04/14/2014 01:31 EDT | Updated 04/14/2014 12:59 EDT

Northern Gateway B.C.-Wide Vote Should Be Next: Group


On the heels of a "no" vote by the citizens of Kitimat, B.C. against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, a campaign has begun for a possible province-wide plebiscite.

Saturday's non-binding vote in the northern city — which would be the site of a marine terminal to store Alberta's oilsands product before it ships on tankers to Asia — saw almost 60 per cent of residents opposing Enbridge's $6.5-billion project.

That same day, pipeline opponents launched, arguing that everyone in B.C. should have a say on the twin pipeline.

“This project would have serious ramifications for the whole province, so all British Columbians deserve to vote on it,” said Kai Nagata, the energy and democracy director at Dogwood Initiative, in a news release. "Regardless of whether you support this proposal, the decision should be made by British Columbians."

If the federal and provincial governments approve the Enbridge proposal, Dogwood and other "allied pro-democracy groups" may start a petition under the Recall and Initiative Act, said the release.

B.C.’s so-called "direct democracy" law allows any British Columbian to bring a matter of provincial jurisdiction forward for a non-binding referendum or a vote in the legislature — as long as they collect supporting signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in every riding in the province.

B.C. was forced to cancel its HST in 2011 after a successful petition seeking a referendum on the unpopular tax.

Last year, Sensible BC ran a campaign behind its proposal of a law that would prevent police from enforcing simple marijuana possession laws.

Campaigner Dana Larsen needed to collect 300,000 signatures in 90 days but fell about 100,000 short. He vowed to launch a second petition before the next federal election in 2015.

With files from The Canadian Press

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