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22nd March 2016

That shale gas drilling company is owned by Petronas, which successfully lobbied the government to lower its LNG tax rates. Meanwhile, Progress Energy paid for the boosterish Conference Board report.

Petronas is also one of the backers of the controversial Pacific NorthWest LNG project off Lelu Island at the mouth of the Skeena River.

ATCO, the anointed builder of the Petronas transmission line, recently argued that no public review of the project was necessary and asked for an exemption under Section 22 of the Utilities Commission Act.

"The project is being developed on an aggressive schedule to meet with Progress [Energy] timelines. Failure to meet these timelines reduces the feasibility of electrification and poses a substantial threat to the project proceeding."

Energy Minister Bill Bennett supported the corporate request in a Business in Vancouver story: "My understanding right now is that if I do not direct the BCUC [British Columbia Utilities Commission] to allow these projects to go ahead, that we may lose some interest on the part of the gas companies.... They just don't feel that they can wait for a long BCUC process."

When politicians elect to bypass mandated legislated safeguards to protect the public purse by evaluating the need for projects (and that's what the BCUC does), then they are no longer working for taxpayers.

But the logic is clear, says Parfitt. "The more transmission lines erected to allegedly 'green up' the field operations of fossil fuel companies, the more fossil fuel industry activity. The more such activity, the more the government and BC Hydro can justify Site C."

It's all a self-serving story. The government produces wacky numbers and accounting figures to justify corporate LNG scheming that no longer make any economic sense.

Years ago Jacque Ellul, the French philosopher, noted that "propaganda is called upon to solve the problems created by technology, to play on maladjustments, and to integrate the individual into a technological world." It's how government and industry now work.

In B.C. the government uses propaganda not only to integrate its citizens into its wacky LNG fantasy, but to subsidize foreign companies and pay for unneeded dams and transmission lines at the same time.

It is designed to make taxpayers smile while they are being robbed. [Tyee]

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about the energy industry for two decades and is a contributing editor to The Tyee.