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Five reasons Stephen Harper and Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline are the worst

Image: Flickr/Mark Klotz

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Stephen Harper just approved Enbridge's Northern Gateway $7.9-billion pipeline project that would transport raw bitumen from Alberta's tar sands to Kitimat, B.C. where oil supertankers will ship it to Asia through the precarious archipelago off Canada's west coast. The project has met unprecedented opposition from First Nations, scientists, environmental groups across the country and British Columbians in general. And our Prime Minister approved it anyway. That's just the worst.

Here's five reasons both of them were the worst already:


1. They both leak toxic shit all over the place.

Ugh. Prime Minister Harper is well known for his mots justes, like when he said "Canada has no history of colonialism" or that, as far as he knows, Canadians don't care about Afghan detainees or widespread Senate corruption. But that's (relatively) nothing compared to the real, poisonous chemicals Northern Gateway is guaranteed literally to leak somewhere along its route from the Alberta tar sands to B.C.'s coastal waters -- and that's only if one of the supertankers carrying the bitumen overseas doesn't topple over first.

2. British Columbia hates both of them

Ok, so B.C. might have elected 22 Conservative federal MPs last election, but they definitely hate pipelines. Both the B.C. Liberals and the B.C. NDP were forced to change their tune on pipeline projects with Christy Clark famously conceding that she would require five conditions (however eyerolling they might be) to approve Northern Gateway. And with these 22 MPs specifically targeted by environmental activists, if they appear to be supportive of the enormously unpopular project, their jobs could be on the line.

3. They are past their best before date.

Can we agree that nine years is too much Stephen Harper? Even the PM seems to think so -- by all accounts he is becoming increasingly insular, self-absorbed and unable to listen to advice or criticism, even from trusted colleagues. Disgraced former aide, Tom Flanagan wrote in his recent book that Harper "can be suspicious, secretive, and vindictive, prone to sudden eruptions of white-hot rage over meaningless trivia, at other times falling into week-long depressions in which he is incapable of making decisions." Keep your friends close, eh Stephen?

As for Northern Gateway, everyone agrees that it is a terrible idea done terribly. From the spurious "consultations" (sic) with First Nations (that Jim Prentice assured everyone were going swimmingly when they, er, weren't) to the rejection of 300 scientists telling Harper he got the environmental impact assessment dead wrong (duh), Northern Gateway has been a disaster at every level -- the only disaster missing is the imminent environmental one sure to happen once the pipeline is actually built (luckily, that's not going to happen).

4. They don't look good in sweater vests and kittens are generally afraid of them.

This is a no-brainer: 



Nobody needs to see that. 


5. We don't need elections to stop them.

It's no surprise that Stephen Harper doesn't pay any attention to what people actually want. The objections to Northern Gateway have been loud and clear -- but that's never stopped Harper's Conservatives before: the (Un)Fair Elections Act, Senate scandals, sex work laws, shabby treatment of veterans -- this government just don't give an eff.

But elections aren't how we will stop Stephen Harper or his pipelines (although they don't hurt). We stop people like Harper like we always have: through our collective voices and feet on the ground. Here are five strategies to stop the pipeline with or without Ottawa's approval.


Image: Flickr/Mark Klotz

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