The Premier and the Prime Minister are playing very dangerous games indeed.
Prime Minister Harper is acting as though the Enbridge pipeline is a done deal – indeed he’s telling anyone he meets that very thing.
The PM, never much for public opinion at the best of times, cannot see any possible way the general public and First Nations could stand in the way of this ghastly project.
He’s relying on the National Energy Board's Joint Review Panel hearings to allow him to say that the people have had their say so – on with the pipelines! That they will approve of the double pipeline is all but a forgone conclusion and already The PM and his Resources Minister are complaining that the Commission is tiresome and wasting time; however, the time isn’t wasted as far as I’m concerned, for every moment the Commission sits will make more people aware of the egregious environmental insult this project is.
Where is Premier Clark? I believe that the provincial government has shared jurisdiction, yet she seems to think if she ducks her head British Columbians won’t notice her.
Ms. Clark and the Prime Minister are paying no attention to the fact that the First Nations across the entire project oppose it, but here’s the crunch: if this Tar Sands gunk doesn’t get shipped from the coast there’s no point to pipelines.
Premier Clark can’t avoid the tanker issue. On this issue the First Nations are adamant – in Coastal First Nations spokesman Gerald Amos’ words on the tanker traffic, he is nothing if not concise: “It isn’t going to happen.”
The issues of the pipelines and tankers are joined at the hip – Enbridge is scarcely going to build pipelines unless the Tar Sands gunk will have customers and customers require tankers to go down the coast.
This means that even if Premier Clark can avoid the pipelines issue, she sure as hell can’t avoid the tanker one. To make the cheese more binding, this will be a huge issue by the time the next provincial election comes around in May of 2013. I have no doubt that the NDP will be unalterably and vocally opposed to the tanker traffic and the premier will have to fish or cut bait. To make it worse, she’s in a Catch 22 position – if she opposes the tanker traffic many of the right wing of the party will vote Conservative; if she supports it, the centre/left and the crucial swing folks will vote NDP.
Both the PM and Clark completely miss the strength of the opposition to the pipelines and tanker traffic - a strength that is growing and will continue to grow.
In my lifetime, a long one, I have never seen a more dangerous situation where violence may well not be avoided. I have also never seen such a serious situation be ignored by our political masters.
Harper trots around the world to get customers to buy Tar Sands gunk without any serious process to hear the people; while the Premier pretends that it has nothing to do with her.
All the while opposition grows and grows – a clear prescription for disaster.