Christy Clark, Northern Gateway | BCBusiness

Christy Clark, Northern Gateway | BCBusiness
B.C. Premier Christy Clark's aggressive demand for the province's "fair share" from Northern Gateway may have also scored her political points with voters.

It appears Premier Christy Clark’s tactic of standing up for B.C. in the Northern Gateway pipeline debate may be convincing British Columbians to at least give her a hearing in the race to the next provincial election. 

Canadians are certainly slagging B.C. and Premier Christy Clark these days. Good thing that most of them don’t live in B.C.

When Clark ministers issued their five conditions that must be met before B.C. would agree to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline’s crossing through B.C. to a port at Kitimat, many in Alberta were outraged. When Clark flatly said that if BC wasn’t given “its fair share” from the pipeline project, there would be “no pipeline,” they became positively apoplectic.

“Robbery,” they squealed in editorials and letters to the editor. “We’ll retaliate,” they threatened. “Sanctimonious hypocrites,” they fumed.

The federal government, which is about as close to Alberta as a federal government can get in Canada, wasn’t happy either, with a couple of cabinet pit bulls threatening and blustering all over the place.

But it seems by the end of the long weekend, they had calmed down considerably. I guess they figured out that fighting with B.C. isn’t going to get the oil to the coast and on to China to validate their vague “national energy policy.” Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently transferred the right of final approval of the $6-billion project to his government, was sounding somewhat conciliatory and saying that “science, not politics” would govern the final decision.  

While everyone was huffing and puffing in outrage, British Columbians seemed to have taken things in stride. All the name-calling, references to the Left Coast, accusations of holier-than-thou self-righteousness and general whining about B.C., haven’t spurred the locals to join the game.

Mostly, they’re taking a wait-and-see attitude. An Angus Reid poll projected that 51 per cent of B.C. residents are sitting on the fence and will decide for or against “depending on specific considerations.”

When half the population says it’s willing to listen to all sides before making a decision, it’s hard to claim that the province is seething with environmental nutcases, highway robbers and anti-business zealots.

Instead, they just sound reasonable. They may agree with Clark’s five conditions or not, but they’re willing to listen.

And in the process, they may also be willing to swing to Clark in the upcoming election. NDP leader Adrian Dix has voiced his party’s absolute opposition to the pipeline, and so doesn’t fit the equation right now.

It appears that Clark’s pipeline politicking has worked and moved the populace to at least give her a hearing, which certainly wasn’t the case a month ago when the election result appeared to be was all but sewn up by the NDP.

Now it’s up to her to deliver what that population wants to hear.