British Columbia

Pipeline opponents start groundwork for B.C. referendum to halt Kinder Morgan

The Dogwood Initiative, a B.C. non-profit, is already canvassing the public about a referendum on the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

The Dogwood Initiative, a B.C. non-profit, canvassed the public with 200 volunteers this weekend

Protesters opposed to the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline held signs and chanted in Vancouver's Stanley Park on Nov. 7, 2016. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

A B.C. non-profit is moving forward with plans to put the Kinder Morgan pipeline to a popular vote.

The Dogwood Initiative — an advocacy group that calls themselves a 'citizen action network' — announced plans to pursue a referendum soon after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the pipeline the go-ahead Nov 29.

This weekend, the group started canvassing the public for support.

"We had 17 canvas actions and over 200 volunteers came out," said Sophie Harrison, the communications coordinator for the non-profit.

"If in May we have a government determined to see this tanker project and pipeline go through, then we'll launch the citizen's initiative."

Unique to British Columbia, a citizen's initiative allows a registered voter to propose a law or changes to an existing law where the province has jurisdiction.

The voter must collect signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in each provincial electoral district — within 90 days of the official launch — for the referendum to go through.

The referendum has been a popular tool in B.C. political history.

Most recently, a 2011 provincial petition to end the HST was successful.

The Dogwood Initiative has already built a network of supporters because of its earlier work preparing to launch a similar referendum if the Northern Gateway pipeline was approved.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Sophie Harrison from the Dogwood Initiative on a pipeline referendum