EDITORIAL: Pipeline referendum would provide great feedback

Perhaps Premier Christy Clark sees a battle with Alberta as the last hope to rally voters in time for the spring 2013 election campaign.

Perhaps Premier Christy Clark sees a battle with Alberta — over revenue from allowing the Enbridge pipeline to use B.C. to link Alberta oil with tankers on the Pacific Ocean — as the last hope to rally voters in time for the spring 2013 election campaign.

It stands to reason, since the B.C. NDP has staked the opposed-to-pipeline position and the B.C. Conservatives have claimed the support-with-conditions spot.

However, by demanding that B.C. receive oil royalties from profits made from what flows through the pipeline, Clark is simply catering to those who already support the Enbridge proposal.

Those opposed have said it is not about money, but the environment.

Grand Chief Edward John, of the First Nations Summit political executive, summed it up when he said the B.C. Liberal government has missed the mark, stressing “B.C. First Nations’ traditional territories and pristine environment are not for sale.”

John reminded Clark of the Supreme Court of Canada’s stance that there is a legal requirement for governments to “consult and accommodate” First Nations regarding any and all land and resource development initiatives in their respective territories.

If First Nations cannot be convinced to allow a pipeline to be constructed through their territories, the pipeline simply will not be.

With Clark’s demand having been rejected by Alberta Premier Alison Redford, with First Nations still on the sidelines and with strong opposition among the public, perhaps it would be wise for Clark to add a non-binding referendum question to the May 14, 2013 general election ballot.

A simple question — Are you in favour of the Enbridge pipeline proposal? — could produce results that tell the government of the day which direction it should travel on this pipeline proposal.

— Victoria News

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