VICTORIA – Responding to a report finding the B.C. provincial government gave $663 million in subsidies to natural gas producers last year, Premier John Horgan is adamant that these subsidies were necessary to keep the industry from taking their production facilities and the natural gas deposits they rely upon elsewhere.
“The only way for B.C. to stay competitive in the natural gas game is to give these companies everything they ask for and more,” Premier Horgan said, defending the two thirds of a billion dollars given last year and the billions more in tax breaks and subsidies already promised to the industry in the future. “It’s not like we have anything the fossil fuel industry needs. They’re only going to stay here as long as we keep them deliriously happy.”
While some experts believe that the natural gas industry is in fact pinned down to certain locations because the deposits they exploit are not portable, both the current NDP government and the Liberals before them have been unwilling to test that theory by not giving the industry buckets of cash and special legal treatment to stay put.
“Hell, just last year LNG Canada threatened to pull up stakes and move its processing plant and seaside port to Saskatoon or Edmonton if we didn’t exempt them from carbon tax increases, so of course we had to give in,” Horgan said. “I know, it’s terrible, given that methane is a greenhouse gas and the fracking industry is a massive contributor to global warming, but what else could we possibly do? They hold all the cards.”
“Look,” Horgan continued, “I’d love to live in a world where, as premier, I could simply say to the natural gas industry, hey, we’re not going to keep giving you massive subsidies on top of the billions you make selling the publicly owned natural resource which you desperately need and we control. But that’s just not the world we live in.”
In related news, the B.C. government has announced it’s now official provincial policy to not force mine owners to pay for the cleanup of any environmental disasters they cause, because they probably feel quite bad about what they’ve done and that’s punishment enough.