In the months and years ahead, British Columbia can expect Alberta to be lobbying its government fairly strenuously.
BC Premier Christy Clark -- who won an unexpected majority government in this year's provincial election -- will have a lot to say about whether or not the Northern Gateway pipeline gets built. And there's nothing wrong with the government of Alberta and representatives of Alberta-based company lobbying Clark in hopes of turning her support in favour of the pipeline. It's far from out of the question.
That being said, there's a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this. In the lead-up to the 2013 election, a number of Alberta-based companies gave some generous donations to the BC Liberal Party. One Albertan in particular, Allan Paul Markin, effectively donated $150,000 to the BC Liberals. He was among the largest individual donors to the party.
Apparently, BC elections law doesn't forbid political donations from outside the province, or even outside the country -- Texas' Spectra Energy also donated -- but it should. In fact, every province in Canada should. But just because this glaring hole in provincial election laws exists doesn't make it right for anyone to exploit it.
There are any number of reasons why these legislative holes should be filled in. It isn't just oil companies that can fill the coffers of a particular political party. Radical environmental groups -- or foreign radicals as they are frequently called -- could very well do precisely the same thing. But this isn't even the best reason why this legislative hole needs to be filled.
The citizens of BC have the democratic right to decide the political direction of their province free from undue interference from outside of the province. Even if you don't buy into the idea that elections can be bought -- frankly I don't -- this doesn't mean that people from outside of BC who happen to have deep pockets should be able to try.