The B.C. New Democrats are calling on Premier Christy Clark to tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the province opposes the Enbridge pipeline and will do what it takes to stop the project.
In response to the Joint Review Panel today (December 19) recommending conditional approval of the Northern Gateway project, NDP Leader Adrian Dix noted British Columbians expressed "overwhelming opposition" to the plan to transport diluted bitumen from Alberta across B.C. and onto tankers bound for Asia.
“Time after time, Premier Clark and the Liberals have undermined their own ability to stand up for B.C.'s economy and environment. The Liberals gave away decision-making power to Ottawa in the first place and passed on every opportunity to take it back. They missed the deadline to provide evidence to the hearings," Dix said in a news release.
"Now, Premier Clark has very limited capacity to act, but act she must."
With the panel delivering its recommendation, the federal government has 180 days to make a final decision on the Enbridge project.
“The B.C. Liberals have put the economy and the environment of the coast at risk by signing over control of these projects to Ottawa,” NDP environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert said in the same release. “If they remain silent, they will simply prove that their five conditions were nothing but a ploy meant to shield them from bad press about an unpopular project in the lead up to an election.”
Adam Olsen, interim leader of the Green Party of B.C., called the panel's decision "deeply concerning".
"The vast majority of British Columbians have made it clear they are opposed to the pipeline. My question to the Christy Clark is: Will you stand up for BC like you promised during the election and stop this pipeline, or will you stand by while the Federal government impose[s] its will on our province?" Olsen said in a release.
Joe Oliver, Canada's natural resources minister, referred to the panel's report as a "rigorous, open and comprehensive science-based assessment".
"Now that we have received the report, we will thoroughly review it, consult with affected Aboriginal groups and then make our decision. We also encourage everyone with an interest to take the time and review the report," Oliver said in a statement.