I'm beginning to feel sorry for Premier Christy Clark. She is a very nice person, personable and able to speak. What she is not capable of doing is speaking sensibly or making decisions that make sense.
It seems obvious to me that she is getting wretched advice and nowhere is this more evident than on the pipeline issue.
Let me illustrate.
The premier, some months ago, laid down some rules that would govern her government's environmental response to pipelines and added that to a demand for money from Premier Alison Redford of Alberta. The conditions were silly motherhood stuff and didn't contain the one most British Columbians want -- public hearings that would let people say whether or not they want these pipelines in the first place. This is, I daresay, a foreign concept to the Liberal government but the public know they are not able to express their opinions on the wisdom of the projects in the first place.
In fact, Premier Clark has avoided that issue like the plague.
She missed the very important Western Premier's Conference on the lame excuse she needed to be in the House because the pipelines and tanker issues were on the agenda and she would have to make known her position.
Then she missed all the deadlines to get B.C. status as an intervenor at the Joint Review Panel hearings as have Alberta, municipalities and First Nations. Consequently, a short time ago she was rebuffed for trying to intervene.
Reviews like the review -- and the Cohen Commission as an example -- realize that some entities have a greater issue to deal with than Joe Citizen and grant them the status to call witnesses, cross-examine government and industry witnesses and that sort thing. This could not possibly be a mistake, but a deliberate decision. I don't have much use for environmental hearings but at least British Columbians could hear what the evidence is. This was an egregious error obviously designed to let Ms. Clark act like the three monkeys.
Now she has horned her way into Premier Redford's office to press B.C.'s case. Here is the part that tells you the abysmal ignorance from which Ms. Clark operates.
She is quoted thusly: "There is no amount of money that can make up for an unacceptable risk when it comes to our oceans, our coast and our land."
Noble sentiments to be sure, but since Premier Redford supports the pipelines and tanker traffic and is content to have the federal government cram them past B.C. opposition -- and bearing in mind that Redford has made it clear that Alberta won't give B.C. a nickel -- the only purpose for Clark to crash Redford's office is to make it appear to folks at home that she's doing something.
She is making a fool of all of us, painting us as supplicants to Premier Redford's throne and the gold that is there.
This must be borne in mind: the oil revenues from the tar sands belong to Alberta under the constitution. If she were to take some of than money and give it to B.C., not only would she be a damned fool -- Alberta voters would eat her alive.
Premier Clark's bleating about "risks to B.C." is bullshit as she and the rest of us know. Even Enbridge admits that the chances of a spill are overwhelming. Clark is playing us for fools. it is egregious, disingenuous nonsense rivaled only by Bill Clinton's assertion that, "I did not have sex with that woman."
A version of this blog first appeared on The Common Sense Canadian.
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