Where They Stand

reponse from:

Eric Foster

Vernon-Monashee  |   BC Liberal Party   |  Apr 27, 2017
  1. What fiscal measures will you implement to ensure that mineral exploration and development remains globally competitive and able to attract investment?

Tens of thousands of British Columbians rely on jobs in the mining sector. These are good, family-supporting jobs that are critical to British Columbia’s success. That’s why Today’s BC Liberals are focused on keeping BC an attractive place to invest and a competitive place to do business.

Our government is taking a number of measures to assist the mining industry, including:

  • Protecting mining jobs in rural communities with a five-year electricity rate deferral program for mines during a period of low commodity prices;
  • Extending the New Mine Allowance Tax Credit to 2020;
  • Extending the B.C. mining flow-through share tax credit to Dec. 31, 2017; and
  • Adding community engagement as a deductible expense in B.C.’s mining exploration tax credit program.

We are also providing $10 million to Geoscience BC over the next two years to support its work in encouraging mineral, coal, and oil and gas exploration investment in the province. This is in addition to the more than $60 million that the BC Liberal government has provided to Geoscience BC since it was established in 2005.

As noted by Geoscience BC, the organization has leveraged this funding by attracting $22 million in private funding for applied earth science projects. To date, Geoscience BC’s geophysical survey work has covered more than 228,000 square kilometres. The organization has managed 103 minerals projects, 50 oil and gas projects, and eight geothermal projects. In the last decade, B.C.’s share of mineral exploration investment has increased 350 per cent from six per cent in 2005 to 21 per cent in 2015.

We’re seeing results.  There are five new mines and eight approved mine expansions today that didn’t exist in 2011, creating 2,000 more jobs. Since 2001, the number of British Columbians employed in mineral exploration, mining and related sectors has more than doubled from 14,700 to approximately 30,000.  

To keep this momentum building, Today’s BC Liberals will:

  • Phase out PST on electricity for mines;
  • Target eight new mines permitted, under construction, or in operation by 2022; and
  • Ensure nine upgrades and expansions to currently operating mines are permitted by 2020.

Mining begins with mineral exploration.  Today’s BC Liberals are committed to ensure it continues so that our province remains an attractive place to invest in mining.                                                                                                                                                                                            

  1. B.C. industries compete with many global jurisdictions that do not have a carbon tax. What measures will you take to ensure trade exposed industries like mining remain competitive while paying for carbon emissions?

Our government has frozen the current $30 per tonne carbon tax until 2021 in order to allow other jurisdictions to catch up to British Columbia. Today’s BC Liberals would only consider an increase in the carbon tax under a regime where emission-intensive, trade-exposed industries are fully protected from any carbon tax increase.  

  1. Do you believe revenue collected from carbon tax should be reinvested in new processes or technologies that further reduce greenhouse gas emissions at mining operations?

BC has proven that we can be both environmental leaders and support resource development in BC. Today’s BC Liberals believe that we need to maintain affordability for families and competitiveness for industry. The fundamental principle of our carbon tax is that it is revenue neutral, meaning every dollar raised will be returned to British Columbians in the form of tax relief.

Our commitment is to maintain the carbon tax freeze until 2021, while other Canadian provinces catch up to our leadership position.

  1. What will you do to promote infrastructure development in B.C. that supports mineral and coal exploration and mining (hydroelectric power generation, transmission lines, natural resource roads, railways, ports etc.)?

Today’s BC Liberals have prioritized infrastructure development that backs industry in our province, including mining.

We support clean hydroelectric power generation projects, like Site C, to ensure British Columbia has enough power to meet future demand so that industry can grow with access to clean, reasonably-priced power.   Our government has also undertaken large-scale electrical transmission projects, such as the Northwest Transmission Line that provides a reliable supply of clean power to potential industrial developments between Terrace and Bob Quinn Lake.

Likewise, our commitment to eliminate the PST on electricity for mines will support electrification, while at the same time improving competitiveness in mining. This measure is expected to save mining and other resource industries approximately $164 million by 2019/20.

A growing economy relies on a safe, reliable, and efficient transportation network that meets the unique needs of communities across B.C., and that supports the movement of goods in and out of Canada’s Pacific Gateway. We’ve invested almost $20 billion in critical transportation infrastructure across our province since 2001.  There is more work to do which is why Budget 2017 provides $3.2 billion in additional transportation infrastructure spending over the next three years.

And our approach is working, with total metallic mineral exports reaching $4.8 billion, a 92.8% increase over 2009.

  1. What will you do to ensure prospectors and mineral explorers have access to as much land as possible to conduct temporary and low impact mineral exploration for valuable, but hidden, deposits?

Our government’s Mineral Titles Online (MTO) stake-claiming system is the most progressive system in the world and it’s been very successful.  MTO is an Internet-based administration system that provides a powerful tool to the mineral exploration industry. It allows prospectors and explorers to spend more funds and energy for exploration rather than tenure acquisition.

MTO is designed to meet industry’s needs for secure tenure, and meet government’s need to provide an efficient but cost-effective means of allocating mineral rights.  New technology, such as e-commerce, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Geographic Information System (GIS), makes it easier for miners to find, acquire, explore, and develop properties.

We believe that implementing MTO has allowed us to enhance our investment climate for mineral exploration.

British Columbian’s mineral exploration has grown exponentially since our government was first elected, when spending was $29.1 million.  In 2016, it was $205 million.

  1. What will you do to resolve long-standing land claims? And what are the opportunities to enhance relationships between government, First Nations and industry?

Today’s BC Liberal government is focused on building positive working relationships with First Nations and the mining industry. We understand that all British Columbians benefit when there is economic certainty on our land base. 

We have developed a wide range of innovative tools to help improve economic certainty and create a more stable and predictable investment climate for mining companies, including launching the BC Mine Information website that provides greater openness and transparency around mining operations.  And we completed the health and safety portion of the Mining Code Review based on the unanimous recommendations from the Code Review Committee that had equal representation from First Nations, mine labour unions, and industry.

Our BC Liberal government has taken steps to strengthen First Nations involvement in British Columbia’s mining industry.  BC is the first province to share royalties payable by new mines and major mine expansions with First Nations, helping to enhance the governance, social, economic and cultural well-being of First Nation communities.  In the last four years, more than $26 million in direct mineral-tax revenues from new mines and major mine expansions has flowed to First Nations as a result of Economic Community Development Agreements.

We are proud of the relationships we have built with First Nations over the years, reaching close to 500 economic and reconciliation agreements – nearly 400 of those since 2013. 

If re-elected, Today’s BC Liberals will continue to work in partnership with the mining industry and First Nations.

  1. What will you do to encourage new skills development opportunities and support the attraction, recruitment and retention of highly qualified workers needed for B.C. mining projects both now and in the future?

Today’s BC Liberals are determined to ensure British Columbians are first in line for the jobs to come, with up to one million job openings expected by 2025. We are re-engineering the education system under our Skills for Jobs Blueprint to target education dollars towards in-demand jobs, including in trades.

Our BC Liberal government has taken meaningful steps to achieve this, including:

  • Realigning $130 million for education and training for in-demand jobs;
  • Committing $185 million in trades infrastructure and equipment for post-secondary institutions across BC;
  • Allocating $65 million a year from the federal government for skills training programs through the Canada-BC Job Fund; and
  • Adding nearly 3,000 trades seats to improve access to high-demand trades and support a strong, growing economy.

The success of our BC Jobs Plan is evident: B.C.’s economy is diverse, strong and growing. Our province’s employment, exports, and GDP have reached record highs since the Plan was launched. Statistics show the Plan is working to grow our economy and support long-term job creation.  This will ensure British Columbians have the tools needed to take full advantage of our growing economy and that industries like mining have access to a skilled workforce.

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