Flip-flop on pipeline was fatal

Many voters feared NDP was ready to ditch job-creating projects to appease a few eco-warriors.

Taking a closer look at the election results across the province, there are a number of interesting things that stand out.

One is that the Green vote hurt the NDP quite badly, particularly in the suburban areas of the Lower Mainland. In some cases, the Green vote turned safe NDP seats into Liberal ones. A classic example is Coquitlam-Maillardville.

A second is that the NDP basically wrote off many of their own supporters, when Adrian Dix decided to jettison the Kinder Morgan pipeline midway through the campaign. Prior to that, he had said he wouldn’t take a position on it, as no application had been made.

Then he changed his answer to a flat “no,” saying Vancouver shouldn’t be an oil shipping port. While this made many of his supporters happy, it did nothing to siphon votes from the Greens, and it most definitely sent some NDP voters over to the Liberals.

Peter Fassbender, who won in Surrey-Fleetwood, told me of one union member he met at the door who was hostile to the Liberals. As they talked about resources and construction jobs, his demeanour changed. After 15 minutes, he told Fassbender he had his vote. Considering he only won the seat by 265 votes, that was a worthwhile conversation.

Dix’s stance on a pipeline project that hasn’t even been formally submitted for environmental review hurt the NDP in almost every region of the province, outside Vancouver proper and southern Vancouver Island. And in the latter region, many of those who oppose pipelines preferred the Green option anyway.

Personally, I never want to see an oil spill in Vancouver harbour or anywhere on the west coast of North America. But what Dix and Green Party leader Jane Sterk didn’t say in the campaign (although an award-winning Black Press series we published in early 2012 did) is that oil tankers ply Vancouver harbour regularly; all tankers are double-hulled to keep spills contained within the ship; and all are accompanied by two tugs until the ship is in the open ocean at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

In addition, if environmentalists who conveniently ignore such facts can stop the shipment of oil, what is to stop them from choosing to pick on other commodities shipped out of B.C. ports — such as logs, potash, coal or sulphur?

Are we going to wipe out thousands of good-paying jobs in a province which is based on resources to keep a few eco-warriors, some of whom are funded by large U.S. foundations, happy?

The BC Liberals understood where Dix’s flip-flop was leading, and Premier Christy Clark pounded relentlessly on the jobs, economy and resources themes. It resonated with a lot of voters.

I’m pleased that Andrew Weaver was elected as the first Green MLA in B.C. The Green voice needs to be heard in the B.C. legislature. I’m also pleased that B.C. is open for business and that families, who need good-paying jobs, aren’t being held hostage by wealthy Americans. They, through organizations like Tides Canada, are funding B.C. organizations who would be quite happy to wipe out thousands of those jobs.

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