Editorial: Rejected

The provincial government should not so easily dismiss the northwest benefits alliance

It’s no surprise the province has rejected a request by northwestern governments for $1.131 million to push for a share of regional resource taxation that would otherwise flow south.

After all, the request made through the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance, created last year by northwestern governments, would have the province finance a dedicated lobby whose sole purpose is to lighten the pockets of the province itself. And what government would willingly want that to happen?

The official rejection letter also contains cautionary statements tied specifically to the prospect of a liquefied natural gas industry, noting that final investment decisions have yet to be made.

It would be, the letter states, “premature for the province to consider entering into any agreements that would see those [taxation] revenues dedicated before they are realized.”

That’s a welcome assessment, particularly from a government which went into political hyperbolic overdrive in the first place over LNG.

But as Kitimat-Stikine regional district chair Stacey Tyers, who speaks for the alliance, points out, mining and forestry also make up the regional resource economy.

It means, she says, there’s more than enough reason to consider the merits of regional resource tax sharing. In this regard, the province should not so easily dismiss the benefits alliance.