Enbridge's ad spend on the Kitimat vote so far is more than three times what the company would be allowed to spend in an electoral district during a provincial election. During a provincial election or initiative vote, Elections BC restricts how much companies and other third-party advertisers can spend -- but no such rules apply to the April 12 plebiscite.
Both the people lauding the refinery proposal and those condemning it miss the point. In tying pipeline development to the building of a heavy-oil refinery in B.C., MLA Andrew Mr. Weaver is not so much accepting a reasonable compromise as he is floating still another costly, lengthy, prerequisite to new pipelines.
The U.S. State Department released its long-awaited report on the Keystone XL project last week. Most media focused on the executive summary, but several scenarios in British Columbia are outlined in the full report, even though the province is thousands of kilometres removed from the proposed pipeline.
The Haisla First Nation live in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth, on the west coast near the aluminum town of Kitimat. The town's massive smelter has long been a sore spot among the Haisla, dropped into their traditional territory in the pro-development 1950 without consultation or substantial compensation. Now, the Haisla find themselves on the front lines of one of the most important Canadian environmental and development debates of the 21st century, but they are no longer the powerless victims of a half century ago. If Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline proceeds, it will terminate on Haisla territory.
There has been a lot of media attention lately surrounding the use of foreign trade workers in our province. What we need to keep in mind is that our province needs skilled foreign workers to mitigate a labour shortage that is putting our economic growth at risk, and we must not allow gut reactions to specific cases dictate public opinion or guide public policy decisions with far-reaching, future implications.