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Rafe Mair: Enbridge pipeline should face BC referendum

Posted October 24, 2013 by Rafe Mair in Energy and Resources
Rafe Mair-Enbridge pipeline should face BC referendum

Thousands of citizens spoke out against Enbridge at last year’s “Defend Our Coast” rally” (TJ Watt photo)

The cynicism of both our senior governments regarding tankers and pipelines is appalling.

The pact between Premier Clark and Alberta Premier Redford - followed two days later by the Harper government’s Speech from the Throne – does precisely what many of us have said all along was their intention, to approve pipelines and tankers, irrespective of the findings of the Joint Review Panel (a farce), the wishes of First Nations and the wishes of the people.

This is not the time to despair but for two separate lines of action.

Enbridge pipeline requires referendum

First, and critically important in the short term, the people of BC must demand and press for a province-wide referendum. Would anyone suggest that the ravaging of our environment is less important than on the way we vote – i.e. the STV referendum – or a tax, as in HST? Would Premier Clark dare to take that position?

What it will take is a concerted effort, one where we all fight no matter what organizations we represent.

I suggest that all environmental organizations get under one roof for this struggle – it can be anyone of many. The Wilderness Committee, Living Oceans Society, Dogwood Initiative, Forest Ethics, Pacific Wild, and the list goes on. I can say that The Common Sense Canadian would get behind such an effort.

Civil Disobedience

We must also be prepared, and let the government know we are prepared for massive civil disobedience. It must be peaceful and large enough that there aren’t enough jails to begin to hold all the protesters.

I believe that will happen spontaneously, so let’s for the moment deal with the referendum.

Public must demand referendum

As a starting point, let’s everyone make it clear in letters, emails and social media messages to Premier Clark that we demand no less than the right to decide the fate of our province. And let’s start now.

And, I make this plea to fellow activists – let’s get a plan for action up and running as soon as we can. I repeat that we at The Common Sense Canadian will be there to share developments on this front with the public – and to make a strong case for why this initiative is so necessary.

We simply cannot sit on our backsides and let these bastards get away with it.

A referendum, Madam Premier, and now!


About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe continues to make regular appearances on radio and television, writes regularly for thetyee.ca, and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

11 Comments


  1.  
    Christopher

    I will start by saying I for one do not want to see BC risk it’s coastal industries for Oil company/Foreign profits . this being said , I believe this pipeline will be forced upon us by the federal conservatives . I would like for BC to consider a large damage deposit , a very large damage deposit if this were to occur . In trust held by BC government one billion dollars with the occurring interest applied directly to our provincial debt . When the inevitable oil spill happens we at least would have some accountable oil company money on hand to start the clean up process . This money should be mandatory and replenished as needed for clean up and to keep the balance at one billion for the life span of this project . all subsequent projects would have the same mandatory requirement. When you think about it you can’t rent a house or a car with out suppling some damage deposit up front .
    Furthermore if Gateway were to be built it should be routed to Prince Rupert . I would vote and support a referendum regarding any pipeline but we all know thats never gonna happen in Canada under a Harper Government . I have sent countless E-mail letters to both levels of Government involved , never once received any response . They couldn’t give a rats ass about it . Cheers




  2.  
    Trinity

    Hello,

    I need clarification. I want a referendum but how do we go about doing this? I need it spelled out to like I am a bright six year old. :)

    Thank you!

    Trinity
    (Surrounded by oil and jet fuel lines in Burnaby)




  3.  
    Dave

    I’ve written to the Premier, but doubt the effectiveness of these types of correspondence. My concern, as eluded to above, is that there are MANY grassroots organizations running different campaigns. We need to UNITE in mass blockade of construction efforts in order to stop this. Each organization should be reaching out to each other to form a UNIFIED FRONT. Together we can be more powerful.




  4.  
    Kevin Logan

    If we do get a referendum it should be on everything but Enbridge, like Kinder Morgan and LNG.




  5.  
    Kevin Logan

    A referendum may help them to suggest they are listening to the people and of course will come with significant cost, but it wont be built even without a referendum.




  6.  

    Way to go, Rafe, with your call for action. I hate to think that we need to waste tax payers’ money on a referendum because the provincial and federal governments are ignoring overwhelming opposition. My vote is for massive civil disobedience for our environment (and against pipelines, IPPs, LNG and Site C). Let the Maple Spring flow!




  7.  

    Way to go Rafe with your call for action. I hate to think that we need to waste tax payers’ money on a referendum because the provincial and federal governments are ignoring overwhelming opposition. My vote is for massive civil disobedience for our environment (and against pipelines, IPPs, LNG and Site C). Let the Maple Spring flow!




  8.  
    David Larson

    One has to wonder what Harper promised Clark or threatened her with to get her to even consider betraying us lie this. I’m not so naive that I think we can shame her into doing the right thing, rather I believe she lacks the moral fortitude to resist Harper’s will. My thoughts are that we will indeed have to force our collective will on her through a referendum. The unknown here is; is Harper’s promise/threat to her in their private meetings enough that she will commit political suicide for him as did Campbell? Considering Campbell landed with a golden parachute for selling his soul it’s not a stretch to assume Clark will follow suit so lets get started with referendum plans, how can I help.




    •  
      psosp

      What would it take to get her to consider betraying us like this? Are you implying she has morals? Oh dear gawd! She’d do it for a cheap bottle of wine!!

      So, as what is clearly lacking in this cause is a champion/leader, who would be suitable? They have to have time and profile and be able to rally the people. Like so many others, I would love to lead the revolution, I just don’t know how to do it by myself. Any suggestions?




  9.  
    David Larson

    My personalized letter to Premier Clark through the Forest ethics petition:

    Dear Premier Clark,

    I am concerned you seem to planning to flip flop on your promise to stand against the risks the Enbridge pipeline line poses for our rivers and coastline.

    Last year your government rejected the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline stating “it is not clear from the evidence that Northern Gateway will in fact be able to respond effectively to a spill of diluted bitumen from either the pipeline or from tankers transporting diluted bitumen from the proposed terminal in Kitimat”.

    Now you appear to be backsliding into bed with Harper and Redford with weasel words slipping into your rhetoric, much the same as then Premier Gordon Campbell did with the HST issue. I hope the fall out of his betrayal of us BC citizens is still fresh in your mind, this proposed pipeline is way more important to us than the HST was!

    The good people of Prince William Sound only had one incident in all the years they allowed tankers to ply their waters but that is all it took to cost them every thing they ever had or ever will have. It only takes one spill to forever alter our coast, our economy, our way of life.

    Stand by your statements and stand up to Stephen Harper. Do not sign any permits related to the Northern Gateway pipeline and do everything in your power to not allow this pipeline to be built.





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