The federal government’s decision to let Enbridge build its Northern Gateway pipeline has put “some serious wind” in the sails of a Victoria-based group fighting to stop the project.
In the 48 hours after the June 17 announcement, the Dogwood Initiative, which says it’s B.C.’s largest non-partisan democracy group, picked up 48,000 new supporters, bringing the size of the network to more than 200,000 people – the greatest growth spurt in the history of the organization, said Kai Nagata, Dogwood’s energy and democracy director.
More than 1,600 additional people have also volunteered to organize in B.C. communities.
“People are passionate about the issue, but there is only so much they can do. This gives them a voice,” Nagata said.
Ottawa’s approval of the project, based on 209 conditions, will run from Bruderheim, Alta., just north of Edmonton, to Kitimat, B.C.
Nagata said the surge in membership will help with Dogwood’s organizing efforts throughout the province.
The Dogwood Initiative has several teams working in organizing a citizens’ initiative. The group hopes to have support in the province’s 74 ridings.
And while no formal plan is in the works for an initiative, Nagata said Dogwood wants to be prepared if such politicial action is needed. It hopes to achieve a 15 per cent threshold in each riding.
Along with the 209 conditions laid down by the federal government, Premier Christy Clark has insisted on five further conditions before getting B.C.’s approval.
“The biggest thing is B.C. deserves a say on what happens in this province,” Nagata said.
To keep the heat turned up in the anti-pipeline battle, the Dogwood Initiative will likely lobby politicians in the upcoming local and federal election.
“We caught a wave last month, but we were only able to do that because of years of steady, disciplined work.”