Liberal win in Canada's British Columbia may raise pipeline odds

Wed May 15, 2013 6:02pm EDT
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* Surprise Liberal win in B.C. may boost pipeline plans

* Political opposition had pledged to block new pipelines

* B.C. premier will support lines that meet conditions

By Scott Haggett

CALGARY, Alberta, May 15 (Reuters) - The surprise re-election of the ruling Liberal party in the Canadian province of British Columbia might give a boost to energy industry plans to build oil pipelines to Canada's Pacific coast, lines the Liberals' opponents had pledged to block.

Although polls had widely forecast a resounding victory for the left-leading New Democratic Party after 12 years of Liberal rule, voters returned the government of Premier Christy Clark to power with a strengthened majority, although Clark lost her own seat to an NDP challenger.

Clark promised to approve pipeline projects that met a list of conditions, while the NDP, led by Adrian Dix, said it would halt the lines.

The Liberal win might boost the odds that at least one of two proposed pipelines that would carry oil from Alberta's oil sands to the Pacific coast will proceed, despite public misgivings.

"The clear opposition to the pipelines that Adrian Dix and the NDP put forward has now lost," said Kathryn Harrison, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia.   Continued...