Excerpts from Keeping Them Guessing, Premier Christy Clark's Private Pipeline Diary:
Summer 2011. The thing that's going to win it for us is jobs. Big, six-figure-salary jobs, where people get their hands dirty all over B.C. That's why I slapped the enviros around at the Canada West Foundation dinner.
"It is easy for people to be against things. Easy for people to say: 'You know, we should just cut down fewer trees in B.C. We should just have fewer mines. Maybe we shouldn't have all this oil and gas development ... maybe we shouldn't be disturbing the Earth.'
"It's pretty easy to say that when you don't understand the connections between that economic opportunity and your family. I see the premier's job very much as helping people make that connection."
I pretty much crushed it later at the Council of the Federation meeting, where I said trade with Asia is an incredible, generational opportunity. But we still have to tread lightly on the pipeline for a while yet.
That's why I added that bit about monitoring the approval process and waiting to see what conclusions they reach.
November 2011. I just got 60,000 emails from U.S. eco-freaks urging me to oppose the pipeline. Fat chance. I need a better spam filter.
January 2012. Boy, those First Nations leaders sure know how to pull a crowd. The pipeline hearings opened up and they were all over it with the drumming and the prayers. Makes me glad we took a powder on signing on as a full-patch government participant. Much better to lurk around the edges than get grilled on the witness stand. They take down everything you say!
What's with those polling numbers?
March 2012. Went to the "Conservative Family Reunion" in Ottawa. Pretty much had to tell them we support pipelines and have a "duty to Canada" to flow energy to Asia. They wouldn't let me into the after-party, otherwise. But I added we still need to see if benefits outweigh the risks on the Northern Gateway. That should hold them.
Preston Manning called me the "Iron Snowbird." I think he meant it nicely.
May 2012. Adrian Dix just came out 100 per cent against the pipeline! Our rope-a-dope strategy worked. Now he's exposed as job-hating greenie who opposes stuff before it's even been considered. While we sit, poised and inscrutable, doing the judicious monitoring thing. They wanted to talk pipeline at the western premiers' meeting in Alberta, but I blew it off, just to keep everyone on edge.
You'd think the polls would reflect our strategic vision.
July 2012. I decided to mix it up a little, so we released our five conditions for supporting the project.
It has to pass the review process, include the world's best spill responses (land and sea), First Nations have to be dealt with and B.C. has to get a fair share of the benefits.
Is that a "No way," or a "Yes, maybe," or a "We'll see"? Everybody's guessing.
I did a secret mission to Edmonton to brief Alison on it beforehand. "Incredibly frustrating," she said later. Perfect. Good to keep her off-balance.
Going to keep this ju-jitsu up while we watch the poll numbers bounce.
August 2012. Modesty precludes me from listing all my media hits, but let's just I'm trending higher than Lindsay Lohan did in rehab. Federal ministers are bouncing off the walls, Adrian admits he can't figure me out and Alison is gnashing her teeth. I walked out of a premiers' meeting again last week when they started up with that national energy policy stuff. When B.C. realizes how heroic my struggle on their behalf is, that's when we'll get some traction.
October 2012. Just got back from pranking Alison. Jeez, that girl has no sense of humour. When she realized I'd come all the way to Calgary with nothing new to say, she got a little frosty. I've waited longer in line for coffee than that session lasted. Too bad! The media play was worth it.
We intervened the heck out of Enbridge earlier at the panel hearing. Going to play the eco-warrior role for a while longer, while we wait to see more money on the table. This is good practice for the natural gas pipeline talks.
Overall, it's going beautifully. As Ali said: "Float like a bee, sting like a butterfly."
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