Premier Clark Buys Time on Enbridge


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.


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

5 thoughts on “Premier Clark Buys Time on Enbridge

  1. The stuff is hard to clean up in cold water the bitumen is highly toxic and all but impossible to clean up, Get capitial injection and process it here and sell finished goods, We export the lumber and loose jobs so if it is about making money, lets get on with it.
    At this point the world is about oil so unless we want to keep it until solar power is fasionable then we would not be on the leading edge, but we would have losts of oil.
    It is a slippery slope and capitilism does not always make the best decisions

  2. This ‘fight’ is a game, and it is as convincing as a pro-wrestling match. The game is fixed. If it works, Clark will seem to win, Alberta will make some concessions to BC – financial and some bogus environmental safeguards, Clark will be a hero to her constituants, and the cheering and victorious British Columbians will allow the pipeline to proceed. So far the media have been reporting this ‘fight’ as if it is real.

  3. Agreed, the whole thing is a sham and a deal with redford was made last week…..this is theatrics for votes, make Clark appearing to fight for the better deal for BC…..meh

  4. Hey Rafe I think Redford knows if the NDP win the election her pipeline is screwed, they already have lawyers working on it, so the secret meeting in Alberta was all about getting our unelected priemier noticed….you know wink wink she’s fighting for B.C……another Lieberal scam

  5. I agree with most of the content of the article, too bad you had to discredit yourself by using the reference of sex while referring to the 2 female premiers, that was a poor choice and you’ve lost my ear.

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