With two major oil sands pipeline projects being proposed for B.C., one environmental group wants British Columbians to have the chance to have their say. The Dogwood Initiative, based in Victoria, is in the process of launching a citizen’s initiative similar to the HST vote in 2011.
“We can introduce a bill that would deny the support of the B.C. government for any project that would result in an increase in crude oil tankers off our coast,” says Kai Nagata, who recently joined Dogwood Initiative in order to make the citizen’s initiative happen.
If the group is successful, it could push the government to deny the dozens of permits required to connect electricity or do other basic things that make pipelines happen. But a 2013 parliamentary report said that if a province “fashioned legislation… [that] was a disguised attempt to interfere with an interprovincial pipeline, the provincial law would not be valid.”
Nagata agrees that the federal government technically has a constitutional override switch for provincial laws in the form of the “power of disallowance” clause. But it hasn’t been used since 1943, and he says that invoking a wartime measure to big-foot the province would be a political disaster.
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