Clark & Redford: What their cozy relationship means for BC pipelines

Clark & Redford: What their cozy relationship means for BC pipelines
BC and Alberta Premiers Christy Clark and Alison Redford (CP photo)

I have some questions for Premier Clark.

Premier, I’m a simple man who by nature asks simple questions.

You and Alberta premier Redford have evidently agreed that there will be a pipeline from her province through ours to the sea and that BC will make some money out of this deal.

  • Is this the end for Enbridge Northern gateway?
  • What will the new pipeline do to satisfy those of us with serious environmental concerns about Enbridge?
  • Does this musing by you and Redford have any bearing on Kinder Morgan who, incidentally, have had several recent spills?

Let’s move on to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). You have promised, premier, that over the next several decades LNG will have wiped out all provincial debt and put over $100 billion in a prosperity fund. To make this happen we have to know some things:

  • Who will our customers be?
  • Given the huge reserves of shale gas and oil, worldwide, being discovered every day, isn’t it reasonable to assume that by the time we enter the market at the end of the decade, potential customers will be producing their own gas in quantities beyond their needs?
  • What will the price payable to BC be in 2020? And what will the market price be in the places we want to export to? Surely you can answer those questions, for otherwise your statements are egregiously irresponsible.

Let’s look at our own supply of shale gas:

  •  You have announced that Site “C”, a $10 billion dollar project, is to help the natural gas industry. Does this mean industry gets this new power free or for a significant discount compared to residential and small business customers? Does it mean that any shale gas producer who finds his returns don’t meet costs will get more favourable rates from BC Hydro?
  • If we find, alas, that the Site “C” power is not “bought” by natural gas companies, what happens to that power? In, short, what is your confidence that “Site “C” power will be needed?

A couple of questions about “fracking”:

  • Premier, in days of yore, you and then-Premier Campbell were hugely concerned about the burning of natural gas because it was toxic. Indeed, you and he heavily criticized BC Hydro for using gas to operate Burrard Thermal for a few days a year when hydro power is short. How can you condemn Burrard Thermal and support LNG production?
  • Premier, you have to get that LNG to the coast, I assume by pipeline. Will this pipeline take Tar Sands bitumen as well? Could it be easily converted for that process? Do you intend to hold public hearings, not just on environmental grounds but on the question of whether or not British Columbians want this program in the first place?
  • What are you going to do in a few years time when you discover that this LNG project is just a pipe dream?

Premier, forgive me but I might be a bit rude.

I suggest that your natural gas fracking/transporting policy is just wistful thinking. In reality, you are a Mr. Macawber, hoping that “something will turn up”.

I say your dream will turn out to be a nightmare.


About 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 is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at