March 20, 2019

Winnipeg
-4° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Opinion

In NEB circus, blame the ringmaster

PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS</p><p>Demonstrators in Montreal Monday disrupt the National Energy Board public hearing on the $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline project proposed by TransCanada Corp.</p>

PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Demonstrators in Montreal Monday disrupt the National Energy Board public hearing on the $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline project proposed by TransCanada Corp.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/9/2016 (930 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Earlier this week, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre described the National Energy Board hearings into the Energy East pipeline project as a “circus,” and walked out of one in Montreal. The comparison seemed to touch a nerve as pundits and politicians across Canada echoed it.

But, if pipeline hearings are a circus, maybe it’s time we take a hard look at who the ringmaster is.

Just under a year ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised people across Canada a do-over on pipeline reviews. Specifically, he promised “a new, comprehensive, timely and fair process that restores robust oversight, ensures decisions are evidence-based, and allows the public to meaningfully participate.”

Not only has this not happened, but Trudeau’s promised “overhaul” is looking less and less like real change and more and more like Stephen Harper’s reviews slapped with a fresh coat of paint.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/9/2016 (930 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Earlier this week, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre described the National Energy Board hearings into the Energy East pipeline project as a "circus," and walked out of one in Montreal. The comparison seemed to touch a nerve as pundits and politicians across Canada echoed it.

But, if pipeline hearings are a circus, maybe it’s time we take a hard look at who the ringmaster is.

Just under a year ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised people across Canada a do-over on pipeline reviews. Specifically, he promised "a new, comprehensive, timely and fair process that restores robust oversight, ensures decisions are evidence-based, and allows the public to meaningfully participate."

Not only has this not happened, but Trudeau’s promised "overhaul" is looking less and less like real change and more and more like Stephen Harper’s reviews slapped with a fresh coat of paint.

In 2012, prime minister Stephen Harper gutted the energy board after lobbying from the fossil fuel industry. But even before that, the NEB rejected exactly none of the pipeline applications that crossed its desk. It could be that every single one of these pipelines was sound and supported by communities, but it could also be that, for most of its existence, the board has had Mariana Trench-depth ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Knowing this, the latest scandal involving NEB members having off-the-books meetings with former Quebec premier Jean Charest while he was working as a consultant for TransCanada Corp., the company behind the proposed project, seems pretty par for the course. But, even if this isn’t new for the NEB, meeting with a pipeline lobbyist for advice doesn’t exactly look like the new pipeline reviews promised by the prime minister. That might be why, when the two NEB members involved in the meeting with Mr. Charest were questioned about the meeting, they were less than truthful.

But, even if the Charest scandal weren’t serious, one would have to assume Trudeau’s promise of a new day for pipeline reviews would mean the era of people protesting at pipeline reviews would be at an end. It’s not. In fact, the chorus of disapproval for pipelines has only grown bigger and louder.

During the recently completed Kinder Morgan pipeline panel sessions in British Columbia, more than 90 per cent of people who showed up opposed the project. Most of them took time out from their day jobs to make sure their voices were heard. In Vancouver and Victoria, hundreds of people turned out to midday rallies and overflowed panel sessions opposing the pipeline.

On the opposite coast, even before the Energy East hearings showed up in Montreal, they were met with protests. In New Brunswick, Mr. Trudeau’s promise to allow "the public to meaningfully participate" hit a major speed bump when the NEB refused to hear from the Bay of Fundy Inland Fishermen’s Association. Either "public" doesn’t include more than 1,000 fishermen whose livelihoods could be ruined by an oil spill, or "meaningfully participate" means "send in a letter."

The same marginalization has happened to all environmental groups from Manitoba who applied to participate, including the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition.

Even louder than these moments of protest is the deafening silence heard at the Vancouver First Nations roundtable on Kinder Morgan. In total, three indigenous people showed up, including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, who told the panel "we’re not confident in the process… we do not believe this process that is in place here at the moment goes far enough to address the very serious concerns that not only indigenous people, but the general public have about the fundamentally flawed NEB process."

Chief Ernie Cray of the Cheam First Nation was blunter, calling the process "drive-by consultation." Here in Manitoba, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has condemned the NEB’s consultations with First Nations and the inadequacy of the climate test.

In January, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna stood with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to announce all pipelines would now face a "climate test." The caveat was this test would ignore the majority of climate pollution produced by a pipeline, which comes from burning the oil the pipeline is built to carry, thereby increasing extraction.

Even more confusing, the prime minister himself stood up and claimed pipelines would fuel the transition off fossil fuels, ignoring the stark science that says we won’t have a shot at meeting our Paris climate commitments if we build any new pipelines. The numbers, instead, say we need to slow down oil production.

Absence of First Nations support, excluded community voices, protests and ignored climate science are all hallmarks that Mr. Trudeau’s pipeline reviews share with Mr. Harper’s.

If pipeline reviews are a circus, that makes Mr. Trudeau our very own P.T. Barnum, with Mr. Carr and Ms. McKenna trading off as ringmasters. The ringmasters need to give the public the credible review they were promised in the last election.

 

Alex Paterson is with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition. Daniel Cayley-Daoust is the Council of Canadians’ energy and climate campaigner and Clayton Thomas-Muller is a Stop it at the Source campaigner with 350.org.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us