Good news over the weekend. The citizens of Kitimat B.C. had their say on the Northern Gateway pipeline, and they said NO.
In a referendum on Saturday, they voted 1,793 to 1,278 to oppose running the pipeline to their town, the proposed terminus. Mayor Joanne Monaghan promised to discuss the result at tonight's Council meeting and deciding where to go from there. "The people have spoken," she said, "it’s a democratic process.” Kitimat is key to the pipeline as it would house the marine terminal where supertankers would load before sailing down the narrow Douglas Channel to take the dilbit (diluted bitumen) to markets in Asia.
Opponents had to overcome a major effort by Enbridge, the company sponsoring the pipeline, to promote the project with a barrage of advertising and open houses. Its promises of jobs and money flowing into the town were no doubt hard to resist for many. Residents of the local Haisla First Nation have also shown a lot of resistance to the pipeline, however they were ineligible to vote in the referendum.
I suspect the primary concern of Kitimat's people was the chilling thought of supertankers full of dilbit floating off their pristine shores. But the vote also serves as another strike against tar sands production. Anything that helps to put the brakes on Canada's great folly is welcome.
The referendum result is not binding, but it is mighty encouraging.