Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, the opposition BC Liberal critic for energy and LNG, is calling for B.C. Indigenous business to be included in a strengthened partnership between Canadian and German business groups on energy and minerals.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Montréal, Que., Toronto, Ont. and Stephenville, NL, from Aug. 21-23 to discuss energy co-operation and the situation in Ukraine.
Ross told Black Press Media he is inviting Scholz to visit Kitimat and tour the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities there, adding there is a window of opportunity now to introduce Germany to B.C. LNG, while the chancellor is in Canada.
“We are home of the largest private investment if its kind in Canadian history. LNG Canada is a $40-billion investment. And if Germany wants to talk about energy, they should consider Kitimat and more potential projects here in B.C.,” Ross said.
“I just want the world to know, especially Germany at this point in time, that B.C. is an answer to some of the energy needs of Europe.”
Ross, who is a former Haisla chief councillor, said he’s encouraged by calls from both sides of the Atlantic for a stronger partnership between Canada and Germany on energy exports and B.C. First Nations would like to be a part of that.
He said LNG is a critical transition fuel that European states will have to rely on as they move toward a carbon-neutral future and, critically, energy independence from Russian oil amid President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
If Scholz can’t make it to Kitimat, Ross said he would be willing to go meet the chancellor in Vancouver along with First Nations leaders who he said would jump at the opportunity to “meet halfway” and discuss mutual business interests.
“We here in B.C., especially the First Nations, understand the crisis that they’re undergoing in Germany,” Ross said.
“We understand the hardships in terms of paying some of the highest energy costs in Europe, as well as being worried about whether or not they’ll be able to heat their homes during this winter. We understand all that and we’d like to help.”
Ross accused the current NDP government of not doing enough to promote the LNG industry, which benefits northerners and First Nations, adding that NDP MLAs have spoken out against LNG expansion in B.C.
He accused the current government of showing a “complete lack of understanding” or support for resource-dependent communities and a lack of consideration for the future needs of B.C. and Europe.
“Our B.C. government is not keen on helping but those First Nations leaders in particular in B.C. who support LNG, and the oil pipeline that’s passing through Vancouver right now, do support energy across the board.”
Ross said LNG has potential beyond Asian markets, that are geographically closer to the West Coast, and “where there’s a will, there’s a way” when it comes to supplying B.C. energy to Europe.
“With energy being in the state that it’s in right now countries around the world are desperate for energy and B.C. can be part of that answer in terms of supplying clean B.C. LNG.”
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