What if B.C. put oil tankers to a vote?

It’s a big news day. Yesterday, Vancouver City Council unanimously adopted a strongly-worded motion to seek intervenor status with the National Energy Board, in order to oppose Kinder Morgan’s new bitumen pipeline. 35 Vancouverites showed up to speak at City Hall before the vote, and 742 of us submitted letters to mayor & council. Incredibly, 100% of those citizens were opposed to the pipeline.

This afternoon, the NEB will release its recommendation on another proposed pipeline — the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. The panel is supposed to be independent and its decision secret, but high-level government spokespeople are predicting “approval, with conditions”. Regardless of today’s JRP report, the final decision is up to federal cabinet cabinet ministers.

Or is it?

What if B.C. citizens said no, through a unique piece of direct-democracy legislation available only in our province? That’s a question that’s been floated by the Victoria-based Dogwood Initiative. I look at the pros and cons of launching an HST-style Citizens’ Initiative in today’s Vancouver Sun:

Imagine: no more pipeline ads, opinion polls, or rallies. What if our province’s voters could simply say yes or no to new oil tanker projects — and move on? As Premier Christy Clark said back in October of 2012, “if British Columbia doesn’t give its consent to (the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline), there is no way the federal government or anyone else in the country is going to be able to force it through.”

What if B.C. citizens themselves delivered a clear and final decision?

Click here to read more from Fight HST strategist Bill Tieleman, Nak’azdli First Nation Chief Fred Sam, and Dogwood Executive Director Will Horter.

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