Last night the five candidates in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola gathered at NVIT for an all-candidates debate.
While the two-hour session focused on a wide-ranging group of topics, it was a comment from Conservative Dan Albas regarding the pipeline that created the most buzz amongst the candidates.
While responding to a question regarding taxing old age security and CPP Albas brought up how the pipeline will add more tax dollars to the system.
“We’re going to spend $14 billion on a project that has no customers,” began Green Candidate Robert Mellalieu. "The total tax revenue from all oil and gas in Canada per year is about $14 billion. It’s going to take 14-years to pay for that pipeline. In 14-years everyone is going to say what is oil, I remember that. They’ll have to look it up in a history book. Why are we putting money into the equivalent of Blockbuster Video? This is ridiculous, this is not going to save your old-age pensioner. This is just a way to twist it and say if you don’t buy a pipeline, you’re all going to starve. I don’t like it, Dan, that wasn’t good.”
Albas, in turn, responded to Mellalieu.
“By getting to international markets we will get better prices, it’s a 20-30 per cent differential right now,” said Albas. “It’s important to our economy, it’s important to British Columbia’s energy security, and it also will help fund our tax system because seniors are the biggest transfer between people and provinces from the Federal Government. When I say that with all seriousness that one pipeline will not accomplish everything, but we do need to be able to do big projects and sell to the World and have their money come to Canada.”
The Green Party and the NDP have promised to scrap the Trans Mountain expansion project if they are elected to power. The other three main parties have spoken to their support for completing the project.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt