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BC NDP retreats from opposing Kinder Morgan

Bradley Hughes

May 24, 2018

The BC NDP seems determined to unravel their opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline bit by bit. At a media conference on May 22, BC’s Attorney General David Eby told reporters that his government is not delaying the Kinder Morgan pipeline project. “There has been a mischaracterization of B.C.’s role here . . . We are seeking to ensure that we have adequate environmental protection to prevent a spill in the event there is an expansion in the shipment of heavy oil, and also if there is a spill, to clean it up,” he said. “It is not to stop the pipeline.”

This follows a steady climb down of the BC NDP’s opposition to this pipeline project.

As soon as he took office last July, premier-elect John Horgan explained that his government would “immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

However, in his mandate letter to the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, Premier Horgan was much milder. He asked the minister to “Employ every tool available to defend B.C.'s interests in the face of the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

Then the first announcement from this new government about Kinder Morgan was a defense of the things they had decided not to do. Barely a week after taking office, the new Environment minister announced that the province would not use the permitting process to hold up construction of the pipeline. Instead he said that they would evaluate provincial permit applications for the project “in an appropriate and fair manner.” This is because, “There’s no point trying to exercise authority that we don’t have [in refusing to issue permits] because that is capricious, exceeding our jurisdiction and, ultimately, that won’t be effective.”

They have since joined in court cases both for and against the pipeline project.

The NDP at its best is ever only a pale shadow of the movements for social justice. The real opposition to Kinder Morgan has always been the Indigenous land defenders and the tens of thousands that have rallied, petitioned, and picketed against this project. Building this opposition can sink this project once and for all.

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