NORTH COAST - BC Election Candidate Survey

We polled the 3 BC election candidates in the North Coast riding and asked them 7 questions about salmon, economic development and LNG. Here are their responses.

Q1: What is your position on the development of an LNG facility on Lelu Island and how will you advocate for it if elected?

HERB POND - BC Liberals: I believe strongly in partnership with local First Nations, so I was pleased to see the federal government include Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla into the environmental monitoring of the project. This is a first across Canada and is a model for future economic development. In addition, I applaud the elected leaders of Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla for negotiating historic benefits agreements for their people. My approach as MLA would be to partner with local elected leaders and community groups to hear their priorities and concerns, and then advocate for them in Victoria.

JENNIFER RICE - NDP: For any LNG facility the BC NDP thinks it is important to guarantee 4 points: 1. A fair share of the financial benefits must remain in the region. 2. There must be a guarantee of local jobs and apprenticeships. 3. First Nations must be true partners in any project. 4. Requiring projects to respect all current and future environmental protections. Christy Clark and the BC Liberals refused to support these measures that would benefit the local region. At this time the Lelu Island project does not meet these requirements.


Q2: What is your position on local and regional governments deriving direct resources from development projects to help support community costs, such as the NW BC Resource Benefits Alliance is asking?

HERB POND - BC Liberals: I strongly support the objective of the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance. As a former mayor, I understand the financial challenges being experienced by local municipalities, and I recognize that communities need to find new sources of revenue. I would start first by actually meeting with locally elected leaders, getting everyone around the table to try to find a solution that works for everyone.

JENNIFER RICE - NDP: We have always been clear in our support of the North West BC Resource Benefits Alliance. I believe the local region needs to see the financial benefit of the natural resources being extracted and transported through our communities. Christy Clark and the BC Liberals have not acted on this and it has cost our region as we struggle to pay for the infrastructure needs of the community.


Q3: How do you see social policy, environmental policy and economic policy interacting in the northwest?

HERB POND - BC Liberals: It's obvious to me that people on the North Coast want new jobs, and they want to experience growth, but not at all costs. I've heard time and time again that for us to welcome any development on the North Coast, we need to ensure that it protects our air, land, and water, and all who share it. That's why I support responsible development associated with high paying industrial jobs.

JENNIFER RICE - NDP: I feel like we cannot look at social, environmental and economic policy in isolation. This is why the BC NDP has clearly laid out our requirements for industrial development and made it clear that these are all connected. We are a region that relies on natural resources like the fisheries every day. For the fisheries to do well, we need strong environmental policies which will provide economic and social benefits. Christy Clark and the BC Liberals have ignored this relationship for too long but a BC NDP government will recognize that in the North Coast a clean environment, means a strong economy and social benefits for the region.


Q4: In you view, what policies and incentives would you (or your party) put in place to avoid boom/bust cycles, and how will you support the development of local, sustainable jobs?

HERB POND - BC Liberals: We have a tremendous opportunity to add value to our resources here at home with the continued growth and success of the Fairview Container Terminal. Whether that's logistics, warehousing, or manufacturing, there are a number of economic opportunities in front of us that we can take advantage of to reduce our reliance on traditional boom / bust commodities.

JENNIFER RICE - NDP: Christy Clark and the BC Liberals managed our economy just like Stephen Harper did. They put all our eggs in one basket and when the global market for oil and gas declined we saw a lot of potential economic development leave the region. The best way to avoid the boom/bust cycle is to diversify our economy and make it more resilient. The BC NDP has a plan that will protect fisheries, that will support forestry and move us away from an economy that is too heavily vested in one sector.


Q5: Please share your opinion on how the current Government has handled negotiations, engagement and consultation with First Nations within the Skeena Watershed in regards to LNG and associated infrastructure (including pipelines). How would you do things differently?

HERB POND - BC Liberals: Again, I applaud the local elected First Nations leaders who have negotiated significant benefits agreements for their people. Hundreds of people have been trained for employment, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in everything from trails to training, and First Nations have now actually been included in legislated environmental monitoring. What I would do differently is to actually sit down to meet with locally elected leadership to hear their concerns and priorities and advocate for them in Victoria.

JENNIFER RICE - NDP: The current government has handled negotiations poorly because they are performing them with one goal in mind and that is to meet their political timelines. I think we should be acting in the best interests of the people of British Columbia, and specifically the people who live on the north coast. The BC NDP tried to ensure project development agreements were going to be focused on maximizing the local benefit for the region but the BC Liberals were more interested in their political timelines, even if that meant no local employment, no local financial benefit, and no protection for our vital pristine wilderness.


Q6: What will you do help ensure the protection of water quality and fish habitat in the northwest region?

HERB POND - BC Liberals: I've raised four kids here, and I intend to retire and grow old here, so protecting our water quality and fish habitat is hugely important to me on a personal level. When I was first approached to work for an LNG project, I didn't say yes right away. I did my research and asked the tough questions. Not until I was convinced that a project could enhance our community did I sign on. With strong environmental monitoring legislation, with First Nations included, as well as appropriate safeguards and conditions in the environmental assessment process, I believe we can protect our air, land, and water and all who share it.

JENNIFER RICE - NDP: Fish and clean water are very important to the region. I think it is important to understand that we will not bring in one industry at the expense of another. We need to be focused on protecting the fish and the water that many people make their livelihoods from them. I will not trade the health of our salmon that have been fished for thousands of years for another industrial development which is why it is so important that these considerations are involved in all decisions surrounding LNG facilities in the North Coast.


Q7: Do you support renewable energy development in the region and how will you and your party ensure the industry is successful in NW BC?

HERB POND - BC Liberals: Wind and tidal power are two emerging industries that the North Coast can take full advantage of. I would strongly support and advocate for projects that partner with local communities and First Nations to ensure site location is appropriate and ensures fair benefits and jobs are created. 

JENNIFER RICE - NDP: The BC NDP’s Power BC plan would bring much needed investment into the region with solar and wind production, while putting an emphasis on conservation. This is very important for communities in Haida Gwaii and on the central coast where many rely on diesel generators for electricity. We have many willing First Nations communities who have just needed a partner at the provincial level who will make these investments. The BC NDP will invest in these areas and move toward cleaner energy production.