When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal cabinet announced it was not going to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific Ocean through Kitimat on Nov. 29, the silence from British Columbia Premier Christy Clark’s office was deafening.
It virtually killed Premier Clark’s election promise to lead British Columbians to the promised land of debt freedom and prosperity.
Through Clark’s promise and hype, the B.C. Liberals were counting on the billions of dollars that would come from the flow of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the West Coast, which would them be shipped to Asian markets.
Many will remember Clark’s Jobs Bus Tour across the province in the final stages of the 2013 provincial election campaign.
Many will remember the promise of thousands of jobs for people who had lost good-paying resource-extraction jobs.
She was going to get British Columbians back to work again.
Premier Clark also floated her amazing Prosperity Fund that would serve future generations to ensure they could build infrastructure projects and afford better health and education without having to go into debt to get that work done.
This flow of LNG to the Orient was going to help British Columbia taxpayers get out from under the burden of paying for debt that was growing exponentially.
Many experts warned the provincial government about putting all of its eggs into the LNG basket.
They said B.C. was getting in too late and there was a glut of LNG on the world market.
The B.C. Liberals shrugged these suggestions off and bolted full bore into the provincial LNG plan.
Recently, potential backers were taking a hands-off approach the proposed B.C. LNG projects for a number of reasons.
Premier Clark was forced to back away and start looking for economic diversity.
Without a doubt, Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement was a huge blow to the B.C. Liberals hope to resurrect the LNG plan.
Trudeau’s reasons for throwing up the red light was his apparent concern for the Great Bear Rainforest and the Douglas Channel if a pipeline was going to be built through the old-growth forest and tankers were going to be allowed to make their way through the treacherous waters of the West Coast.
Spill were the biggest threat of that passage and the was where the biggest opposition came from.
Probably a bigger concern for the Prime Minister was the vocal and widespread opposition to the project from the Aboriginal Peoples in the northwest of the province.
With that project virtually doomed, Premier Clark has to find another source of resource-extraction funding.
The fight will be to get some significant funding from the twin piping of the Trans Mountain pipeline to the Vancouver Harbour.
That, too, will be difficult.