Trudeau’s approval of Kinder Morgan will carry heavy political consequences

VANCOUVER – Organizers with Dogwood Initiative are busy preparing canvass events in thirteen ridings across the province for this Saturday as British Columbians gear up to launch a citizens’ initiative to block bitumen transport to the West Coast.

As acknowledged by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould during her election campaign — and many other legal observers — federal approval today does not mean the Kinder Morgan project will be built. First Nations will challenge the approval in court, while British Columbia retains jurisdiction over dozens of permits required for construction.

“As a constituent of Minister Wilson-Raybould and as a young voter, I feel betrayed by this decision,” said Dogwood campaigner Sophie Harrison. “Liberal caucus members across the country should be asking how they reconcile this approval with the promises they made to get elected. If our MPs are serious about standing up for their constituents and our values, they should consider resigning over this.”

“In the courtroom or at the ballot box, First Nations and British Columbians will stop this Texas tanker project peacefully and democratically — just like we stopped Enbridge,” said Dogwood communications director Kai Nagata. “Prime Minister Harper learned the hard way what happens when you try to ram a pipeline through to the coast without consent.”

Under the province’s unique direct democracy laws, any B.C. citizen may write a bill — like a private member’s bill — then join with volunteers to gather signatures from fellow citizens in support. In the case of the Harmonized Sales Tax initiative, this forced a referendum that defeated the HST and led to the resignation of Premier Gordon Campbell.

Dogwood is currently writing legislation and has 541 active organizers ready to train thousands of canvassers for a petition push in the new year.

“The focus now turns to Premier Christy Clark,” said Harrison. “Will she stand up for B.C. or cut a deal with Ottawa, forcing voters to take back control over this democratic decision?”

A recent poll commissioned by Dogwood and conducted by Insights West found British Columbians remain opposed to increased oil tanker traffic by a factor of two to one. In his election campaign, Prime Minister Trudeau promised that “governments can grant permits, but only communities can give permission.”

The Insights West poll found 31 per cent of respondents who voted Liberal in 2015 said they would be less likely to support the party again if the Kinder Morgan project were approved.


About Dogwood:

Dogwood Initiative is B.C.’s largest citizen group, uniting more than 260,000 supporters in the province against oil tanker expansion on the West Coast.


Sophie Harrison
Campaign Coordinator (Vancouver)

Kai Nagata
Communications Director (Vancouver)

Charles Campbell
Provincial Organizer (Victoria)