A B.C. activist group is hoping to throw a wrench into the planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline by staging an HST-style referendum.
Organizers with Dogwood Initiative are now gearing up to gather the tens of thousands of signatures needed to kick off a citizen’s initiative.
B.C.’s unique Recall and Initiative Act allows any citizen to propose a new law.
But the bar to get the question tabled is high: 10% of registered voters in each of B.C.’s 85 ridings must sign a petition in support.
It’s tough, but not impossible.
In 2011, angry voters mobilized to force a referendum on the Harmonized Sales Tax, after the governing Liberals imposed it just weeks after an election.
Dogwood spokesperson Sophie Harrison says volunteers will start canvassing for supporters this weekend.
“This is a unique democratic insurance policy we have in B.C. where if we get 10% of voters in every provincial riding, we can craft our own piece of legislation and maybe even have a referendum on it that can stop oil tanker expansion on our coast,” she said.
Campaigners only have 90 days to collect the requisite signatures, and Harrison acknowledges getting the support of enough voters could be tough.
“It is a massive effort but we also know that now that this Kinder Morgan project has been approved, we know there will be a lot of people ready to mobilize.”
The pipeline was given the green light, with conditions, by the National Energy Board in May and got approval from Cabinet yesterday.
However, 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-B.C. law.
Premier Christy Clark has previously laid out five conditions which must be met to get provincial approval, and said today just two still stand in the way.
With files from Niamh Anderson