IT’S AN inescapable fact of life in today’s British Columbia that everything the provincial government does is tied to the prospect of a liquefied natural gas industry.
Case in point is the Jan. 21 announcement from transportation minister Todd Stone that he’s boosting highways winter maintenance standards for Hwy16 from Prince Rupert to Tete Jaune Cache and on Hwy97 from Prince George north to Fort St. John.
Paragraph two of the press release makes it perfectly clear why: “These highways are critical corridors supporting liquefied natural gas development and other industrial growth in the North.”
Only when the press release works its way down to the helpful quotes written by the government’s communications people and attributed to politicians does the word “safer” appear. Here’s what’s attributed to Liberal MLA and cabinet minister John Rustad: “These changes will not only make travel safer and more efficient ….”
In the murky world of political machinations, there’s no way there could be a whiff of an admission that a government policy of having lower maintenance standards on northern highways could be somehow tagged as a reason for traffic fatalities.
But telling northwesterners now driving Hwy16 that standards are improving only because of the prospect of LNG development is a snow job of the highest order.