THE measure of importance Premier Christy Clark is placing on developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry is evident in the cabinet posts given to Prince George – Valemount MLA Shirley Bond and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.
Ms. Bond is in charge of skills training, a northern issue if there ever was one if northerners are ever to take advantage of the promised employment LNG will bring to both the northwest and to the northeast.
Mr. Rustad is aboriginal affairs minister, again a key part of any LNG plan given that numerous pipelines are to cross traditional aboriginal territory. He’s also the last Liberal MLA along Hwy 16 before bumping into the three northwestern ridings held by the NDP.
The most important job in Ms. Clark’s LNG plans goes to Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman with the new portfolio of natural gas development minister. Translation: bring home the bacon.
Because there are no Liberal MLAs in the northwest, there’s no place to plant the province’s LNG development flag in either the political or governmental sense.
At the moment, LNG information in the northwest is the preserve of the industry and of its critics.
Mr. Coleman must move to establish his own LNG beachhead if the public is to fully understand his plans. Terrace, between the planned LNG plants in Kitimat and Prince Rupert, is the logical place.