Could an HST-style initiative stop the Enbridge pipeline?

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      What happens if Stephen Harper's Conservative government approves Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline project?

      For one thing, First Nations are promising to tie the project up in the courts. And environmental activists are warning of a new "war in the woods", complete with direct action.

      The Dogwood Initiative, a Victoria-based environmental organization, has another idea. In the wake of the Joint Review Panel today (December 19) recommending conditional approval of Northern Gateway, the group is soliciting support for a citizen's initiative to stop construction of the pipeline in B.C. You know, Fight HST-style.

      Here's what Dogwood has in mind:

      Our plan is simple and unlike other initiative campaigns, we are proposing a two-step process. First, get so big that successfully launching a citizen’s initiative is nearly guaranteed. That requires registering more than 8,000 volunteers to knock on doors and collect pledges in all 85 B.C. ridings. 

      Together, we would only move on to the second step if Prime Minister Harper’s cabinet approves Enbridge’s proposal and Premier Clark betrays her promise to British Columbians by signing the necessary provincial permits.

      Dogwood is hoping 8,400 people will pledge online to sign up their friends, family, and neighbours in support of the initiative.




      Dec 20, 2013 at 8:27am

      Dogwood might be onto something. Clark postures as a populist, but in reality her goal is to remain in power. Ignoring a large response to the initiative campaign would be a very risky move.

      Some suggestions for Dogwood:

      - Focus on the two key risks (pipeline rupture and tanker spill) and avoid the obvious trap of debating climate change. This should be a "BC First" initiative - what does it mean for BC, and BC only?

      - Similarly, focus on the perceived benefits for BC and only BC. 500 permanent jobs and a tiny amount of revenue will resonate; gains for the federal and Alberta treasuries are irrelevant. BC First!

      - Find a highly credible spokesperson. Not a radical environmentalist or someone with strong ties to a political party, but someone widely seen as an outspoken, largely independent truth-teller. Rafe Mair, anyone?

      - Slice and dice the audience. One approach won't work. Dogwood needs targeted messages for each segment ... because seniors, blue collar workers, young people with children, etc. will hear what they want to hear. Not what you expect them to hear.

      Celine T

      Dec 20, 2013 at 3:06pm


      Celine from Dogwood here - You’re right on the money!
      I hope that people like you will step up and take leadership on this idea. If you sign the pledge we’ll be in touch in the new year to talk strategy / action plan and look through the math (what we're going to need to pull this off in your specific riding). We’re excited to help set this in motion and will be supporting every step of the way but ultimately this initiative belongs to British Columbians and it will be British Columbians who set the agenda. Get in touch with me if you’re interested in doing more!