Opinion

Our take: Province would welcome a vote on the pipeline

Democracy fans used their right to fight for B.C.’s future during Saturday’s community climate-change event at Cowichan Station’s HUB.

Home-grown group One Cowichan enlisted residents to legally petition — in both local provincial ridings — to force a referendum on the Enbridge corporation’s proposed oil pipeline to Kitimat.

That petition process is based on the one B.C. folks successfully staged in 2011 to kill B.C.’s HST.

If that’s not democracy, we don’t know what is.

Now One Cowichan petitioners are ready to gain a required 10% of voters’ names, in the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo-North Cowichan ridings, in order to force the government into a vote on giving Enbridge its provincial permits.

Citizens took similar action before, but the group pushing this initiative believe the stakes are higher than retail taxes.

They think the pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands would likely break and pollute land and rivers long before reaching a supertanker port in Kitimat, where products would head to Asia.

A tanker rupture, under current scenarios, would ruin our coast. A thorough clean-up is impossible, as proven by Alaska’s Exxon release.

Those signing the petition want to legally sideline the pipeline before there is a catastrophe.

Now you may or may not agree with their position on the pipeline. But it is difficult to deny the fact that this issue is important enough to British Columbians to warrant a clear message on what the public wants.

A referendum would provide that message. It’s a mechanism governments don’t use often enough.

Good on One Cowichan for trying to make it happen.

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