THE level of participation in pipeline protests across the province this week suggest Alberta Premier Alison Redford will have a fight on her hands from British Columbians if she continues to suggest that the B.C. coastline belongs to Canada.
Redford told CBC's Peter Mansbridge this week, "A Canadian coast is a coast that should be available for all Canadians to make use of and to export their product."
That statement doubtless played better in Alberta than B.C., but by the same line of argument the tar sands north of Edmonton belong to Canada and all Canadians should share in the tax revenue from it. Perhaps Premier Christy Clark should try a similar argument in support of her pursuit of a "fair share" of the economic benefit from the Northern Gateway pipeline.
But in the minds of average British Columbians, tax revenue or economic benefit to Canada clearly does not justify the environmental risks posed by the proposed pipeline, its Enbridge counterpart and their oil tankers.
This week's protests drew 3,000 to the lawn of the provincial legislature and more than 200 to the sidewalk outside MLA Naomi Yamamoto's North Vancouver office. There were 200 in Whistler and 500 in Davis Bay near Sechelt. The province-wide reach of the 59 protests suggests this is a Mother Earth and Apple Pie issue that unites young and old. As such, the pipelines issue will play a part in the 2013 provincial election.
The NDP has already said 'No' to Northern Gateway. The Liberals will be hard pressed not to as well.