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Statement from BCBC on Increasing Risks to BC's Investment Climate

In response to the Provincial Government’s announcement that it intends to restrict the movement of diluted bitumen through the province, Greg D’Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British Columbia, has released the following statement:

“Today, the B.C. Government is raising the question of whether British Columbia is open to investment.  The government’s decision to move the regulatory finish line on an already approved project, and impose barriers that would undercut its potential, threatens the credibility of our country’s regulatory and project approvals systems. This announcement will have a detrimental effect on B.C.’s reputation as a place to deploy capital and create private sector jobs.

“This decision will directly impact British Columbian families whose livelihoods depend upon well-paying jobs in the construction and energy sectors, and put at risk First Nations’ abilities to more fully participate in the economy. 

“By blocking access to Canada’s coastline for regulated products shipped through a federally approved project, the provincial government unnecessarily risks harming the Canadian economy and casting doubt on existing regulatory structures that have contributed to the responsible and sustainable development of our nation’s natural resources. 

"To be clear: no one wants to see any form of spill that impacts British Columbia's environment.  The multiple reviews and analysis of this project focused on spill response and prevention, resulting in the project's approval subject to 194 conditions and leading to the federal government's Oceans Protection Plan.

“Further, this announcement runs counter to the “open for business” message that the B.C. government just delivered in Asia, where they talked about the benefits of investing in British Columbia.  As the trip ended, the government is sending the signal that B.C. may choose to adjust the rules around project development at any time – even after permits for the project have been issued.  The uncertainty and added complexity created by this decision will damage British Columbia’s reputation as a place to do business.

“Finally, the Business Council questions whether the province actually has the legal authority to limit the movement of a federally regulated product through a federally approved piece of infrastructure.  This confusion of jurisdiction and responsibility within the federation can only further exacerbate the uncertainty and lack of clarity for investors. 

“We will continue to express our concerns to the provincial government and hope we can work together to strengthen environmental standards while creating a climate that welcomes sustainable investment and industrial development in support of people, communities and the economy. This is essential if Canada’s natural resource products – produced and transported using the highest global standards – are to reach global markets for the benefit of all Canadians.”

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Contact:

Cheryl Maitland Muir
cheryl.muir at BCBC.com