May 3, 2017

This issue arose suddenly, mid-election, in response to the US’s decision to slap a 24% tariff on Canadian softwood. Acting as Premier, Clark wrote Prime Minister Trudeau asking that the federal government ban the transshipment of all (not just US) coal through BC  for export to Asia; if not, BC would use whatever powers it has to ban or limit those exports (which is an OFC policy priority). Her position has been getting stronger since. Where the parties appear to be on the issue right now:

  • BC Liberals – calling for the feds to ban all thermal coal exports through BC; if that doesn’t happen, a commitment to levy a fee equivalent to BC’s carbon tax on the extraction, processing, transporting and burning of all thermal coal that passes through BC (see latest BC Liberal Party statement on their intentions).
  • BC Greens – have long called for a stop to the expansion of thermal coal exports, applaud Clark for doing so now but say it’s overdue. Weaver’s statement is here.
  • BC NDP – Horgan’s response to Clark’s call for a ban was kept in the context of the softwood lumber negotiations: “I will consider every tool at our disposal, including raw logs, energy and U.S. thermal coal in these negotiations,” he said.

Recent articles on the issue and the parties’ positions:

Vaughn Palmer: Christy Clark takes firm stand on U.S. thermal coal, Vancouver Sun, May 2nd

Christy Clark just changed the debate over coal and climate change, opinion piece by Kevin Washbrook, National Observer, April 28th