There are already five legal challenges that will kick into gear now that the pipeline is approved. Three of the challenge were filed by First Nations groups in British Columbia — the Haisla, the Gitga’at, and the Gitxaala. Emissaries of those groups have made it clear that, even if the pipeline was approved, Enbridge can expect some trouble. “I really discourage civil disobedience and violence, but I don’t know how long my members will honor my request to be civil,” Ellis Ross, chief councillor of the Haisla, told the Globe and Mail.
Meanwhile, Enbridge has been trying to win over British Columbia, donating $225,000 to the shop departments of high schools along the pipeline, and training kids to be deckhands and water taxi pilots, thus preparing them for the 3,000 construction jobs and 560 long-term jobs that Enbridge says the pipeline will bring. Whatever the effects, the job training is not winning a majority. Recently Kitimat, city that has the most to gain from Northern Gateway with regard to long-term jobs, held a plebiscite; 58 percent of residents voted against the project. According to Enbridge, 60 percent of the First Nations along the pipeline route have signed agreements with the company, but they’ve also — according to Enbridge — asked the company to keep their names a secret.
British Columbians are also organizing a referendum that would allow the province itself to weigh in on the pipeline, a tool that the province has used, successfully, to block other unpopular national policies. Earlier this month, a Bloomberg-Nanos poll found that only 29 percent of British Columbia’s residents were in favor of Harper approving the pipeline; 33 percent of respondents wanted the project delayed, and 34 percent wanted it rejected entirely. Overall, respondents said that they were more worried about oil spills (36 percent) than they were excited about the prospect of jobs (25 percent).