Andrew Coyne, in this morning's National Post, accuses B.C. premier Christy Clark of engaging in political extortion:
Clark’s real weapon is political: the opposition of much of the B.C. public to the project, and the price the federal Tories would likely pay at the polls were they seen to be overriding the government of B.C. on the matter — her own, or her likely NDP successor’s. The list of demands she has suddenly produced, far behind in the polls with less than a year to go before the provincial election, are an obvious attempt to inoculate herself on the Gateway issue, without actually coming out against it.
While it's true that Clark's demands look like a desperate attempt to stave off political defeat, the real question is: What say do British Columbians have in the natter? Given the Harper government's approach to federal-provincial relations, the answer would appear to be none. So what are they to do in the face of Harper's indifference? Precisely what Clark is doing.
At the end of his column, Coyne calls for an end to political games. China's proposed purchase of Nexan Energy and the Northern Gateway pipeline should both be subject to transparency, he writes. But Coyne is whistling into the wind. This, after all, is the Harper government -- which was found in contempt of parliament for its lack of transparency.
Clark's gamut is an understandable response to the way Harper has played his cards. She's calling his bluff. It will be up to Clark's successors -- and Canada's native peoples -- to shut the pipeline down.