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The Northern Gateway pipeline that Enbridge proposes to build from Alberta’s bitumen oil to the Pacific coast of British Columbia is, for all intents and purposes, dead.
Yes, regulatory hearings before the National Energy Board will continue until the NEB approves the project. And yes, Enbridge will keep pushing for it. And yes, the Harper government, which is so publicly committed to the project, will continue to extol its virtues as part of the need to get Canadian resources to Asia.
But the project is dead. It has too many obstacles now, and there’ll be more in the future.
To survive, the Gateway pipeline would have to push past the growing opposition of British Columbians in general, the opposition of the current Liberal provincial government and the NDP government likely to replace it next year, the unanimous opposition of environmentalists, considerable opposition from at least some of the aboriginal groups along the route and, if all this were not enough, the likelihood of prolonged court battles.
What’s not standing in the way are U.S. environmentalists, whom the Harper government accused of being the principal reasons for the project’s problems. This wild statement was, then as now, completely at variance with reality, since British Columbians are hardly to be led around by their collective nose by a handful of folks from south of the border. To suggest otherwise is to insult their intelligence.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark just spent two days in Alberta, including a meeting with Alberta Premier Alison Redford that both described as frosty. Ms. Clark said she was in Alberta to inform Albertans of B.C.’s concerns and demands; but given a looming political debacle at home, she was really speaking to her home audience.
It was the height of rudeness to ask for a meeting, as Ms. Clark did, then offer nothing and not even pretend to be civil, as if the most urgent thing on her mind was telling the B.C. media how unproductive had been the meeting she sought.
But good manners flee, even between premiers of contiguous provinces, when one of them – Ms. Clark – is fighting for her political life and has come to understand how unpopular Gateway has become in British Columbia. Indeed, it would seem that the more British Columbians know about the project, the less they like it, starting with the reasonable question:
For the rest of this column, please go to the Globe and Mail website: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/you-heard-it-here-northern-gateways-dead/article4589760/