Judith Guichon, British Columbia's Lieutenant-Governor
VICTORIA - The BC Liberals have thrown its election fortunes into the hands of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.
In the speech from the throne read by Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon in the legislature Tuesday, the government promised the creation of the B.C. Prosperity Fund, a savings account that could be used to pay down the province's $56-billion debt or potentially eliminate the provincial sales tax.
The province projects LNG could produce between $130 billion and $260 billion over a 30-year period, estimated to start in 2017.
"This is when the decision will be made on whether we seize this incredible opportunity for this province or whether we turn away from it," said Premier Christy Clark.
"Our goal is to be the most competitive in the export of natural gas of anywhere in the world."
The BC Liberals claimed 39,000 jobs would be created annually during the nine-year construction period and 75,000 jobs once the plants are operational.
"Surely what we need now is a new government," NDP leader Adrian Dix said at a press conference. "What this shows is a government after 11 long years in government has very little to say to British Columbians. One has to take the government's estimates with a grain of salt. Of course natural gas will play an important role in the future of British Columbia."
The new fund is contingent on the building of at least five plants in the Kitimat-Prince Rupert area.
The government also announced plans to establish a seniors' advocate and create a school of traditional Chinese medicine.