At the end of August, former NDP environment minister and party president Moe Sihota said he wasn’t lobbying anyone for anybody.
In mid-October, that suddenly changed.
Reached by theBreaker on Aug. 29, Sihota insisted that Canadian Strategy Group was mistaken for keeping him on their website. He was done with his gig advising the company’s Alberta clients in the wake of Rachel Notley’s rise to power.
Sihota told theBreaker he was busy running his Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway hotel.
“If I am going to be lobbying, I’ll register,” Sihota said at the time. “You get all sorts of calls from all sorts of people, but I’m not doing any of that work at this point, so there is no need to register.”
theBreaker has discovered that Sihota got a call from Woodfibre LNG, and he is now registered.
Sihota began lobbying the NDP government Oct. 16 for the Singapore-owned company , which hopes to build an LNG plant near Squamish despite widespread opposition on both sides of Howe Sound.
The NDP MLA from 1986 to 2001 listed finance minister Carole James and energy minister Michelle Mungall as target contacts. He is registered through March 26, 2018.
His intent? “To seek clarity as to new policies, continuation of ex
isting policies, framework of energy pricing, taxation, First Nations consultations, local government issues designed to result in finalization of the company’s plans to construct and operate [an] LNG facility.
With much fanfare, the BC Liberal-approved Woodfibre LNG announced Nov. 4, 2016 that it was going ahead, because it got a subsidized rate from BC Hydro to power the planned $1.6 billion plant. That was the same day the party’s pre-election convention kicked-off. What a coinkydink!
With not so much fanfare, Woodfibre LNG revealed Oct. 24 that it was delaying the construction decision. Thanks to the global gas glut.
Construction was supposed to begin sometime in 2017, which is almost over. It may begin next year, which means it won’t be exporting natural gas through Howe Sound until 2021 at the earliest.
“We’re definitely moving forward, but the reality is that we still have some issues to resolve before we can say: ‘We’re in and this is actually happening on this timeline,’” spokeswoman Jennifer Siddon told Reuters.
In less than a year, Woodfibre LNG went from green light to amber. After Petronas and CNOOC cancelled their plants, the only hope to kick-start B.C.’s flatlining LNG export industry is in a holding pattern and its key for exacting more favours from Victoria appears to be on Sihota’s shoulders.