The federal government announced a tax break to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry on Feb. 19 to push the development of export terminals in B.C. As Brent Patterson reported for rabble.ca, Canada ranks third in the world for most subsidies to the gas industry, just behind the United States and Luxembourg.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated the tax cut to be about $50 million, reported Patterson. The tax cut is being used to persuade LNG project proposals to reach investment decisions.
Patterson’s article addressed what mainstream media has inadequately reported. “If just five of the 19 proposed LNG terminals were to be built they would release 28 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year,” wrote Patterson.
He sourced the Council of Canadians, who support a ban on the development of the petroleum industry. A ban would show “respect for Indigenous rights, limit greenhouse gas emissions, defend the province’s freshwater sources, protect wild salmon, and protect communities and the coastline,” writes Patterson.
The Globe and Mail reported (and Patterson wrote) both the B.C. government and the B.C. LNG Alliance saying “the manufacturing sector already enjoys favourable tax treatment.” However, mainstream media focused on political and bureaucratic voices while alternative media looked at the bigger impact this could have on the economy and environment.
Patterson showed that LNG corporations have a firm hand over the provincial government’s policy making decisions. “The provincial government had initially promised a higher tax rate, but after LNG corporations said those taxes were too high this corporate-friendly tax structure was announced,” said Patterson.
Alternative media picked up where corporate media lagged. Writers like Patterson bring a new angles to government policies that mainstream media often fails to report on.
Brent Patterson, “Harper announces major tax cut to spur LNG export terminals,” rabble.ca, Feb. 23, 2015, http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/brent-patterson/2015/02/harper-announces-major-tax-cut-to-spur-lng-export-terminals
Brent Jang and Ian Bailey, “Ottawa grants tax breaks for LNG sector in B.C.” The Globe and Mail, Feb. 19, 2015, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/harper-announces-tax-breaks-for-lng-industry-in-bc-to-spur-job-growth/article23106853/
Student researcher: Paige Kreutzweiser (University of Regina)
Faculty advisor: Patricia Elliott (University of Regina)