Anti-pipeline advocates are lining up behind the NDP’s Carol Baird Ellan in Burnaby North-Seymour, leaving Green candidate Lynne Quarmby out in the cold in the city’s hotly contested riding.
Key activists Sven Biggs and Ben West are backing the New Democrats despite NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s non-committal stance for or against the pipeline, a defining issue for the riding. Meanwhile, Quarmby, who was arrested in anti-pipeline protests last fall and sued by oil giant Kinder Morgan, has staked much of her campaign opposing the pipeline expansion.
“I am disappointed and a bit perplexed. I am clearly the strongest anti-pipeline candidate in this riding - by a long shot,” Quarmby told the NOW. “(New Democrats) have candidates in Alberta saying, essentially, ‘Don't worry, the pipeline will go through,’ while candidates here say the opposite. One can only guess how Mulcair will instruct his MPs to vote when the time comes.”
Mulcair has stopped short of picking sides on the Kinder Morgan debate, instead criticizing the approval process, which is good enough for Biggs.
“A fair process that includes a climate test and really listens to the concerns of impacted communities like Burnaby is the first step to resolving Canada's pipeline debate,” Biggs said.
Biggs is volunteering on Baird Ellan’s Burnaby North-Seymour campaign on behalf of a group called Force of Nature Alliance, which is endorsing six candidates in the region. Biggs holds nothing against the Greens; he just doesn’t think Quarmby can win.
The party that forms cabinet will decide if the Kinder Morgan pipeline goes ahead, and the likelihood of that happening for the Greens is remote at best.
West, who sits on the Force of Nature board, said the Burnaby riding is particularly tricky but he’s backing Baird Ellan.
“(She) probably has the best chance of beating the Conservatives in that riding, but I got to say I find this election pretty stressful. I have a lot of love for Lynne, and as a former Green organizer, I definitely don’t take it lightly to overlook Green candidates,” he said, adding vote splitting is a concern.
Meanwhile, Baird Ellan is happy to receive support from the anti-pipeline crowd.
“The position of the NDP of the NDP is the Kinder Morgan application will not proceed,” she said. According to Baird Ellan, the NDP would quash cabinet’s power to ultimately decide that fate of pipelines, something the Conservative brought in, allowing them to override the National Energy Board’s recommendation. Baird Ellan said the NEB would have the final say on pipeline projects.