Dogwood Initiative raises prospect of using B.C.'s Recall and Initiative Act to stop Kinder Morgan pipeline

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      The latest fundraising letter from an environmental group has suggested that a referendum could be used against a controversial pipeline project.

      The Dogwood Initiative's Don Gordon declared that there "are many lines of defence and major obstacles Kinder Morgan must face".

      "One of the most immediate is the 2017 B.C. provincial election in which we can elect MLAs who oppose oil tankers and pipelines, and a government that will defy Ottawa," he wrote. 

      In addition, Gordon stated that Dogwood-backed teams are preparing a citizens' initiative, which is possible under B.C.'s Recall and Initiative Act. On its website, the environmental group says it's already drafting legislation.

      "Recent results have demonstrated we can’t just count on political parties to do what’s right, and we are fortunate in B.C. to have a democratic insurance policy in the form of a citizens’ initiative," Gordon wrote. "If the current or future B.C. government caves into Big Oil then Dogwood and allies will use this unique law to legislate against Kinder Morgan."

      The first step is collecting signatures from 10 percent of registered voters in all 87 B.C. constituencies before the chief electoral officer will even approve a referendum.

      Under the act, the chief electoral officer must declare an initiative vote to be successful if more than 50 percent of registered B.C. voters support the measure in a referendum and if more than 50 percent of the voters in two-thirds of B.C. constituencies vote in favour.

      Once that happens, the government must introduce the initiative as a bill at the "earliest practicable opportunity".

      There's no requirement for the legislature to pass the bill into law.

      "This is the power that is going to stop Kinder Morgan," Gordon claimed in the fundraising letter. "This power is yours—only communities grant consent."

      The chief electoral officer has allowed nine initiative-petition applications since the legislation took effect in the 1990s.

      Only one of them, which concerned the harmonized sales tax, was approved by enough voters.

      It led to the abolition of the HST after it had been proclaimed into law.