On the eve of the re-opening of the legislature. Bloomberg Business is reporting that Shell, and its four partners are going ahead with a $40 billion liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C.

During the 2013 election, BC Liberal leader Christy Clark campaigned in Kitimat on the promise of three LNG facilities up and running by 2020.  “Let’s make sure that British Columbia and our LNG industry stays strong,” Clark told a group of supporters while campaigning in the norther B.C. town.

As recently as 2016, John Horgan said he was not a fan of LNG. “I would stop spending all my time talking about a industry that’s going nowhere, and it instead look at those areas of the B.C. economy that are really thriving,” Horgan said.

Fast-forward to 2018, and the province is looking billions in revenue from the LNG industry over four years. This announcement, though, is going to be a difficult sell for the Green Party Leader, according to UVic Political Scientist Michael Prince.

“This is another one of those moments of truth for Andrew Weaver and the Green Party,” Prince said.

In the 16 months since the NDP and the Green Party signed an agreement to work together, they’ve faced a number of tests, but this may be the most significant one yet.

“It’ll be very interesting to see how Mr. Weaver and his caucus members respond to this. How they explain it? It seems to go directly against his central belief as the leader of the Green Party,” Prince said.

For the Liberals who campaigned, and lobbied, for an LNG industry, this may only be a step towards a final investment decision.  Liberal MLA Ellis Ross said it’s too early to celebrate.

“There will still some obstacles to go that will challenge the actual construction of LNG in Kitimat,” Ross said from his home in Kitimat.

With the legislature getting back to work Monday with LNG likely a major topic, the Greens may have to compromise their way through, according to Royal Roads University’s David Black.

“The Greens here, realize that there are worse options than supporting the NDP Government. and that is letting a government fall. losing their supply,and confidence agreement with the sitting NDP Government. And living with a resurgent Liberal government.”

With a referendum set to begin on on proposed changes to the province’s voting system on October 22nd, MLA’s on all sides of the house will be busy during this fall session.

Mary Griffin