Premier Clark’s fight with Alberta Premier Redford over the Northern Gateway project is a very dangerous ploy. She has, by this action, said plainly that the BC environment is open to bids in exchange for the desecration of our province. We are the hooker bargaining over the price of services.
The Premier’s environmental stipulations will cause no concerns with Alberta, Ottawa or Enbridge. Of course they will agree to these terms including a clause re cost of damage – those promises are easy to make and easy to ignore. Once the bitumen starts to flow, how do you enforce any agreement?
The four salient facts remain – spills by Enbridge’s own admission are inevitable, the terrain is inaccessible, the bitumen is highly toxic and all but impossible to clean up, and once the pipeline is operative we will have serial spills, each time adding to existing spill damage.
The spat the premier has launched with Alberta Premier Redford is strictly political with the object of Clark and the Liberals getting better polling numbers.
Unfortunately for the premier, this is like sex – great while it lasts. What we’ve heard from Premier Redford is simply the first round of a long bidding exercise. It must be remembered that Premier Redford did, a few months ago, offer to help build the necessary docking facilities in Kitimat. (That strikes me as an offer to dig your grave and supply a headstone if you would be so kind as to commit suicide!)
What Premier Clark has done is buy a bit of political time in the hope that when next May’s election comes around she will look as if she’s valiantly defending BC’s integrity.
The fact is she has BC in a process it should never be in – trading BC’s environment in exchange for unenforceable and useless environmental safeguards – and money, the amount and payer(s) to be determined. She is doing this not in our province’s interest but that of her party and herself.
This is vintage Liberal stuff – the first priority is always to get elected.
I don’t believe that this ploy will work. The opposition to the Northern Gateway (Enbridge) and tanker traffic is too great.
The responsible course – and one which would have helped her and her party considerably the long run, i.e. next May’s election, would have been to announce that the Liberal government was opposed to the entire Northern Gateway initiative and that in that respect the government and the opposition were agreed.
The general fainting spell this would bring would quickly pass and the NDP would have lost its initiative on this issue.
Alas, such responsible positions don’t happen in BC politics.