At the end of the day it won't matter what the JRP recommends or what the Cons and Enbridge do to negate or subvert the process. Something is different about this pipeline proposal compared to others.
The context is in so many ways changed from past proposals. The hearing process commences at a time when the world has seen the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Locally, people do not not need to be reminded of the destruction from the Exxon Valdez. And the black bleakness of the Tar Sands, for which this pipeline is proposed as servant, are infamous for their contribution to catastrophic climate change and our race to the bottom energy addiction.
Like the gas line in the Northwest Territories, numerous First Nations and communities are being bribed with jobs to harbour the siphon. Except Northern BC is not the early double-aughts NWT. Communities and people largely do not appear to want to all be heavy equipment operators in the pipeline. This is much bigger than 'good union jobs.' Ordinary people do not want to be responsible for enabling something which could kill the living breathing Northwest coast or the endless lakes, rivers, and forests across the route.
The ignorant felling of 14 trees by Enbridge's reconnaissance platoon, the appalling comments at the beginning of the hearing process by the Ethical Oil stained Harper Regime have served to set intractable terms between us and them. The consequent comments by First Nations leaders confirm this.
People will risk their lives to stop this pipeline because it threatens their homes and it imperils the living future of the planet. If approved, it will not be constructed without bloodshed. One thousand one hundred and seventy seven kilometres of exposed pipe is a lot to build and defend.
The Northern Gateway is a threshold. Energy politics in Canada will not be the same.