New Year’s Resolution: In 2014, B.C. can stop Enbridge – and help defeat Harper

By Derrick O’Keefe

In so many ways, 2013 was tough on everyone in B.C. who cares about social justice and the environment. The surprise election victory by Christy Clark and the BC Liberals, alone, is enough to make me happy to put that year behind us. Adding insult to injury, the National Energy Board (NEB) wrapped up the year by announcing, the week before Christmas, conditional approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

The NEB ruling – though not unexpected – was a big holiday season lump of bitumen for British Columbians, who in their significant majority oppose this reckless export mega-project.

Enbridge has arguably generated more serious opposition across the board – from First Nations to fishers, from the north to the south, coast to interior – than anything in this province for decades. You have to go back to Clayoquot Sound in the early 1990s, or maybe even the Solidarity coalition of 1983, to find such an organized and militant protest movement.

That’s the silver lining to the NEB ruling. The sheer scale of the polarization around this issue and the high stakes of this debate, put B.C. in a position to change the national political scene. It’s worth remembering that the B.C. government of Christy Clark formally opposed Enbridge in their submission to the NEB. So while Clark’s political disposition is to support the oil and gas industry, she has to tread carefully. How the public discussion about Enbridge plays out has implications not just for the other big tar sands pipeline proposal, Kinder Morgan’s, but also for Clark’s efforts to push the massive expansion of fracking and LNG exports.