Energy Minister's Defection Leaves Tough Questions for Campbell
“Who is Pumping the Gas?” asks NDP’s Horgan
VICTORIA – Gordon Campbell has tough questions to answer as he scrambles to replace energy minister Richard Neufeld, who defected to take a senate seat with the federal Conservatives, New Democrat energy critic John Horgan said today.
“Gordon Campbell told British Columbians last June that this was the cabinet team he was taking into the election, but he’s already broken that commitment. Who is he going to get to fill the hole left on his front bench?” said Horgan, the MLA for Malahat – Juan de Fuca.
After pledging last spring to stay on, Neufeld changed his mind and started looking for another job last fall. Horgan noted that it could be a challenge to fill Neufeld’s shoes.
“While Richard Neufeld is packing his bags to take up his plum patronage job in Ottawa, Gordon Campbell is left to find someone willing to be the front person for a bunch of projects British Columbians just aren’t comfortable with,” said Horgan.
“Gordon Campbell likes to claim he’s green, but he’s pushing ahead with unwanted coalbed methane projects and is trying to open up our sensitive coasts to oil and gas development. It’s hypocrisy of the worst kind, and that’s a tough line for an energy minister to walk, given how out of touch it is with the priorities of British Columbians.”
Horgan said that British Columbians deserve to know whether the new minister is willing to stand up for the public interest, and so also put forward questions for the new minister to answer before taking up the reigns:
1. “Will the new minister stand up for local communities who want the moratorium on coastal drilling for offshore oil and gas kept in place, which Gordon Campbell has been pushing to remove?”
2. “Will the new minister put the concerns of families ahead of the B.C. Liberals’ big corporate backers and put a stop to controversial plans to drill for coalbed methane without community support?”
3. “Will the new minister agree to review the combined impacts of the hundreds of private power projects proposed for our rivers?”
4. “Will the new minister agree to come clean about how Gordon Campbell’s privatization agenda is driving up electricity costs for B.C. families?”
5. “Will the new minister provide details about his government’s plans for pipelines in the northeast, and open a dialogue with residents and First Nations about what those plans will mean for them?”
Campbell is expected to appoint a new minister this month, but no firm date has yet been announced. Neufeld has been the energy minister since 2001.