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Magazine alleges Libs fudged LNG figures

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

Liquefied Natural Gas refinery factory. (FOTOLIA)

Liquefied Natural Gas refinery factory. (FOTOLIA)

A Victoria-based magazine has alleged the BC Liberals used government resources before the last election to help fudge the number of jobs liquefied natural gas would create in the province.

Focus Online published a report citing documents it obtained through a freedom-of-information request suggesting “dubious” assumptions about job numbers were made by government staffers.

The numbers were used by the BC Liberals during the run-up to the 2013 election.

It also questions if the staffers were ultimately working on behalf of the government or the BC Liberals.

The documents detail communications between current assistant deputy minister of strategic initiatives Doug Foster and various members of a consulting group and B.C. government staff.

“It would be useful to express all jobs as full-time equivalents rather than full/part time,” said one email from Foster. “It would also be useful to calendar these over the forecast track year by year and then to accumulated the totals. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on whether this is possible.”

LNG has been the centerpiece of the Premier Christy Clark’s economic plan for the province and the government has assured the public it will bring up to one million jobs to B.C.

The Ministry of Natural Gas Development responded to the magazine’s allegations insisting the research efforts into the LNG jobs were comprehensive and accurate.

“In order to produce accurate estimates for the report, all parties involved worked together to vet the analysis done,” said the ministry in an email. “Direct employment details were estimated based on discussions between the province and LNG proponents.”

It also said the information was subject to non-disclosure agreements and indicated the FOI package used by the magazine only detailed one aspect of how research was done.  

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