Alberta Politics

Waiting for Christy Clark to go away. Will the BC NDP warm up to the pipelines?

BC NDP Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline
The BC NDP oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline now, but will their position change if they form government? (Image from the BC NDP website)

Frosty” was the word used to describe the meeting between Alberta Premier Alison Redford and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark in Calgary this week. The two provincial Premiers have spent the summer months clashing over the proposed construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Premier Redford supports the pipeline, Premier Clark opposes it.

I have two thoughts this week about Premier Clark’s visit to Calgary and the continued debate around the pipeline:

1) Reacting to the BC Liberals drop in the polls, Premier Clark was speaking to British Columbians as she visited Calgary. She is standing up to those oil-thirsty Albertans by waving the BC flag in Calgary. If she is re-elected, I would not be surprised to see Premier Clark return to her free-market principles and support the pipeline.

2) The BC New Democrats have already firmly claimed the anti-pipeline territory that Premier Clark is now trying to claim. This does not necessarily mean a future government led by NDP leader Adrian Dix will not be open to negotiating a better deal or alternative route for the Northern Gateway Pipeline in the future.

While I am an outside observer to BC politics, I would not be shocked to see an NDP government support a future deal for the Northern Gateway Pipeline that they could trumpet as a job creator and celebrate as better deal than the previous BC Liberal government could negotiate.

As noted by Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid and Victoria Report’s David Heyman, Mr. Dix recently hosted a Vancouver fundraiser which was attended by representatives from large energy companies Encana, Suncor, and Canadian Natural Resources. Tickets for the NDP fundraiser cost $3,000 a plate and $5,000 for two.

It would appear that the both the BC NDP and the energy industry, which have significant investments in Alberta’s oil sands, are interested in improving their working relationship in the event Mr. Dix becomes Premier of BC after next year’s election.

As I wrote earlier this week, Premier Redford may have to wait for an NDP Premier to be elected in BC before a more pragmatic discussion around the Northern Gateway Pipeline can occur.

12 replies on “Waiting for Christy Clark to go away. Will the BC NDP warm up to the pipelines?”

Pretty cynical, Dave. What about the communities and people who are opposed to the project and vote for Dix based on his pre-election rhetoric?

To make a deal after winning an election would be as much a slap-in-the-face to citizens as claiming the tainted meat found in Brooks is proof our federal inspection system is working.

Politics as usual.

Oil money greases all the squeaky wheels of politics in this country, and cynicism is the correct response.

Well, Dix has commented that all of Clark’s threats to block power and permits would be illegal, and only path is to withdraw from the joint review panel.

Whether they can actually do that is unclear. If they can’t Premier Dix would have an easy out.

What does Dix mean when he says “withdraw from the joint review panel,” Kyle? BC is not on the joint review panel. I guess he might mean, don’t provide evidence, or cross-examine, (both of which they could decide to do, or not do) but that sure seems like an abdication of the GoBC’s fiduciary duty to its citizens. This whole thing is getting stupid. Now Clark is threatening to have BC Hydro deny service to the pipeline, if it is built. Has anyone stopped to consider the rather scary implications of a government telling a Crown Corporation that provides an essential service that they can’t provide that service to an entity with whom the government disagrees? The mind boggles at the ignorance of Premier Clark. And yes, I know I was defending her a few days ago.

Thanks for the usual superficial analysis Dave. Its pretty sad when Alberta doesn’t even understand that people in BC care about the environment. Most of us learn fairly early on you don’t win people over by calling them names. I guess being insular retards this development.

Thanks for the comment, Sheila. I would never suggest that British Columbians don’t care about the environment. I also would never say that about Albertans. Who are you accusing me of calling names?



Nice of you to try for the soft touch, Dave, but Ms. Wilkinson’s comment contributes nothing. No one need be thankful for simplistic populism (“I hate this and THE PEOPLE hate it too!”) and poor sarcasm.

Economics is strange voodoo. I would not be surprised if a BC NDP government found that a pipeline somewhere was in BC’s best interest. If they do, I sincerely hope that they realize that BC’s best pipeline would run somewhere that the inevitable leaks would be found quickly and addressed immediately.

Somewhere like the Fraser Valley maybe. Any company with a pipeline through that valley would find the legal risks of badly maintained pipe prohibitively expensive. And the government, NDP or Conservat-…er, Liberal, would be motivated to monitor the hell out of that pipe. I know, I know: too expensive to build a pipe in the Fraser Valley. After all, priceless wilderness and rugged coast line are the same as free…

BC wants their fair share? How about all the jobs the pipe line will create? How about the refinery that Mr. Black wants to build to service the pipe line (5000 jobs to build, 3000 to maintain)?

As to the enviroment image, the ppl of BC want to be seen as tree huggers. Well congrats you are. Otherwise ill-informed politicans and public opinion would wait for the reviews to be completed, unless they are all scientists in their spare time…

Speaking of poor sarcasm, Ryan, your last sentence definitely qualifies. As for building a pipeline in the Fraser Valley, Kinder Morgan already did. It’s been shipping oil through the Fraser watershed and in the Fraser Valley for 59 years.

It’s laughable when folks imply that pipeline companies just shove pipes unerground and hope they don’t leak. When you’re spending $8 billion on an asset, that’s motivation enough to monitor the hell out of it and maintain it. The profit motive ensures that.

As the good folks of BC wander about stoned on BC bud, caring for the environment, do any of you bicycle scientists realize your gas and oil from Dawson Creek, Ft. St. John, Pink Mtn etc has been flowing through pipelines THROUGH ALBERTA, for many years with Alberta getting no royalities from BC. Is that a hard concept to wrap a stoned head around, caring about the environment is real groovy, having a job, making payments on a house, raising a good family is even groovier Ms Wilkinson. Your fraudulent globall warming sky is falling scam has been exposed, far to late to save the billions of wasted money on utter stupidity, fueled in part by BC’s most famous dope, David Suzuki, smoke on Ms. but stop using all oil products and driving your Focus to the corner store for your munchies. Talk show hosts should stick to blathering to their small audiences, especially when they are as dull as Christie Clark, stay away from running provinces.To mean for you all, it’s called common sense millies.

I don’t like it… but I think you may be right.

However Dix will have significant opposition within the party to attempt that kind of gear change.

The NDP claims to have well and truly picked up the environment portfolio. On the other had, clear cutting BC forests blossomed under NDP rule all in the name of jobs.

I still contend that Alberta should underwrite all tanker cleanups in BC. Given that the insurance on tankers is capped at $30 million. Any spills will cost BC out of pocket. Combine that with the fact that the CERI industry report stated that BC will only see $50 million a year in tax revenue. It doesn’t seem like its worth it.

Harper’s new tanker regulations will require tankers to be double hulled.

Just like the Titanic…

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