John Horgan

John Horgan

Horgan on trade, carbon tax, LNG

NDP leader John Horgan sat down with Tom Fletcher for a year-end interview in his Victoria office Dec. 10. Here are excerpts.

NDP leader John Horgan sat down with Tom Fletcher for a year-end interview in his Victoria office Dec. 10. Here are excerpts.

TF: In the recent federal election, national NDP leader Thomas Mulcair rejected the Trans Pacific Partnership sight unseen, endorsing letters from Unifor and CUPE saying this is a bad deal. Is your party seen as against Pacific Rim trade?

JH: No, I don’t think so, and what I said at the time was that I support trade. We’re a trade-centered province. We’re looking across the ocean at the largest market the world has known, and I support getting our products to higher-priced markets.

But having said that, the B.C. Liberals embraced TPP without even having seen it.

TF: Your party supports the carbon tax now, but not the revenue neutral approach. Do you support increasing the rate?

JH: …what I’m comfortable with is that the date that they’ve selected for a ramping up of the carbon tax is 2018, which will be a year after the next provincial election. So if I’m successful and form a government, I’ll have time to look at tax policy broadly to see if we can make improvements in the carbon tax.

For me, and I think for most British Columbians, the model that Alberta has adopted of taking revenues and driving them into industries, or activities like transit, that will reduce emissions over time.

TF: Natural gas price and volume continue to go down, along with commodities generally, and supply of oil and gas keeps going up. What’s your take on the prospects for LNG after the year we’ve had?

JH: Not good. I’ve always said price will determine whether investors drop down multi-billions of dollars in a far-away place to provide a product that is not developed here. Brownfield opportunities have moved very quickly in the U.S. Changing LNG import facilities to export facilities is a whole lot easier and cheaper than starting from scratch.

Getting to the coast is a challenge for fossil fuels, and the last LNG price point I saw delivered in Asia was $5.70 a unit. You’re not going to make money at that price, even with rock-bottom prices here in B.C.