January 26, 2004
Honourable Richard Neufeld
Minister of Energy and Mines
Since June 2001, our government has been working to implement our
New Era vision to revitalize the economy, restore sound fiscal
management, and put patients and students first.
Our New Era platform contained 201 specific commitments
that our government would undertake on behalf of British Columbians.
These included a commitment to "establish service plans that include
measurable performance standards and targets for all programs that
are annually audited and published, for all taxpayers to see."
On June 25, 2001, I sent you a letter of instruction setting out
the key priorities for your Ministry, including a list of the New
Era commitments assigned to your Ministry. These commitments
were also included in the Government Strategic Plan and Ministry
Service Plans that were tabled in the Legislature in February 2002,
covering fiscal years 2002/03 through 2004/05.
The Service Plan you are tabling today represents the final year
of the first three-year plans. And it shows that we have made significant
progress toward honouring our commitments. Specifically, of the
six New Era commitments that involved your Ministry, the
province has now completed or begun work on all of these. Accomplishments
in your Ministry over the past two-and-a-half years include:
- Introduced the province's new Energy Plan designed to increase
investment in the energy sector and maintain low-cost electricity
and public ownership of B.C. Hydro.
- Launched a new Oil and Gas Development Strategy to promote all-season
oil and gas activities, resulting in the largest-ever monthly
sale of petroleum and natural gas rights in September 2003.
- Achieved the largest purchase of clean energy in British Columbia's
history, providing up to $800 million in private sector investment
in 16 power projects to meet the energy needs of British Columbians.
In the coming year, the province will continue work on a number
of priorities to honour the commitments that we have made. These
are detailed in your Ministry Service Plan, and include:
- Significantly increase oil and gas production and increase total
industry investment by $12 billion over the next three years.
- Continue to implement the Energy Plan, including stimulating
investor interest in British Columbia's electricity, clean
and alternative energy and energy efficiency sectors.
- Increase mineral exploration and development activity.
It is important to note that all of the province's achievements
to date, and our priorities for the year ahead, will be accomplished
while balancing the budget in 2004/05, and having significantly
increased funding for health care and education.
Clearly, we will do more if we can, as new resources are available,
to build on the funding priorities detailed in this Service Plan
– in a way that is consistent with our balanced budget commitment.
As our measures to revitalize the economy continue to create new
jobs, growth and investment, this will allow us to continue strengthening
public services for the benefit of British Columbians. Opportunities
like the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will showcase
British Columbia to the world and generate economic benefits all
across our province. Future service plans will further demonstrate
I know that you will continue to build on the progress your Ministry
has made. Let me conclude by thanking you for your commitment
to serving the best interests of all British Columbians.
Honourable Gordon Campbell
of British Columbia
Office of the Premier
9041 Stn Prov Govt.