STIKINE - BC Election Candidate Survey

We polled the 3 BC election candidates in the Stikine 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?

DOUG DONALDSON - NDP: I share the belief of the majority of constituents I have spoken with in Stikine that Lelu Island is not an appropriate site for the proposed LNG facility due to the risk it poses to the eel grass beds that are crucial habitat for Skeena River wild salmon. It was a critical oversight that the independent, peer-reviewed science regarding the potential damage to these eel grass beds from such a development was not given due consideration in the environmental review. As an MLA I will work with concerned groups in Stikine who have launched judicial reviews on lack of consultation regarding the impacts to wild salmon, as one approach to ensure the proposed facility is not built on Lelu Island. I will continue to use my voice in the legislature to point out the pitfalls, especially the upstream impacts on returning wild salmon, of locating the proposed facility on Lelu Island. I will meet with the company to ensure they fully understand the concerns of Stikine constituents. And I will collaborate with Skeena MP Nathan Cullen on approaches to ensure the proposed LNG plant is not built on Lelu Island.

WANDA GOOD - BC Liberals: Did not respond

ROD TAYLOR - Christian Heritage Party: Did not respond

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?

DOUG DONALDSON - NDP: I am in full support of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance. Under 16 years of the BC Liberals we have been shortchanged in Stikine. The BC NDP has experience as a government implementing revenue sharing models, having initiated the Fair Share agreement in the Northeast and having negotiated the Columbia River Basin Trust in the Kootenays. Christy Clark expressed support in the 2013 election campaign for the NWBCRBA, then after the election cut off all discussions with the Alliance in 2015. The BC Liberals have not addressed the challenge facing northern, rural communities like those found in Stikine when it comes to infrastructure funding. The NWBCRBA is one tool to help address that. There is also the need to review the infrastructure funding formula in relation to rural communities with limited or no industrial or commercial property tax base. If re-elected as part of a BC NDP government, I would look forward to meeting with NWBCRBA representatives to discuss how the model can be implemented in our region.

WANDA GOOD - BC Liberals: Did not respond

ROD TAYLOR - Christian Heritage Party: Did not respond

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

DOUG DONALDSON - NDP: For too long under the BC Liberals and Christy Clark these three policy areas have been dealt with in silo’s without any understanding that all are interdependent. I believe we need an integrated model for people to thrive in Stikine. Environmental policy must reflect that we are part of the ecosystems in which we live, not apart from them. And social policies related to topics like health care and public education have a direct impact on economic development. For instance, in communities where it is impossible to find a GP or where schools are being closed, it becomes more difficult to retain residents let alone grow. Greg Halseth at UNBC uses the analogy of a bank account– if you focus only on the economic side and the province treats resource communities continually as a place to withdraw money from then eventually you’ll face bankruptcy. The province must reinvest on the social and environmental side – to put money back in the bank account - in order for communities in the northwest to flourish and thereby remain important contributors to the province.

WANDA GOOD - BC Liberals: Did not respond

ROD TAYLOR - Christian Heritage Party: Did not respond

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?

DOUG DONALDSON - NDP: Local, sustainable jobs in Stikine primarily depend on managing our natural resources sustainably. Under the BC Liberals, forestry management has led to the loss of 30,000 direct jobs, 100 mill closures and a 500% increase in raw log export. We will grow BC markets for innovative wood products as one method to avoid the boom/bust cycle and make fibre more available for small-scale value added operations. We will expand investments in reforestation in order to ensure a more sustainable future. In agriculture we will increase secure markets for local producers by ensuring BC food is used in public institutions like hospitals and care facilities. In mining we will make the permitting system more efficient so that we can be more nimble when facing market upswings while at the same time engaging in land use planning with First Nations to bring more certainty for future projects. There will also be a focus on community economic development where support for growing locally-owned, existing businesses will be given as much attention as the “attract and retain” approach that currently dominates.

WANDA GOOD - BC Liberals: Did not respond

ROD TAYLOR - Christian Heritage Party: Did not respond

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?

DOUG DONALDSON - NDP: The BC Liberal approach in the Skeena Watershed is a divide and conquer strategy within First Nations, and between First Nations, in order to achieve Christy Clark’s agenda and timeline on LNG. In some cases they have ignored rightful title holders, the hereditary chiefs. In other cases Christy Clark talks reconciliation then takes actions that inflame and insult. I revealed in the legislature the example of the BC Liberals using annual funding the provincial government supplies for child welfare to the Wet’suwet’en as a bargaining chip to attempt to get Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to agree to pipelines. Christy Clark called hereditary chiefs who disagreed with LNG development plans on Lelu Island “rag tags”. Her government triple deleted emails with information from community meetings on the Hwy of Tears to avoid a Freedom of Information request. Using vulnerable children as bargaining chips, name calling, hiding information is not respect. The BC NDP respects First Nations rights and title. We endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action. We will update the environmental assessment legislation and processes to ensure they respect the legal rights of First Nations.

WANDA GOOD - BC Liberals: Did not respond

ROD TAYLOR - Christian Heritage Party: Did not respond

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

DOUG DONALDSON - NDP: A BC NDP government will update environmental assessment legislation and processes to ensure they meet the public’s expectation of a strong, transparent process that results in the best outcomes as part of a made in BC assessment process. In partnership with First Nations and communities we will modernize land-use planning to effectively and sustainably manage BC’s ecosystems, rivers, lakes, watersheds, forests and old growth, while accounting for cumulative effects. We will take an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model. I will promote the Skeena Watershed Ecosystem Valuation Project as an approach to inform us on the importance of protecting water quality and fish habitat in the northwest region.

WANDA GOOD - BC Liberals: Did not respond

ROD TAYLOR - Christian Heritage Party: Did not respond

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?

DOUG DONALDSON - NDP: Yes I fully support renewable energy development in the northwest. The BC NDP commitment to renewables is part of our energy roadmap called PowerBC. The roadmap is designed to reduce electricity demand, generate new energy responsibly and sustainably, and create lasting good jobs in energy efficiency and generation. With PowerBC we will look to renewable modern energy sources for our future energy needs. We will bring investment in wind, solar and other clean energy projects back to BC, and ensure we are including communities in the benefits of these projects. 

WANDA GOOD - BC Liberals: Did not respond

ROD TAYLOR - Christian Heritage Party: Did not respond