The head of Germany’s government is doing a brief visit of central and eastern Canada right now and Skeena MLA Ellis Ross wants him to add Kitimat to his itinerary.
“I would like to invite the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and those accompanying him on his visit to Canada to join us in Kitimat to see the incredible positive impact that the LNG industry has had on the Haisla nation and our community as a whole,” Ross said in a recent press release.
Scholz, who arrived in Canada Sunday for a three-day visit to Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland, isn’t necessarily here for liquified natural gas. He told reporters that Germany wants to help Canada develop hydrogen capacity for future export to Germany.
Germany and Europe are having an energy crisis. The continent long relied on fuel from Russia, but the flow dwindled after Europe opposed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this spring.
Ross told the Terrace Standard he understands the hardships Germany might face this winter due to an energy shortage, “and we’d like to help I just want the world to know, especially Germany at this point in time, that B.C. is an answer to some of the energy needs of Europe.”
There is currently no LNG being produced yet in B.C. to help Germany this winter, because the $40 billion LNG Canada project is still under construction. The Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would supply LNG Canada, isn’t yet operational either, and its builder TC Energy recently reported that the pipeline’s cost will be $11.2 billion, 70 percent higher than previous estimates, according to the Financial Post.
The same week that Ross invited Germany’s chancellor to Kitimat, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returned to B.C. from a well-publicized tour of Canada to build support for their fight against B.C.’s LNG development plans.
“The hereditary chiefs say they have not given free, prior and informed consent for the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline to be built on their unceded territory,” the Canadian Press reports. “They have opposed the pipeline for years, while 20 elected First Nations band councils along the route have signed off on the project.”
Ross hasn’t shied away from the long-running battle with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs, or with environmentalists and climate scientists who oppose increasing production of fossil fuels, including B.C. natural gas, which is a potentially potent contributor to climate change.
So far Germany’s embassy in Ottawa has not changed the official schedule for the chancellor, who is accompanied by several top European business officials.