Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kitimat Says No To Northern Gateway

Polls are for dogs, but an honest to gawd plebiscite, where Big Oil outspent the local opposition a gazillion to one and still lost that's scientific.  I suspect support levels are the same province-wide (60/40 against).  And I suspect somewhere in Ottawa, Harper and Co. are wondering whether they want Northern Gateway to be the key  issue in B.C. come the 2015 federal election.  


Steve Bloom said...

That is one restrictive, weak-ass initiative law. Getting 10% of registered voters to sign in a 90-day period in the most remote, Tory-leaning districts would be no picnic, especially given the ban on inducements to circulators (which from the sound of it would extend to things like providing transportation and snacks). And in the end the most they could get is a bill tabled with no guarantee of passage. OTOH the political consequences of a successful signature drive may be enough to do the job.

Should it come to a vote, although I suspect a government would have to nuts to let that happen for an issue like this, the campaign finance restrictions look like they would cut the oilies off at the knees.

As far as I can see, proponents would have a free hand prior to filing, so if this goes forward I would expect to see some months of district-level organizing to get all the ducks in a row before the text is filed.

Steve Bloom said...

And that organizing has already begun, apparently using just the right model. This will be interesting.

Steve Bloom said...

BTW, it seems clear from the linked material that the initiative will be a broad-based attack on "pipeline and oil tanker expansion proposals" in general, not just on Northern Gateway, meaning that whether it or other proposals are modified or even withdrawn in the near future isn't likely to affect the initiative campaign. That said, the timing of the vote is pretty wobbly. All else equal, proponents will want to gather signatures during long, fair-weather days, but that could cause the vote to take place sooner than would be ideal for the federal election. But having a win in the bag may be enough even if it occurs months earlier.

I partially take back my remark above that a government would have to nuts to let that happen. If Clark decides public sentiment is strong enough to require her to go all in against the pipelines, allowing the vote would make complete sense. Interesting times in any event.