Renee Merrifield MLA Minute: Leaked memo shows true colours

Renee Merrifield - MLA Minute

Last week, there was a leaked memo from Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Josie Osborne. This memo not only revealed the Minister’s haphazard approach to governance but has also brought to light deeper concerns regarding the government’s CleanBC plan. 

This plan, meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been under significant scrutiny, particularly from Ken Peacock, chief economist of the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC), and analysts at BMO Capital Markets.

Peacock's discovery of economic modelling of the CleanBC suggests a grim outlook for B.C.'s economy, projecting it to be $28.1 billion smaller by 2030 due to CleanBC policies. This revelation, indicating substantial setbacks across various sectors, has raised alarms about the potential for over 200,000 job losses and economic contraction​​. 

Furthermore, BCBC’s analysis, echoing Peacock's concerns, predicts a dire slowdown in B.C.’s average annual economic growth rate to a mere 0.4 percent in the latter half of this decade. This slowdown, bordering on recession territory, would translate to a significant reduction in real per capita income for households across the province​​ – over $11,000 per family!

This will be the largest shrinking of the BC economy on record. 

Instead of addressing these economic warnings head-on, the government and the Minister appear to be in panic mode.

The Osborne memo referred to proposing  “big and shiny affordability measures”  to distract British Columbians from the underlying issues facing them due to government policy, like CleanBC.

Further, the Osborne memo outlines implications for private sector interactions are deeply concerning. 

The government’s intent to apply 'leverage' on companies, like green energy and metals company Fortescue Future Industries, to scale down their projects in BC — such as the establishment of a green hydrogen and ammonia plant in Prince George — is a direct attack on our economic stability. 

This attempt to strong-arm private businesses contradicts the government’s public endorsements of clean energy initiatives, like hydrogen fuel​​.

Our BC United opposition, led by experienced voices like Mike de Jong, has rightfully challenged the government's intimidation tactics towards investors. 

The Osborne memo also highlighted that the expectations of the CleanBC requirements are “uneconomical” and suggests a hasty and superficial approach to policy-making, focusing more on political gain than on the long-term economic and environmental well-being of British Columbians​​​​​​.

British Columbians expect a government that prioritizes sound economic policies, fosters a healthy investment climate, and engages in transparent and principled governance.

Previous government’s in BC have all done their level best to balance the protection of our environment with a healthy and vibrant economy.

As a representative of Kelowna Mission and a member of the BC United opposition, I believe these findings paint a troubling picture of the NDP government’s economic management. 

The combination of Osborne's memo and the economic implications of the CleanBC plan suggests a government grappling with policy consequences it did not fully anticipate. 

This raises serious questions for me about the government’s ability to navigate the complex balance between environmental sustainability and economic growth.

As your elected representative, I am committed to holding the government accountable and ensuring that policies are made in the best interest of our citizens and the economy. 

My question to you is this: Do you agree that the current CleanBC plan needs to be changed or even scrapped? Why or why not? 

I love hearing from you and read each email.  Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call the office at 250-712-3620.