Premier Christy Clark waves goodbye to BC's sovereignty in the Enbridge pipelines review

Premier Clark Gave Away BC’s Seat at the Table for Enbridge Review


Sometimes big stories go relatively unnoticed, as this one has for months. I’m indebted to Les Leyne of The Victoria Times Colonist and the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre for this information. Renowned economist and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan has also worked hard to bring this matter to the fore.
The Joint Review Panel is examining the proposed Enbridge Pipeline and the province of BC, unlike the province of Alberta, will not be at the table as a Government Participant. BC is an intervenor, which permits it to be there and open to questions from the Panel, but not to call evidence which would, of course, permit cross-examination so the Panel would have the full picture as to how British Columbians, or at least their government, feel about this project.
The government could still have filed evidence before the JRP as late as last January but decided not to do so. Yet – and get this – in May of this year, Premier Clark said that her government is still undecided as to whether it will call evidence, even though it abandoned that right 4 months before. Either Premier Clark didn’t know about this situation – very difficult to believe – or deliberately misled the House. Ms. Clark really has no excuse, especially since Robyn Allan raised this issue in mid-April with an open letter to the premier which received a reasonable amount of attention at the time.
This position of the Clark government has posed a procedural problem for the JRP. First Nations, which have registered as governments, want documents in the possession of the government and the JRP; with BC only an intervenor, it may not have to deliver them up.
This position was surely not taken without a full assessment of the facts by Clark and her tattered cabinet. Why weren’t these critical issues put before the general public which would have, of course, brought pressure on the province to register as a Government Participator.
What the hell does Clark have to hide? Why wouldn’t she say, “let’s get fully involved and represent the people – let it all hang out?”
There are two possible reasons which probably intertwine.
First, she’s scared of the evidence BC would be forced to put forward for cross-examination. She knows that the public is much opposed to both the pipeline and consequent tanker traffic but she fears that if she permits evidence to be called, her corporate pals will be mad as hell and her election coffers will suffer accordingly.
The second reason is the HST. Prime Minister Harper and his government, including his BC lickspittles, supports the Enbridge pipeline – big time. Harper also has the chance to be kind to the Clark government next April when the HST comes up, just before the election. Premier Clark hopes that Harper will give her decent terms for BC pulling out but knows full well that if she pisses Harper off, that won’t happen.
I have no doubt that the vast majority of British Columbians would want to see the Province at the table with the same status as Alberta (which, of course, strongly supports Enbridge) and the various First Nations also seated as Government Participants.
The long and the short of it is that British Columbia will not present our case to the JRP, for raw political reasons. The issue is not what’s best for British Columbia but how does Clark best look after her political, ahem, ass.
The ability of British Columbians to be fully heard has been trumped by the fear of consequences inimical to the political fortunes of the Clark government.


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

14 thoughts on “Premier Clark Gave Away BC’s Seat at the Table for Enbridge Review

  1. I was heartened by Christy Clqrks comments on Enbridges dismal track record but still no confirmed yeah or neah to the pipeline and tanker traffice. As I have said many times in the past…shame on you Christy Clarke. You really aren’t just another pretty face.

  2. Power of money and corporate influence has decided that the rest of the people have no rights. Don’t like it then don’t let a politician decide your future. Remember the lines the politicians tell us not to cross are invisible and a little bit of courage lets the truth out. Or do nothing and let these people slowly take everything away for more summer houses and yachts on your hard earned dollar. Stop waiting for “someone” to fix the problem when you too can be one of those “someones” that should help fix this.

  3. Where are the elected leaders who are here to represent the best interests of their constituents? On the other hand, where are the constituents who are standing up for their own rights? We need to get off our asses and get involved – Provincially and Federally.

  4. “Clark was planted where she is by the oil people.”
    That helps explain why she is so slippery with the truth.

  5. This is sick. The government is supposed to represent us, but she is hiding to protect her self and her business interests.

  6. Christy received many letters concerning this subject. Laila Yuile published Robyn Allan’s letter to the premier in her blog, requesting her readers to forward the letter to the premier and others in government. We did………at least, I did, and I’m sure many others followed suit.

    Christy knows full well how British Columbians feel about this project, but she couldn’t care less. Hopefully, Adrian Dix will be our premier before Enbridge’s bulldozers get close to the B.C./Alberta border, and we can stop this destruction of our province before it starts.

  7. Before being allowed to take any office of publice service, individuals who put themselves forward for these positions of high responsibility really should be required to go through a complete psychological evaluation. If they refuse this then they ought to be disallowed the chance to seek office. Once the evaluation is complete, the results should be made public. This would give the public a clearer, more accurate understanding of exactly who it is that we are concidering to place in leadership positions, where the nature of their psychological process will have power to decide upon, and design the nature of our future.
    This would also allow our social and political systems to side step a great deal of unecessary, and destructive, and expensive, extremely wasteful game playing, searches for the truth, and corrective action as a result of issues like this.

  8. Her tattered party, is in dire straits. She will do whatever to try and gain a percentage point, as she slides in the popularity poll, about half of Adrian Dix’s rating. Can’t wait for the election day to arrive.

  9. Most politicians are bought and paid for before they even get into “public” office. Clark is no exception.

  10. British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office’s response to the NEB’s request in 2005 to “indicate its roles and responsibilities respecting an environmental assessment of the Enbridge Gateway Project” [as it was then known but subsequently renamed Northern Gateway Project]

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