There's something about B.C. premier Christy Clark's position on the Northern Gateway oil pipeline that just doesn't quite add up.
Earlier this week, B.C.'s Liberal government outlined their five "minimum requirements" for the pipeline project. The conditions included: completion of the environmental review process, First Nations accommodation, improved marine and land spill response and benefit-sharing because B.C.'s taking the majority of the risk.
So on the one hand, Clark's government is concerned about environmental protection but on the other hand she's willing to live with that risk for the right price.
It just doesn't make sense — that is, until you put it in the context of Christy Clark's world.
The unpopular premier is in the fight of her political life. She's tanking in the polls and faces a May 2013 fixed election date.
So all this could simply be a political maneuver to win votes.
Liberal insider Warren Kinsella thinks so and calls her stance "extraordinary conduct for a premier."
"We all know why she's shutting this down. Because she wants to get re-elected. She is tremendoulsy unpopular," he said on the Sun News Network on Wednesday.
"[The pipeline] is an unpopular concept in British Columbia right now. But that is what's motivating her. Does anybody actually believe that Christy Clark would be against this notion if she wasn't facing an election? She's being so fundamentally dishonest she should be ashamed of herself."
Andrew Coyne of the National Post agrees with Kinsella.
"The list of demands [Clark] has suddenly produced, far behind in the polls with less than a year to go before the provincial election, is an obvious attempt to inoculate herself on the Gateway issue, without actually coming out against it," he wrote in a column published Thursday.
"The demand, in particular, that the government of B.C. be paid an unspecified sum as its 'fair share' of the fiscal and economic benefits flowing from the project is so outrageous that it is difficult to believe it was not done for show."
Sun News personality Ezra Levant went a step further and called Clark's request for a bigger share of Alberta oil royalties "un-Canadian."
"Could you imagine if a local politician, back in the 1880s, didn't want the Canadian Pacific Railway to go through, or in the 1950s didn't want the Trans-Canada Highway to go through — unless the trains or trucks stopped and paid a big toll? What would Canada would be like if every province started to play that game?" he wrote.
"What if Alberta decided to demand a toll on anything coming or going to the Port of Vancouver?
"How many people have been killed on Alberta highways because of semi-trailers racing to or from [the Port of Vancouver]? How many train derailments — including trains carrying toxic chemicals — must Alberta endure, just to make B.C. even richer? That's crazy talk — but it's exactly what Clark is saying."
Is it un-Canadian? Maybe.
Is it political opportunism? At its worst.