Kelowna B.C. Conservative candidate gunning for environment minister

Kelowna-Lake Country B.C. Conservative candidate Graeme James says Terry Lake should resign over questions about Pacific Carbon Trust.

Kelowna-Lake Country B.C. Conservative candidate Graeme James.

Kelowna-Lake Country B.C. Conservative candidate Graeme James is calling for the resignation of Environment Minister Terry Lake over questions about Pacific Carbon Trust.

“(He) should do the honourable thing and quit,” said James on Thursday.

“With the ongoing debacle around Pacific Carbon Trust, it is clear Terry Lake must resign. What is not clear is if something more sinister is at play— and that needs to be investigated.”

Describing himself as “irate” about the situation, James called the trust “one of the biggest shell games ever perpetrated by a government in power.”

“It is shameful and time that this sort of misleading activity cease,” said James.

Questions have been raised about how much the Crown agency charges public sector entities for carbon offsets.

According to data from the agency, a number of private companies have been selling carbon credits to Pacific Carbon Trust for prices ranging from $9 to $19 a ton.

But public sector agencies, which buy offsets from the trust, have been paying $25 a ton.

The trust acts as a middleman buying the credits from companies that have undertaken projects that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and selling them to public agencies that are trying to become carbon neutral.

The aim of the program is to make B.C. a carbon neutral province through the use of credits and offsets.

James, a former Kelowna city councillor, said the current controversy involving the Pacific Carbon Trust has angered thousands of B.C. residents and created what he called “even more distrust of the provincial Liberal government.”

James claims Pacific Carbon Trust has redirected $50 million of public health care and education dollars—over $2.5 million out of the Okanagan region alone—to finance private industry, which, in turn, he said, funnels a portion of taxpayers’ money back to the Liberal Party as donations.

Recently, B.C.’s auditor general questioned the way the trust operates.

Lake has said the government is committed to carbon neutrality but is reviewing Pacific Carbon Trust.