ll just refer the member to a meeting last week in Yellowknife, where I sat down with Premiers from other jurisdictions. We got along very well. We talked about issues that were important to Canadians. With the exception of one member, the member from Alberta, everyone around the table — from Saskatchewan, from Manitoba, from Nunavut, from the Northwest Territories and from the Yukon — said: “We need to act together as a unified force in the west to protect the interests of all Canadians.” That is what cooperation and leadership look like.
Mr. Speaker: Kamloops–South Thompson on a supplemental.
T. Stone: Well, congratulations to the Premier. He has managed to take a fully funded, multi-billion-dollar private sector project and turn it into a taxpayer project. This Premier and this government have managed to drive the nationalization of a multi-billion-dollar private sector asset. Their actions continue to send chills through the international investment community.
Standing up for British Columbia should mean having a constructive relationship with the government of Canada and with other provinces. This Premier started a fight with Alberta, created a constitutional crisis, and now this British Columbia government is a national embarrassment.
The Premier has known, again, from day one that he could not stop this project. Why does he continue with his reckless actions, which will now cost British Columbia taxpayers and all taxpayers billions of dollars?
Hon. J. Horgan: I appreciate there’s not much going on, on the opposition benches. They’re trying to grab a tiger as it runs by, but surely, they understand…. Some of them were in cabinet, surprising as that may seem, and they would know that when the federal government makes a decision to expend money, it’s the responsibility of the federal government, not this parliament.
Mr. Speaker: Members. Members, when you’re ready, we will continue question period.
G. Kyllo: This Premier started an NDP trade war. He created a constitutional crisis and sent a chilling message to investors and has now cost British Columbians and all Canadians billions of dollars for a project the private sector was going to build. The Premier has known all along that he could not stop this project. Why did he continue his reckless actions?
Hon. J. Horgan: Again, the opposition is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, they say: “Surely, you knew you couldn’t stop it.” Then they’re saying: “Why are you trying to stop it?” First of all, they say: “It’s fully funded. It’s fully funded by the private sector.” Now it’s not — not by any decision of this parliament, not by any decision of this government. The federal government made the decision to take tax dollars and invest them in a private company. That’s their business. If you have a concern with that, again, I encourage members to resign their seats, run for parliament and take it up with Mr. Morneau.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Shuswap on a supplemental.
G. Kyllo: This is a self-serving government that acted blindly and recklessly. The Premier’s reckless behaviour and ill-conceived actions have received the rebuke of the federal government and will cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The Premier is squarely to blame. Why did he continue his reckless actions when he knew that he couldn’t stop the project?
Hon. J. Horgan: I’m appreciative of the member reading the same question over again to me so that I can give him a similar answer. That is: the federal government today made a decision to take tax money and invest it in a private company. That was not a decision made by us. It was not motivated by us. In fact, I counselled against it. I advised the Prime Minister weeks ago that it was the wrong course of action. They disregarded that advice and carried on. What I think we need to do….
Mr. Speaker: Members, we shall hear the response. Members.
Hon. J. Horgan: This from the man who drove ICBC off a cliff.
I appreciate that the well of questions is fairly empty. They’ve only got the one to read and pass from member to member to read over and over again. I am proud of the work we have done to defend the interests of British Columbia. I sleep very well at night knowing that I’m doing my level best to make sure the people of British Columbia have a government that cares for them, working every day to make life better for British Columbians, not the corporate backers that funded the other side.
Source: BC Hansard.