The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada. This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.
|BC Chamber welcomes Joint Review Panel approval of Northern Gateway
The BC Chamber of Commerce has welcomed
the federal Joint Review Panel’s recommendation of the Northern Gateway pipeline project.
On December 19, the Joint Review Panel recommended that the federal government approve Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project, concluding that the pipeline is in the Canadian public’s best interest.
The recommendation is contingent upon 209 required conditions. Among others, some key conditions include that Enbridge:
- carry liability coverage of $950-million;
- create an emergency response plan and lead research on how to deal with heavy oil spills;
- conduct emergency response exercises;
- prepare a caribou habitat restoration plan;
- develop a marine mammal protection plan; and
- develop a training and education monitoring plan.
At this point, the federal government has 180 days to either approve or deny the application. It does not hold the capacity to change the conditions put forward by the panel, however, it can ask the National Energy Board to change the conditions.
Several First Nations groups in BC have indicated that they may pursue legal action against the project. In addition, the B.C. government’s five conditions for heavy oil pipelines will need to be met in the next 180 days.
|British Columbians rank government well for economic expansion
A December survey by Insights West and Business in Vancouver – the BC Government Report Card – indicated that British Columbians are most satisfied with the way the B.C. government has handled crime and public safety; the economy and jobs; energy, pipelines and LNG; the environment and education.
B.C. citizens do not appear as satisfied with the government’s actions in regard to health care, business taxes, skilled workers, accountability and housing poverty and homelessness. In particular, British Columbians are most dissatisfied with the government’s handling of BC Hydro, BC Ferries and the canceling of the fall Legislative sitting.
|Province announces further liquor recommendations
|In late December, Premier Christy Clark announced another set of liquor recommendations based on the Liquor Policy Review.
In the recommendations, the government is supporting changes for happy hours, food-primary licences and the province’s Serving It Right certification program.
It is anticipated that the full report on the review will be publicly released prior to Feb. 15.
|British Columbians asked for input in rural highway safety and speed review
|The Province is currently consulting throughout B.C. to seek input about safety and speed limits on B.C.’s rural highways as part of the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review until January January 24.
Public input, along with information gained through the technical review of provincial highways, will be used to identify and prioritize proposed highway and safety improvements.
The public can provide feedback by attending an open house or can provide input online here.
Up-coming open houses include:
- Prince George – January 7
- Dawson Creek – January 8
- Vancouver – January 9
- Cranbrook – January 14
- Nanaimo – January 15
- Chilliwack – January 16
Check here for open house times and locations.