The Hon. Greg Rickford’s office at the Ministry of Natural Resources was shuttered this afternoon as his office sent out a statement about the government’s decision regarding the Northern Gateway Pipeline—which has been approved by the way. The statement did not make clear as to why there wasn’t a ministerial press conference to cover the announcement, however it can be suspected that the Harper government forgot, and was hoping everyone else would too.
Prime Minister Harper was not able to escape the wrath of the Opposition parties, sadly, possibly because the Hon. Mr. Rickford had taken up all the space under his desk to protect himself from the violent backlash for the announcement.
The CBC reported that it was a sticky situation with no easy answer for the Harper government, or for any government, however we’ll still rake him over the coals anyway. After all, it’s all his fault.
It’s easy for the New Democrats, Liberals, and Greens to protest the decision. In fact, it would be harder for them if Harper hadn’t gone ahead and approved the pipeline. At present the New Democrats have a single seat in the House of Commons from Alberta, and the Liberals have zip—it is solid Tory territory.
As the NDP and the Liberals have had a tenuous hold in the West for the past couple of decades, it’s easy for them to bash a decision which primarily affects the West. After all, they don’t care about any negative political backlash next year.
Now this move by Harper may prove to weaken the Conservative’s strength in British Columbia, but so strong is the Tory mentality in the West that Harper could dump Nuclear Weapons in his riding of Calgary Southwest, and no matter the decision he made on the pipeline his constituents’ glowing green ballots would still be marked for Harper.
No one in this public debate has anything to lose, except for the Canadian People, First Nations, environmentalists, oceanographers, shipping magnates whose tankers will have a devilish time trying to navigate the channel to Kitimat…but aside from those groups the politicians representing them in the legislatures (Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau-even Elizabeth May) have nothing to lose in whatever they decide (although there is not much to gain either).
All opposition leaders promised to overturn the decision in 2015, if elected. Due to the turnout of the past couple of Federal elections, when it comes to ridings in BC, it is unlikely that either the Liberals or NDP could lose seats there based on their promise to cancel the pipeline, which by then could be under construction.
Nor is it likely that they would win a great many more seats in BC unless the sparsely populated ridings that the pipeline will bisect decide to turnout in droves in 2015 and vote for change. We also need to remember a previous controversial policy decision made by a Conservative government: Mulroney’s GST. In 1993, Chretien led the Liberals to a sweeping majority and had sworn to abolish the GST. I was born that year and have endured the GST all of my 21 years.
Even if they say now that they will reverse the decision, that decision itself could be reversed. 2015 might see the Pipeline become a key part in the election campaign, along with the shelved F-35’s, the on-going Senate scandal and Harper’s sickening partisanship, Justin Trudeau’s stance on Charter Rights, and whatever else happens in the next few months. I sincerely doubt that it will make much of a difference for any party though, unless some up and coming Liberal candidate were to point out to their Conservative opponent that our government was continuing to ship oil and gas to other countries, ruining our environment to do so, and not getting those in seat rich Ontario and Quebec cheaper oil or power. But what candidate would be foolish enough to do that, a politician actually making sense with an arguement that will actually strike a chord with Canadians is unheard of here. For now.
With that, here is a poem, the Ballad of Northern Gateway, (sung to the tune of The Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot).
The legend lives on from Kitimat to Bruderheim;
and no that isn’t in Germany.
On June 17th, of 2014 in Ottawa the decision was made.
Though it snubs the natives, the animals, fish, plants, and British Columbians,
The Northern Gateway will have itself laid so says Harper’s environmental policy.