Dividend

PREMIER Christy Clark’s promise made in Terrace of a rural dividend for local governments is the only one to surface so far

PREMIER Christy Clark’s promise made in Terrace during an early morning campaign stop April 19 of a rural dividend for local governments  to cushion the impact of large-scale industrial development is the only one to surface so far in this provincial election that has anything to do with the northwest.

Details were a bit hazy. Perhaps $25 million a year beginning several years from now. And to be taken from the BC Liberal Prosperity Fund to be chiefly financed by revenues from an LNG industry that remains some distance down the road.

The concept isn’t new. Northeastern local governments for years now have been getting annual payments derived from oil and gas revenues there – $32.2 million in 2011 and $35.3 million in 2012.

There was no way Ms. Clark could not promise an equivalent while here in Terrace. It would have been bad politics as well as bad public policy.

No doubt the NDP will have something similar in mind. How can it not?

Even if LNG is not the timely saviour it is made out to be, there are other developments that could fit the model as outlined by Clark.

The tricky part for the northwest, regardless of which party forms the government, will be putting substance to the idea.

And that needs to start by putting forth a unified northwest position involving all forms of local governments, including First Nations.