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Is the pipeline fix in?

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By David Burke / Squamish Chief
Published April 2, 2014

The revelation hit the news on Tuesday (April 1), but it was no April Fool’s joke: Premier Christy Clark was a partner in a firm that, beginning in 2005, lobbied the federal government in support of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. Anti-Enbridge groups immediately claimed the connection calls into question Clark’s sincerity, while campaigning during the 2013 election, in claiming she would stand up to protect B.C.’s coast. Clark’s spokesman said the premier never worked on the Enbridge file, while company principal Mark Marissen said she was only involved in TransLink-related lobbying.

We’d say it doesn’t amount to much — people have to make a living when they don’t hold elected office, after all. However, it’s just one more reason B.C. residents who have stated their opposition to Gateway in poll after poll to take the cynical view that the fix is most probably in on the project. Clark’s recent moves — including the “framework agreement” with then-Alberta premier Alison Redford on Clark’s conditions for support — haven’t helped. But those looking for reasons to believe B.C. citizens’ opinions are being ignored need only look to Ottawa.

In February, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed complaints against the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), claiming they acted unconstitutionally in spying on and monitoring the peaceful, democratic activities of groups opposed to the project. Last week, the RCMP Commission for Public Complaints launched its own probe, bypassing the usual practice of asking the RCMP to look into the matter first. “It’s clear that the RCMP complaints commission is taking this spying complaint very seriously,” the BCCLA’s Josh Patterson said.

What’s not stated in the BCCLA press release is that if there was active spying by CSIS and the RCMP on anti-pipeline groups, it must have been directed from somewhere — and the pro-pipeline Harper government seems the most likely candidate.

If true, it would be only the latest example of a federal government bent on limiting the groups’ ability to influence public opinion through intimidation.

To our way of thinking, that would be a far more serious matter than a premier’s past ties to a firm that once lobbied for such a project.

— David Burke

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