The Conservative government's decision to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline is the greatest threat to national unity since the Quebec crisis in 1995. It is reminiscent of Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Program of 1980, except in that case the program could be and was cancelled. This is, simply put, an "up yours" to our province of B.C.
The federal government's failure to respect the will of British Columbians is particularly ironic. In 1980 when Trudeau introduced the National Energy Program, Albertans were outraged. They argued that it was utterly inappropriate for the federal government to interfere with their energy policy as it was deemed to be within provincial jurisdiction. Have we not learned anything from history?
First Nations will undoubtedly take the project to court and if need be, tens of thousands of British Columbians have pledged to stand with them and take direct action to stop this pipeline. Hopefully it won't have to come to that. Ultimately, if after everything, Enbridge still tries to ram their pipeline through B.C., it may make Clayoquot Sound look like a walk in the park. Assuming he doesn't surprise us by rejecting Enbridge outright, Harper will end up regretting that he didn't oppose this pipeline, as it will likely cost him some critical seats in a close election.
When the announcement was made that humpback whales would no longer be protected as a "threatened" species in Canada, the public was furious. To many, this represented positive proof that the federal government would do anything to promote the Northern Gateway pipeline -- including meddling with the protection of humpback whales to get them out of the way of development. Our government has a lot to answer for in the area of environmental management, but the outcry in this case is misguided.