Premier Christy Clark talks to supporters after her speech on Monday to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting at the Delta Grand hotel
"We either give it everything we've got (when it comes to producing and exporting liquefied natural gas)," said B.C. Premier Christy Clark while in Kelowna Monday.
"Or we miss this incredible window of opportunity."
Clark was the guest speaker on the last day of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting being held at the Delta Grand hotel.
She found a receptive audience amongst the pro-business crowd for her go-for-it LNG speech with lots of pauses for applause and a standing ovation at the end.
The first round of clapping started when Clark played off her status as MLA for Westside Kelowna to tell the ballroom full of 700 delegates: "Welcome to my hometown of Kelowna."
Then it was into the hard sell of why B.C. needs to be the LNG business big time.
"We need to get our energy infrastructure up and running so we are ready to seize this opportunity," she said.
"LNG is a big part of the one million jobs that are coming up in our province."Clark said B.C. has as much liquefied natural gas as our neighbour Alberta has oilsands.
Getting the cleanest fossil fuel there is out of the ground in B.C. and beyond the traditional markets of Canada and the U.S. to booming countries in Asia will make the province a "big economy," according to Clark.
However, any energy company, pipeline builder or shipping interest that makes it happen will have to abide by B.C.'s tough, but fair, five conditions.
They are: everything has to pass stringent environmental review; a world-leading marine spill response must be in place; world-leading land spill response, too; B.C. has to benefit economically; and there has to be Aboriginal buy-in and involvement.
Going full-throttle into LNG also means B.C. will experience a skills shortage like never before.
As such, the province is re-engineering its high school, post-secondary institution, apprenticeship and trades programs to meet the hiring blitz LNG will create.
As well, there needs to be retraining, programs for preparing at risk and marginalized people for work and selective programs for hiring foreign workers.
"Government has a responsibility to train Canadians first," said Clark.
"We want our people to build our economy for our children."
In a question-and-answer period after Clark's speech, Canadian chamber CEO Perrin Beatty stressed the group is non-partisan.
But he praised Clark for her charisma, re-election, pro-business stance and vision.
Clark was also delayed in leaving the ballroom because so many people wanted to shake her hand, hug her, talk with her and get their photo taken with her.
Clark is now off to Toronto and Washington, D.C. In Toronto, she'll meet with international financial institutions about investing in B.C. and will co-chair a Labour Force Strategy Roundtable.
In the U.S. capital, Clark will meet with senior administrators and Congressional leaders about trans-border commerce, water, resource development, the environment and West Coast concerns.