Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:38

B.C.’s grandstanding nothing more than an election ploy

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Christy Clark, you have the floor.

If anyone outside of B.C was unfamiliar with the west coast premier, that has changed the last few weeks as she has done her best to turn the taps off of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal until she gets what she wants.

The pipeline travels goes from a small community called Bruderhelm which is just north of Edmonton and then heads west to Morinville, Whitecourt, Fox Creek, across the Alta./B.C. border to Bear Lake, Burns Lake and finally to the coast to Kitimat which is geographically just south of Prince Rupert.
The reason why this is getting so much attention now, other than Clark’s national grandstanding, is that it is currently going through the public and government review process which is slated to last until 2013. According to Enbridge, once it has regulatory approval, the plan is to get construction underway in late 2014.
The public and government review process began in 2010. At that time, not much complaint was heard. Enbridge’s website boasts that within 30 years of operation, the $6-billion, 1,200-km venture will generate $2.6 billions in taxes including $36 million alone per year in the Kitimat-area.
As well, 1,150 long-term jobs will be created for oil which would be shipped off to generally Asian customers.
So, why now the posturing by Clark not to sign any national energy strategy deal such as the one suggested at the Council of the Federation meeting in Halifax about a week ago?
With an election needing to be called by May 2013, but one rumoured to be happening this fall instead, Clark needs something to give her Liberal party a shot in the arm.
In a May 2012 Angus Reid poll, Clark was at -33 per cent approval rating, meaning more than 33 per cent of British Columbians disapproved of her government than actually approved of Clark.
Clark needs something to boost her fortunes and getting more money while trying to express environmental concurs while holding up a national policy will generate a lot of attention.
These days “going green” is where it’s at, especially in an environmentally-conscious province such as  B.C.
There are Aboriginal groups which have major concerns over the pipeline and possible oil spills. Enbridge’s own facts state that “over the past 25 years, 1,500 tankers carrying petrochemicals safely entered Kitimat Harbour. And last year, the Port of Vancouver handled more than 180 tanker calls carrying oil, jet fuel and gasoline.” After all, there’s always a first time for an oil spill.
However, like the Keystone Pipeline, environmental concerns are just a politician’s playing chip to look environmentally-conscious.
Clark is playing both signs of the coin. She’s acting like she’s concerned about the environment, but when it comes right down to it, she’s looking for more money, above the billions B.C. will already receive. Add to  she wants to look strong and tough within confederation — a leader B.C. needs.
You have the stage Ms. Clark, and remember your performance will be judged accordingly.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor of the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor