It looks like the B.C. Liberal government is getting set to hand the oil and gas sector a big win.
The Globe & Mail got its hands on Thursday on secret government documents that show how Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm is planning to ask cabinet to "effectively dismantle" the Agricultural Land Commission and hand over land use decisions to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission.
The agricultural body was created 40 years ago by Dave Barrett’s NDP government to protect dwindling farm land from developers.
Fast-forward to today, and here’s more proof of how Canadian conservatives are in thrall to Big Oil and Gas.
The Agricultural Land Reserve appears to be in the industry’s way, so why not transfer responsibilities for land use to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, where unfettered development without consideration for the environment or local communities will be an easier sell.
Pimm, who spent years working in the oil and gas industry before joining the cabinet table, is looking just like his allies in the federal Conservative government.
Instead of taking a measured approach to resource development, the Conservatives in Ottawa work in lock-step with the oil and gas industry – where it looks like the two work together behind the scenes to synch up messaging and co-write the government’s playbook.
This way of working doesn’t yield a balanced approach. Balance would require a plan to reduce climate pollution and a strong emissions monitoring system.
But the Harper government has no such plan. It has also dismantled emissions monitoring capacity. And we're still waiting for the government's twice promised emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector.
Even with regulations, Canada will fail to meet our modest target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020.
Gutting B.C.'s Agricultural Land Commission isn't balanced – and neither is the Harper government's approach.
Photo: bcgovphotos. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.