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Deputy minister Dave Nikolejsin resigns

Senior bureaucrat hints NDP government policies discourage natural resource development
Deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources has resigned

Dave Nikolejsin, B.C.’s deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, has quit, and in a letter sent to friends and colleagues has taken parting shots at the NDP government for the way it handles natural resources.

Business in Vancouver has learned that Nikolejsin, a long-time senior bureaucrat under both the Liberal and NDP government, resigned on Friday.

His resignation comes on the heels of the dismissal in May of another senior bureaucrat – Mark Zahcarias -- as former deputy minister of Environment and Climate Change, as reported by the Tyee.

Nikolejsin has not yet responded to an interview request.

In a letter obtained by Business in Vancouver, Nikolejsin hints at his dissatisfaction with NDP government policies and attitudes towards B.C.'s natural resource industries.

“BC is well endowed with natural resources that the world needs,” he writes in a letter to friends and colleagues.

“If those resources don’t come from a place like BC that has extremely strong environmental standards, they will come from somewhere else.”

He goes onto praise the NDP government’s CleanBC plan, but suggests the NDP government has moved too fast with too many restrictions on natural resource development.

“As the world becomes increasingly aware of climate change and consumers care about the raw materials that go into their devices, the bona fides that companies get from operating in BC will pay off.

“I firmly believe that companies’ ability to raise capital to build projects, and their ability to sell their commodities will increasingly be linked to their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials.

“The trick to all of the above is that we know the system is not infinitely elastic. The difficult job for all of you at EMPR is to pace these impacts, so government achieves its environmental objectives, companies recognize investments in BC as being worth the costs of entry, and people continue to benefit from good jobs and government revenues.”

Nikolejsin has been with the B.C. government since 1998, and served as the head of the BC Environmental Assessment Office under the Liberal government.

In his parting letter, Nikolejsin cites the $40 billion LNG Canada project as one of the government's crowning achievements.

"That project embodies the triple word score of being net good for the environment, good for the economy, and embraced (largely) by First Nations," he writes.

Business in Vancouver