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Province gives back to gas producers
Editor: Re: Premier Christy Clark’s $100 billion throne speech promise.
It’s more smoke and mirrors. Past policy has seen the opposite. Our BC Liberals have refunded millions from existing low-level gas royalties through what they call the Royalty Credits Program.
It’s clear the premier’s new policy announcement takes with one hand and gives back with the other. Just days before the opening of this current session of the legislature, the gas industry asked for increased royalty tax breaks.
Last year, our BC Liberals returned $120 million in natural gas royalty revenues to the industry through the Royalty Credits Program. Since 2004 they’ve gifted back $600 million. Last Sept. 20 in Dawson Creek, Energy and Mines Minister rich Coleman announced the $120 million was the program’s 11th gift-back. This information went out in a government news release.
As a constituent, I wrote to ask Coleman: Why return royalty funds to an already active industry, when our provincial debt is mounting and tax revenues from other sources are in steep decline? How does forgiving gas royalty taxes to fund up to 50 per cent of approved projects help balance the budget and fill social needs, at a time when these royalty funds are most needed by government services? And are we not now supporting fracking with these Royalty Credit funds? I have yet to receive a response from Coleman.
Neither has Coleman replied to my earlier questions regarding government’s perceived need to import alien resource workers from outside our nation’s skilled workforce, while our youth unemployment rate is alarmingly high and continues to grow.