Time for an Enbridge referendum?
LET’S GET a couple of things straight here.
Terrace city council’s vote regarding Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project was not, as some would suggest, a courageous stand against dark corporate forces.
Rather it was an endorsement of two motions of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) passed 18 months ago already – one opposing oil-carrying pipelines and the other tanker traffic on the north coast.
Endorsing two motions now 18-months-old (both introduced by the Village of Queen Charlotte) isn’t exactly a call to the barricades. In fact, as a member of the UBCM, Terrace had already – along with every other local government in B.C. – expressed its opposition thanks to the passage of those motions.
Comments by city councillors further muddied the situation. James Cordeiro and Marylin Davies, spoke of risk versus benefit. Was their vote then based on the potential of environmental harm, as is the case with the majority of those opposed to the project or, as free enterprisers, did they feel there was simply not enough oil money flowing to Terrace?
In any event, there remains the question of whether council’s vote actually represents the majority of its citizens. As well-organized and articulate as the opposition to Enbridge might be, that’s no guarantee of majority opposition. A referendum may be the only method of determining public acceptance or rejection.