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Voters may punish the Tories at the polls for the Northern Gateway decision

OTTAWA (NEWS1130) – Will the Harper Conservatives pay a political price for their conditional approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline?

Opposition to the line has been demonstrated leading up to yesterday’s announcement, as well as after.

Norman Ruff is a retired University of Victoria political scientist. He says the Conservatives could lose two or three seats in next year’s election, pointing out the two seats held by the Tories on Vancouver Island will likely be in jeopardy.

He says the NDP’s hold on other coastal seats will probably become stronger.

The next federal election is set for October 2015.

“It’s certainly going to be one of the issues. I don’t think it’s going to be you know the determining ballot box issue, but it certainly is gonna be a major issue in the province,” says Ruff.

“In terms of the other federal seats, it’s only those in the north that are held by the Conservatives,” he adds. “They’re held by very substantial margins. So although there could be a decline in Conservative support, they’re unlikely to, I think, suffer a severe loss.”

Ruff notes the revival of the Liberals under Justin Trudeau could add an interesting dimension.

He also thinks if the anger against the pipeline continues, that could mean Harper being less comfortable in BC, or the vote could be split three ways, sparing the Tories much of a blow.

The federal government supports the $7-billion project, as long as more than 200 conditions are met. The line is set to run from Alberta to Kitimat.