British Columbia

B.C. environment minister not worried by Weaver's threat to bring down government over LNG

Environment Minister George Heyman says collaboration is key for B.C.'s minority government after a slew of tweets from Green Leader Andrew Weaver expressed his displeasure over the NDP's pursuit of LNG.

George Heyman says both NDP and Green Party are committed to limiting greenhouse-gas emissions

NDP MLA George Heyman is the current minister of environment and climate change strategy in B.C. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

As Premier John Horgan continues his trade mission to Asia connecting with potential investors in B.C.'s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver isn't pulling punches when it comes to expressing his displeasure.

"If the throne speech talks about how the strategy of this government is to bring X number of LNGs to B.C., that will be voted down in non-confidence," said Weaver during CBC's The Early Edition.

Weaver said the confidence and supply agreement signed by the Greens and NDP — the agreement that allowed Horgan to form government — outlines a commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Weaver has argued that any pursuit of LNG by the NDP is just the opposite, making his stance clear on Twitter numerous times.

The Green leader has also criticized the government for not having a concrete plan to meet emission targets.

"The reality is, you can say you're going to meet a target, but, unless you have a plan to get there, it's meaningless."

B.C.'s minister of environment and climate change strategy, George Heyman, said he's not worried by Weaver's threat.

Instead, Heyman said his concern is finding a way to make the province's minority government work in the long term, through a continued relationship with the Greens.

Heyman said he spoke with Weaver on Wednesday to hear his concerns and will be continuing discussions with the Green Party as to the future of LNG.

The environment ministry will also share with Weaver estimates on emissions produced by different sizes of LNG plants, according to Heyman.

"Our relationship has been founded on consultation, a lot of good dialogue," he said.

"It doesn't mean we don't disagree, but it means we focus on working together to make lives better for British Columbians." 

'Dr. Weaver is right'

Heyman said the government is staying true to its goal of a 40 per cent reduction of green house gases by 2030, and the NDP's stance on LNG hasn't changed in the last three years.

"One thing has always been clear in our position on LNG," he said. "One of the key conditions is that it has to meet our climate commitments. If it can't meet our climate commitments, that's a different question entirely."

Heyman acknowledged the province would still have emissions from removing fossil fuels from the ground. He said emissions from other B.C. industries — such as coal and oil — could be limited to make up the difference.

He added that when the two parties drafted the confidence and supply agreement, it was clear everyone involved wanted a plan to address climate change.

"Dr. Weaver is right," said Heyman. "We need a clear climate action plan that shows how we're going to meet our benchmarks."

"We're going to work on that in consultation with him and his colleagues."

With files from The Early Edition