With the National Energy Board set to release its recommendation report on the TransMountain pipeline this afternoon, opposition groups are gearing up to fight… and it could take the shape of an HST-like referendum.
The proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline still needs to clear the NEB, along with a federal review panel next fall before the ball lands in the B.C. Government’s court.
But Kai Nagata says the Dogwood Initiative is mobilizing any way, and are recruiting volunteers for a potential Citizens Initiative like the one that took down the HST.
“We would have the option of launching a petition in support of a law drafted citizens that covers an area of provincial jurisdiction.”
“The initiative is a unique law in B.C. that allows any citizen to write a bill, and in this case we could say ‘Here in BC we don’t want diluted bitumen to be crossing our salmon streams.'”
Before the project could break ground, the province would need to issue about 60 permits and an environmental certificate, making it potentially vulnerable to a made-in-BC law.
WATCH: Dogwood initiative video outlines referendum strategy
Nagata says the province has been clear about its five conditions for pipeline approval, making it risky for officials to move ahead should the public not perceive those goal-posts had been met.
“The HST set a precedent, I think the transit referendum set another precedent. Sometimes on an issue this big, the smartest political move is to just hand it back to the people for a decision. We have to live with these projects for decades to come, politicians are only in office for a few years.”
Nagata says the group is recruiting volunteers now, but won’t pull the trigger unless the B.C. government issues permits to the project. The earliest that situation could come to pass appears to be in the opening months of next year.
Before that it will need a green light from the NEB, and to win the approval of a three-member panel announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – set to make its report in November.
In order for a citizens initiative to trigger a referendum, supporters would need signatures from 10 % in voters in all of B.C.’s ridings.