Tough spot

Premier Christy Clark and her government in tough spot on Enbridge pipeline

Premier Christy Clark and her B.C. Liberal government are caught between a rock and hard place on the Enbridge oil pipeline, and it could cost them their seats on the government side of the house next May.

The premier desperately needs the jobs and revenue (whatever it will be) that would be gained by allowing the pipeline to go through British Columbia.

With the forest industry running out of time and timber supply and a revved-up mining industry still in the approval-process stages, Clark needs the gains the pipeline construction and revenue could provide.

To even stand the slimmest chance of becoming the elected premier of the province, she has to fulfill the “jobs, jobs, jobs and family first” promises she made during her coronation after winning the BC Liberal Party leadership.

Time is not her ally here.

Some political pundits say last week’s tilt with the Alberta Premier Alison Redford and refusing to sign off on the National Energy Strategy at the Confederation meeting is an attempt to boost her personal, and the party’s, numbers in the polls.

Talking tough will help her popularity briefly, but in the end, she isn’t going to make the controversy go away.

There is far too much opposition to pumping bitumen through the wilds of B.C. and then transporting it by tankers down the West Coast of our province.

There are basic facts that cannot be ignored: Enbridge admits spills are inevitable; the pipeline would go through terrain that is remote and not easily accessed; and bitumen is toxic and all but impossible to clean up.

For all intents and purposes, the pipeline would be a ticking bomb.

The horrors of the doomed tanker Exxon Valdez and its massive crude oil spill are a vivid memory that coastal inhabitants and environmentalist are not likely to allow to happen without digging in their heels for the long haul.

On top of all of that opposition, the First Nations people across the province are telling the provincial and federal governments to come to their senses and not threaten their traditional lands.

To survive, Clark must put some real teeth in the five principles for the pipeline proposal that she released last week, and she must receive a mandate from the electorate before allowing the pipeline to go ahead.

100 Mile House Free Press

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