BURNABY – Organizers with B.C. citizen group Dogwood Initiative are continuing with preparations for an eventual referendum on oil tankers despite the appointment of a new advisory panel to study Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion proposal.

“We welcome the government’s decision to hear from residents along the pipeline and oil tanker route, and we encourage our supporters to participate in good faith,” said Kai Nagata, Communications Director for Dogwood. “However, we still needĀ a democratic insurance policy in case Ottawa tries to move ahead without consent.”

The appointment of the three-member advisory panel, which has no legal authority, comes days ahead of the anticipated approval of Kinder Morgan’s proposal by the National Energy Board. “We’re all expecting a ‘yes’ from the NEB, and clearly this announcement is meant to soften the blow,” said Nagata.

Justin Trudeau told Nagata during the federal election that the NEB would not approve Kinder Morgan. “Because we’re going to change the government,” said the Liberal leader in August 2015, “and that process needs to be redone.” Since then the NEB has continued its assessment unchanged.

Notably, the NEB refused to consider a report from the National Academy of Sciences that found diluted bitumen sinks in water. The federal process has also failed to consider the effects of burning the heavy crude blend which would account for 90 per cent of the project’s global climate impact.

“Ultimately, this is not a scientific decision. It’s a political decision,” said Nagata. “If politicians decide to throw B.C. under the bus, we’ll be ready to put this to a democratic vote.”

Two in three British Columbians continue to oppose the expansion of oil tanker traffic on the coast. If the project gets the go-ahead from federal and provincial decision makers, votersĀ have the option of launching a citizens’ initiative under British Columbia’s Recall and Initiative Act.

Like the HST referendum in 2011, a successful petition drive could trigger a province-wide vote, allowing British Columbians a democratic say over oil tanker projects on the coast.

For more information:

Kai Nagata, Communications Director, Dogwood Initiative

kai@dogwoodbc.ca, c. 778-829-6493


Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, today released the names of the three panellists responsible for undertaking the public consultation on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Members include former Tsawwassen First Nation Chief, Kim Baird; University of Winnipeg President and former senior Alberta government official, Annette Trimbee; and First Nations treaty negotiator, Tony Penikett.

A video of Justin Trudeau’s comments during last year’s election campaign can be viewed here.

Dogwood Initiative is B.C.’s largest citizen group, with more than 246,000 contactable supporters in the province. Dogwood first announced the “Let B.C. Vote” campaign in response to the federal government’s approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil tanker project in 2014.