After the B.C. election there was some speculation that Adrian Dix's sudden thumbs-down to the Trans Mountain Pipeline after a year or so of fence-sitting cost him votes. I think that's wrong, but since the B.C. polls all turned out to crap, they can't tell us anything one way or another and we are therefore free to speculate as we please. My opinion, FWIW, is based on the behavior of the B.C. Liberal campaign, which toughened its own anti-pipeline rhetoric in the last week of the race with Christy Clark's "we don't need Alberta, we don't need Canada" speech. In other words, the BC Libs worked to narrow the distance between the Liberal and NDP positions, not increase it.
Nevertheless some people seem to feel that a softer line on Alberta pipelines has become the politically expedient move. Thankfully, Justin Trudeau is not among them:
The federal Liberal leader told the CBC’s Information Morning Fredericton on Thursday he has specific questions about potential toxins that may be used in the pipeline.
“I think it is a proposal that is extremely interesting. We are waiting to look at how they are going to deal with both the community, local, aboriginal concerns and the environmental concerns,” Trudeau said.
“The [substance] that they put to make that thick crude, thick bitumen run through those pipes can be very toxic. I want to see the plan for being environmentally responsible on it because it won’t go ahead if it will cost us on pollution, in degradation and in inefficiencies in the coming years.”
Now Trudeau is hardly going so far as to suggest that he will kill the proposal when he becomes PM (and its starting to look like he may). He might simply be commenting on the general lay of the political landscape. Moreover, I think the line nine reversal will ultimately fail due to market disinterest rather than political machinations. But its good to see that Justin is not simply abandoning the field to the pro-oil-patch forces on environmental issues. He's showing a little bit of sand on the topic, and that's a good thing.