Photo by Harold Hommel, Victoria Stop Kinder Morgan vigil
As expected, Wednesday afternoon, the BC Liberal government of Christy Clark gave its final approval to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. It is unsurprising because the legacy of Christy Clark’s Liberal government has firmly been established as the neoliberal status quo.
The announcement comes in the wake of the federal liberal approval of Kinder Morgan and Line 3 at the end of November. The year-long dance with the federal government and Kinder Morgan that included the Ocean Protection Plan and the approval of the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal, and the Premiers improvised performance during the First Minister’s Meeting in December has lead to this final stance, a few months ahead of the next provincial elections.
A Dogwood Initiative release in response to the BC government announcement put emphasis on the proximity of the BC Liberals to Big Oil interests, calculating that $718,918 had been donated to the party from Kinder Morgan affiliates, oil companies with shipping contracts and other oil advocacy associations such as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in the last 10 years, up to March 2016. This demonstrates that the Liberal Party of BC has close ties to oil interests and depend on them for campaign fundraising.
Premier Christy Clark’s focus on capital intensive mega projects that includes oil and gas pipelines as well as doubling down on natural gas fracking and LNG terminals has firmly put her in the camp of willing to destroy the environment and trample indigenous rights for the benefit of large business interests, and at the expense of working people in BC. BC is already known as the province with the 2nd highest inequality rate in Canada, after Alberta.
Christy Clark had also taken these priorities to the next level with the Site C dam while trying to build this decades old project that has been shelved in the past, and which was shown to be economically unviable and not needed again in 2015. By damming the Peace River in northern BC, the BC government would flood traditional lands along the river still actively used for hunting and harvesting near Hudson’s Hope, which would violate the rights of indigenous peoples. The flooding would also have huge impacts on good farmland in the region.
Despite this focus on a resource-based economy, the promise of jobs for rural BC has been unfulfilled, and most regions outside the lower mainland have seen job losses that have families worried.
In 2017, the Council of Canadians will continue to fight inequality, corporate interests and stand opposed to fracking and pipelines that BC’s climate and water at risk.