Cullen: Social license a must

MP Nathan Cullen said Enbridge and other resource development companies must obtain social license from communities they impact.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen had much to say during his bi-weekly teleconference with media, including Enbridge and pipelines in general and the need for social licenses.

Over the last several months, Cullen has travelled northern B.C. as part of the Renewal Northwest tour, listening to what constituents had to say on a variety of topics.

A common topic at the various town halls was the need for resource companies to obtain social license from the communities they work in, Cullen said.

“What kind of values do we want companies to approach us with and how to appeal [to communities],” Cullen said was a hot topic throughout the northwest of the province.

Obtaining a social license, Cullen said, would provide certainty for investors and job creators, as well as defend the interests of the communities.

Cullen said he was happy to hear B.C. Premier Christy Clark affirm Enbridge has yet to meet the five conditions the Liberal government established for Enbridge before their proposed Northern Gateway pipeline received the go ahead.

Industry, Cullen said, has also shown an interest in his Renewal Northwest tour.

“They are desperate to understand how to work with us and whether or not their project fits before they go and spend a lot of money trying to develop it if it fundamentally doesn’t fit the value-set of the region,” Cullen said.

“It [Renewal Northwest] takes us away from this black and white brutal idea that all things are good or all things are bad, that’s not the real world.

“In my world we need jobs and we need jobs that fit who we are.”

The comment, Cullen said, puts the federal Conservative government in a tight spot because Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised tar sands oil would make its way to China.

“They [federal Conservative government] were hoping for an NDP government [in B.C.] to blame for stopping the project,” he said.

“If Mr. Harper’s plan is to ram this down our throats he’s in for a rude awakening.”

The current problems in the senate also came up for discussion and Cullen said even Conservative M.P.s were having a hard time towing the party line.

“It hurts them [MP’s] so badly with their base in the west that they don’t want to go home,” Cullen said.

“They don’t want to be around the people that put them into office to be accountable.

“They’re really, really reeling from this.”

Reform of the senate is no longer an option, Cullen said.

He noted the Conservatives wanted to reform the senate seven years ago, but that has not happened yet.

Cullen was asked if he would consider taking over the provincial NDP should Adrain Dix step down.

In response, Cullen said he contemplated the move a few years ago, but for the moment the possibility was not on his radar.