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Did The Conservatives Just Bet The Next Election And Handed It To Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau On A Silver Platter?

“The Conservatives have rubber stamped a flawed decision that is deeply concerning,” said Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. “Canada needs pipelines to move our energy resources to domestic and global markets. However, these projects must earn the trust of local communities, and cannot ignore the implications for coastal economies. Mr. Harper has entirely failed to address these concerns on all fronts.”

OTTAWA – The Justin Trudeau-led federal Liberals strongly criticized the Conservatives’ decision to approve the Northern Gateway Project in British Columbia, citing concerns for the coastal economy and environment, local communities, and First Nations.

“The Northern Gateway pipeline places an unacceptable level of risk on British Columbia’s coastal economy and environment. From fishing to tourism, those individuals whose jobs and livelihoods depend on the Pacific Ocean have not been assured that a catastrophic spill can be prevented,” said Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau. “The review process has failed to consult with local communities and Aboriginal Peoples, and Canadians have not been reassured that the local economy will be protected.”

Did the Conservatives just bet the next election and handed it to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau on a silver platter?

The decision to green light the Enbridge pipeline will not go down easy in BC and may affect next year’s federal election outcome, at least in BC. But with rest of Canada, especially Ontario, giving up on the Conservatives (see PC’s recent Ontario election debacle), Harper’s gonna need his friends out west to get him back to Ottawa even it is another minority government but this could very well be flares that ignite the fire out west!

Liberals said Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government have spent years trying to ram through the Northern Gateway Project at any cost, while demonizing Canadians who are concerned for the coastal economy and environmental protections.

Liberals have been consistent in calling for stronger protections and pushing for a more substantive government consultation process.

“The Conservatives today have rubber stamped a flawed decision that is deeply concerning,” said Trudeau. “Canada needs pipelines to move our energy resources to domestic and global markets. However, these projects must earn the trust of local communities, and cannot ignore the implications for coastal economies. Mr. Harper has entirely failed to address these concerns on all fronts.”

Other political voices of discontent with the Conservatives’ decision to move ahead with the controversial pipeline included the BC NDP, which said “Enbridge pipeline an enormous risk for little benefit”, adding that the federal decision to green-light the Enbridge pipeline puts B.C. jobs and B.C.’s natural beauty at enormous risk for little benefit.

“This is a bad day for British Columbians who believe, as I do, that B.C. needs to create more new jobs through resource development that benefits our communities and protects our land, air and water,” said New Democrat leader John Horgan. “We have consistently opposed this plan to transport Alberta bitumen to tankers on B.C.’s north coast because the risks to our environment, communities and economy are too great.”

New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert said British Columbians expect a clear “no” on the project; but instead Premier Clark is barely hiding her government’s support for the project, including when she gave sole project approval away to the federal government

Monday, Clark said the project has not yet met her government’s conditions. But last week her finance minister said Enbridge faces “some hurdles… but I think they can be overcome.” Key Clark advisor Stockwell Day also signed an open letter calling for approval.

“Premier Clark tied B.C.’s hands instead of insisting on shared control of the environmental review,” said Chandra Herbert. “She robbed British Columbians of a direct say on this project, opting instead to try to camouflage her government’s support, with her five conditions.”

Horgan added that the drawbacks of the Enbridge project stand in stark contrast to the made-in-B.C. opportunity of liquefied natural gas development.

“If managed properly, with protection of our land, air and water, LNG exports will create good new jobs in B.C., respect and include First Nations and benefit B.C. communities,” said Horgan. “But, even for a government fixated on LNG to the detriment of all other economic sectors, the B.C. Liberals are putting the LNG opportunity at risk.

“The premier is jeopardizing key partnerships with First Nations and her proposed tax framework will be a year late. Her government is not working effectively to gain social license for LNG exports, having refused to conduct a scientific review of fracking, lead an honest public discussion about her government’s greenhouse gas targets, or take action to mitigate risks to our land, air and water.

“The B.C. Liberals’ failures on Enbridge and LNG are hurting investor, First Nations and public confidence in the economy and harming B.C.’s ability to create more jobs through resource development,” said Horgan.

Surrey NDP MP Jinny Sims said her party will continue to fight for British Columbia and protect the province’s communities and waterways.

“This decision sets a dangerous precedent for resource development in British Columbia,” said Sims (Newton-North Delta).  “Conservatives have basically sent a message to Canadians that they aren’t interested in public opinions on the matter.”

The NDP argues that allowing supertankers into the Douglas Channel would result in chaos, and that a potential oil spill would be catastrophic for the economy of the entire region.  As a result the Party has confirmed that in 2015, an NDP government would set aside approval for the project.

“This decision tramples all over environmental concerns, the province’s economic health, and the will of the people,” said Sims.  “This decision is wrong for BC and for Canada.”

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