HST and Pipelines: The Elephant in the Cabinet Room


There is an elephant in the cabinet room and it can only be dealt with if the occupiers of that room don’t oppose any of the proposed pipelines to run through BC – this thanks to the Campbell/Clark HST mess.

In simple terms, we owe Ottawa $1.6 BILLION by backing out of the HST. It’s not brain surgery – any deal Prime Minister Harper makes to lessen this burden will require Premier Clark to not oppose the pipelines.

What other explanation can be made when you consider how quickly and enthusiastically she supported David Black’s proposed refinery in Kitimat? How is the bitumen to get to this refinery? By carrier pigeon?

Going back to the beginning of her premiership, Clark has shown sympathy for pipelines, albeit opaquely at first, until she moved to the position that if the money’s right, no problem. Of course she will demand that the pipelines be built very carefully and that any leaks are promptly taken care of by “world class” methods and, of course, Enbridge will – cross its heart and hope to die – promise that this will be done.

In reality, it’s down to money. There is now a price tag on her approval and that will, she supposes, make it all better for those nutty citizens who are so opposed to “progress”.

The Campbell/Clark government is utterly without a soul. Social costs are paid grudgingly. They love building things, no matter what the environmental cost will be. They are astonished that so many British Columbians regard the Pacific Salmon and the waters in which they reside as sacred. They think that all they must do is approve a project in principle then run it through a phony economic and “environmental assessment” process and they’ve been good little boys and girls.

This government assumes the corporations are telling the truth when they promise to practice according to the rules, so they never police and enforce rules. If a corporation does disobey the rules, they need have no fear, because even if the government does inspect, there won’t be any fines or other punishment – in fact with fish farms, when they were fined for breaches of the rules by an NDP government, they were instantly refunded when the Liberals took over. Indeed, the minister in charge used to warn the fish farms when the enforcers were going to visit!

The NDP policy re: pipelines is timid to say the least. We will see their actual policy when they lay out their platform in a couple of weeks.

What we know for sure is that Enbridge – indeed all corporations that wish to destroy our environment further – will jump for joy if the Liberals win.

And when that happens, the British Columbia we know and love will no longer be protected, for this surrender to large government and corporate interests will be the precedent by which further and more serious incursions will be approved by our political masters.

Postscript: The latest buzz word for those who support the despoliation of our land, which includes the Federal Conservatives and Provincial Liberals to a person, means that there must be a trial before the hanging. It denotes a cute little pas de deux, where the government says OK – but only after an environmental “process”. A little thought shows that we are deprived of saying we don’t want the damned thing in the first place.

There is no better example l know of this than the proposed McNab Creek gravel quarry. We are all invited to suggest environmental safeguards instead of being asked if we want it at all.

Here is one of three salmon spawning rivers in Howe Sound and we’ll throw that away for a gravel pit!

If you were to ask the local MP to help stop it he would say it must go through the “process”, which is a sham like the old Soviet Union “show trials” were.


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 rafeonline.com.

1 thought on “HST and Pipelines: The Elephant in the Cabinet Room

  1. Thursday, 04 April 2013 20:36 posted by Holly Pender-Love

    Very odd situation. the BC public said NO to the HST, but the Campbell government wanted that money to shore up its lousy budget. so, they took the money, did not return any when the voters said NO WAY and now we are left with the payment of $1.6 billion to Ottawa. A prudent government would have immediately returned the money and made some changes. I suspect Mr. Dix and the NDP are wondering if they really do want to win, when the cupboards are bare and we are hugely in debted to Ottawa…

    Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:02 posted by G.J.W.

    The best thing for BC to do? Is to get the hell out of Harper’s Canada.

    Kitimat, Rio Tinto Alcan 420,000 tonnes per anum.

    Kitimat LNG Plant, in association with Pacific Trail, ties in with America’s Summit Lake.

    Kitimat, Sand Hill Project, 100 million tonnes of sand, for Cape sized ships.

    Kitimat Clean LTD construction, to begin 2014.

    Douglas Channel Energy Partnership, begins production later 2013.

    Pacific Trail pipeline, a direct connection with Spectra pipeline, to move gas to China.

    Kitimat, Engridge two new pipelines, for Northern Gateway Project.

    LNG Canada start-up 2020

    Kitimat, a series of many work camp, for foreign country’s to house their workers. Chinese resource workers earn, $800 per month.

    Just how many ships, will there be into Kitimat Port? How many more behemoth dirty tar tankers, other than China’s coming into the Douglas Channel?

    What part of that, don’t people get?

    Tuesday, 02 April 2013 06:37 posted by the salamander

    Here’s a link I found via Andrew Nikiforuk’s recent Tyee article – ‘Pipeline Company Bullies’


    it includes a link to Dave Core’s presentation in Ottawa, which reveals how the National Energy Board games the pipeline and ‘right of entry’ processes.. and that the NEB is actually a ‘captured’ regulator operated by the Canadian Government to protect the interests of energy and pipeline companies over the interests and rights of Canadian citizens.

    Core’s presentation

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/committee/411/ENEV/49996-E.HTM (scroll down to approx the halfway point of the proceedings)

    is a stark, factual perspective. Regardless of the NEB ‘decision’ regarding the Northern Gateway twin pipelines, one can see how foreign energy and pipeline interests dictate matters behind federal and provincial policy smokescreens.. and conflicted regulatory bodies.

    The current Harper Government has proven that within a single calender year they can eliminate legislation or create favorable new legislation to customize and streamline processes for the resource sector.

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