If someone planned to con a large fortune out of your bank account, would you forgive them if they also gave some pocket change to your favourite charity?
Why do I ask this?
In the comments of a Facebook ad pitching Woodfibre LNG’s “Community Sponsorship” program, someone asked why so many people have a problem with Woodfibre LNG, given that lots of companies give to their community.
Predictably, Woodfibre LNG didn’t want that question answered, so they deleted my response. But, I think a valid question deserves an answer.
Woodfibre LNG said it would make money selling B.C. gas to China, while throwing us a few jobs. This was when Asian LNG prices were at record highs and we were told demand would increase. Instead, prices fell dramatically and stayed low.
There’s not a lot of money in selling B.C. gas to China any more.
However, it seems that Woodfibre LNG has figured out how to take a lot of money from the pockets of B.C..taxpayers instead.
Woodfibre LNG convinced our last government to give it so many subsidies that at any realistic future gas price, Woodfibre LNG will probably be a net financial loss for B.C. Woodfibre LNG’s profits will come from public tax subsidies, not gas sales.
My “favourite” example is the eDrive subsidy of $43,500,000 to Woodfibre LNG every year. Over the 40-year lifetime of the project, that would work out to $1.74 billion of our money. Worse still, eDrive is only one of Woodfibre LNG’s other public subsidies.
How did Woodfibre LNG land such a sweet deal? In a province
internationally recognized for a lack of donation rules, Woodfibre LNG has been tied to an RCMP investigation into illegal political donations. Even after excluding apparently illegitimate donations, BC Elections still reports Woodfibre LNG spent well over 6 figures on the BC Liberals.
What if we insisted our government spend $1.74 billion on education, seismic upgrades for schools, day care, youth programs, or accessible health care instead of excessive Woodfibre LNG subsidies? With a fraction of that money, any other industry would create a lot more than 100 jobs, with plenty left over for community programs.
Woodfibre LNG is on track to walk away with a huge portion of our public bank account.
Will we notice we’re being swindled, or will we be distracted by comparatively small community “sponsorships” that return just a tiny portion of our own money back to us?