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Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin gets new critic portfolio

SKEENA NDP MLA Robin Austin has been named his party's critic for the provincial government's plan to create a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

He'll be shadowing Rich Coleman, the province's natural gas development minister, a new position created to reflect the importance Premier Christy Clark has placed on developing an industry she says will produce enough revenue to wipe out the provincial government's debt and keep its budgets balanced.

"I'm a big guy but I still think there's going to be room for me in his shadow," said Austin of the physical presence of not only himself but of Coleman.

Austin, who had been the NDP critic for elementary and secondary education before the May provincial election, said he wanted an economic portfolio when leader Adrian Dix reorganized his caucus.

"It does make total sense," said Austin in that the Skeena riding takes in Kitimat, the location for up to three LNG plants and adjoins the North Coast riding where two LNG plants are planned.

Austin said that while he and the NDP support the development of an LNG industry and of the economic benefits it could provide, any such plan needs to be realistic.

"So far there's been a lot of hyperbole about this," said Austin.

He said the province needs to quickly understand the huge amount of power LNG plants need to convert natural gas into a liquid for export overseas.

"Where is all this energy going to come from and how will that equate to the government's legislated goal, legislation brought in by Gordon Campbell, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020," Austin queried.

He said the province also needs to address the security of the province's water supply given the huge amounts needed in "fracking" to release natural gas from underground rock formations.

"People think that because it rains a lot here, we have a lot of water. But we don't," said Austin.

"We need to best understand how to to make the best use of this public resource."

Rookie North Coast NDP MLA Jennifer Rice is the critic for rural and northern health and Stikine NDP MLA Doug Donaldson is the critic for aboriginal affairs.

Below is the complete list of critiics released this morning.

 

Leader, Official Opposition........................................................................Adrian Dix (Vancouver-Kingsway)

Aboriginal Relations ……...............................................................................................Doug Donaldson (Stikine)

Advanced Education ……............................................................................... David Eby (Vancouver-Point Grey)

Agriculture…….......................................................................... Nicholas Simons (Powell River-Sunshine Coast)

Children and Family Development ……........................................................ Carole James (Victoria-Beacon Hill)

Core Review, Gaming, Liquor Modernization, BC Pavilion Corporation, Legislative Accountability………………. ……........................................................................................................... Shane Simpson (Vancouver-Hastings)

Democratic Reform, and Deputy Critic, Environment and Deputy Critic, B.C. Ferries ........................................... …………………………………………………………………………...Gary Holman (Saanich North and the Islands)

Education ……………………………………………………………………………Rob Fleming (Victoria-Swan Lake)

Energy, House Leader ……………………………………………………………………John Horgan (Juan de Fuca)

Environment ……………………………………………………….Spencer Chandra-Herbert (Vancouver-West End)

Finance ………………………………………………………………………………..Mike Farnworth (Port Coquitlam)

Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations………………...Norm Macdonald (Columbia River-Revelstoke)

Deputy Critic, Forestry …………..……………………………………………………..Bill Routley (Cowichan Valley)

Health ……………………………………………………………………...…………….Judy Darcy (New Westminster)

Housing and CLBC ………………….…………………………………….Jenny Kwan (Vancouver-Mount Pleasant)

ICBC, Deputy Critic Finance …..……….……………………………………Mable Elmore (Vancouver-Kensington)

International Trade, Asia Pacific Strategy, Multiculturalism, Immigration, Intergovernmental Relations ………...

…Chair, Public Accounts Committee …………………….………………………….Bruce Ralston (Surrey-Whalley)

Jobs, Employment, Labour and Worksafe BC ………………………………………...Harry Bains (Surrey-Newton)

Justice (Attorney General) …………………………………………………………………... Leonard Krog (Nanaimo)

Justice (Public Safety and Solicitor General) …………………………………Kathy Corrigan (Burnaby-Deer Lake)

Local Government and Sports ……………………………………………Selina Robinson (Coquitlam-Maillardville)

Mental Health and Addictions, Deputy House Leader ……………………..Sue Hammell (Surrey-Green Timbers)

Natural Gas Development ……………………………………………………………………….Robin Austin (Skeena)

Rural and Northern Health, Deputy Critic Children and Family Development ……….Jennifer Rice (North Coast)

Rural Economic Development, Mining and Fisheries …………………………...Scott Fraser (Alberni-Pacific Rim)

Seniors and Seniors Health, Columbia River Treaty, Columbia Power ………...Katrine Conroy (Kootenay West)

Skills Training ………………………………………………………………Doug Routley (Nanaimo-North Cowichan)

Small Business, Tourism, Arts and Culture ………………………………………….Lana Popham (Saanich South)

Deputy Critic, Small Business, Tourism, Arts and Culture ………………………...Jane Shin (Burnaby-Lougheed)

Social Development ………………………………………………………………..Michelle Mungall (Nelson-Creston)

Technology, Innovation, Citizens’ Services, responsible for Green Jobs, TransLink .....  George Heyman (Vancouver-Fairview)

Transportation, Highways and B.C. Ferries .…………………………………………..Claire Trevena (North Island)

Women’s Issues, Child Care and Early Learning, Shipbuilding ….Maurine Karagianis (Esquimalt-Royal Roads)

Assistant Deputy Speaker (Designate)………..………………………………… Raj Chouhan (Burnaby-Edmonds)

 

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