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October 2, 2012

The thing is ... trust matters

On Tuesday October 2nd, the day after her meeting with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Premier Clark was interviewed by the CBC's Early Edition Rick Cluff who asked her: "What about saying no pipeline project outright?" Clark responded by saying there already is a lot of oil going up and down BC's coast, ignoring the issue of the oil tanker exclusion zone that has been in effect since 1988. The exclusion zone was established following the study of currents and drift patterns. If the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline were to be built, oil would be shipped in tankers through the Douglas Channel and Hecate Strait, violating the exclusion zone and endangering BC's coast.

Between her doin', workin', fightin' and makin' she said: It's up to them to figure it out; meanin' it is up to others to figure out what she is sayin'. Should Alberta say how BC can be adequately compensated for the pipeline risks? Clark set out five points, suggesting recently that they are in priority order, but she won’t say what a fair share means nor will she simply say no to the pipeline. She left open the possibility that there is a price for which she would put BC's environment at risk; she just won't name that price. She reminds me of some negotiators who in answer to what do you want, say more - just keep increasing the offer until we say enough. The world doesn't work that way. Clark is not enhancing her reputation by behaving that way, or by treating other premiers as props in her election campaign.

Vancouver Province columnist Michael Smyth wrote: "With the pipeline so unpopular in B.C. right now, it seems Christy was determined to pick a fight, and hope that earns her points with B.C. voters." An alternative view is the BC Liberals ranking in the opinion polls is inversely related to the amount of media exposure Clark receives. It will be interesting to see what impact Clark's Alberta media blitz has on the opinion polls. No one should think her visit was for any purpose other than talking to British Columbians from Alberta.