Stephen Harper said yesterday that there would be an independent review of the proposed Northern Gateway Project:
“The only way that governments can handle controversial projects of this manner is to ensure that things are evaluated on an independent basis scientifically, and not simply on political criteria,” Harper told reporters at a news conference in Vancouver.
He also added that he was going to stay out of the dispute which that project has caused between Alberta and British Columbia:
“I’m not going to get into an argument or a discussion about how we divide hypothetical revenues.”
As is typical with Mr. Harper, he stirs the pot then leaves the scene. And, as always, when you parse what he says, you have to set his words alongside his actions. Under the recently passed budget bill, the cabinet -- not the National Energy Board -- will decide the fate of Northern Gateway. The pipeline's future is in the hands of Canada's most powerful politicians.
It's worth remembering what Jack Layton said about Stephen Harper: "For me it's a question of trust. I do not believe you can trust Mr. Harper with his word." Layton could work with Mr. Harper. But he had no illusions about the prime minister.
When Harper claims that science will determine the fate of Northern Gateway, Canadians should remember Layton's warning.