Hearings on Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline called “meaningless” in Vancouver


About 330 speakers have signed up for hearings in Vancouver on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, according to a spokesperson for the National Energy Board.

They’ll each have 10 minutes to address the panel reviewing the $6-billion Enbridge project, Kristen Higgins told the Straight by phone from the board’s offices in Calgary.

The first part of the Vancouver hearings starts on Monday (January 14) and runs until January 18. Presentations by the public will resume on January 30 and conclude on February 1.

Although there is strong opposition to the proposed pipeline that would carry tar-sands crude from Alberta to the port of Kitimat on the North Coast of B.C., where it would be loaded onto tankers bound for Asia, opponents are increasingly aware that it may get built after all.

That’s because Bill C-38, the first of two omnibus budget bills passed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government last year, gave cabinet the final say on pipeline projects, critics say.

“People try to have faith in the process and work hard to try to make sure that the process stays on track and yield a decision that people can get behind,” lawyer Chris Tollefson told the Straight by phone. “But at the end of the day, the fact that cabinet can ignore all of that, I think that does create a sense of uncertainty and concern in people’s minds.”

Tollefson, executive director of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, noted that the Harper government has the “power to allow this project to go forward regardless of what this panel says”.

Sean Devlin of the Rising Tide Vancouver Coast Salish Territories collective describes the pipeline review process as “quite meaningless”.

“This process is basically unacceptable because it has nothing to do with consent,” Devlin told the Straight by phone.

Devlin’s group is organizing a demonstration against the pipeline on Monday at Victory Square (Cambie and West Hastings streets) starting at 5 p.m. Fellow activist Eric Doherty will be attending the rally before proceeding to the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre (1088 Burrard Street), where he and others will make their presentations starting at 7 p.m.

“I’m going to be talking about the climate aspects of the pipeline, and the need to leave the tar-sands bitumen in the ground,” Doherty told the Straight by phone.

Enbridge didn’t respond to an interview request by deadline.

Comments (9) Add New Comment
Eric Doherty
If you are planning to attend, please sign up on facebook and invite your friends. https://www.facebook.com/events/203420029795241/

More info at http://risingtide.resist.ca/ Twitter at https://twitter.com/RisingTide604
Rating: +7
Changing climate is the greatest concern of all; witness Australian and USA record changes to date just this year. The West Coast's integrity is the second greatest concern. Then the pipeline itself has the potential for disaster in earthquake prone BC. Finally, dams like Site C in the Peace River area would be built to facilitate bitumen transport from the tar sands... a sad end to an agricultural valley to enhance the burning of fossil fuel.
Rating: +6
keith cummings
up here in northern BC we'll be stopping Enbridge with our bodies, you guys in the south stop 'em with words. And in 2015 we stop Harper.
Rating: +8
Ted Campbell
I'd like to hear what the Operating Engineers Local 115 and Teamsters Local 213 have to say about this project. Their silence has been deafening. They have two problems on both sides of a very sharp sword. (1) It's their members who will build and benefit most from the project (2) As Unionists they are sort of lumped in with the rest of the crowd that supports, both by votes and financially Adrian Dix. Please speak up construction workers, your voices should be heard.
Rating: +1
COPE Supporter
Might I suggest some additional reading on the current state of public consultation? In BC this all started with in "talk and log" era of the Harcourt government...

Rating: 0
keith cumming
Ted Campbell, I just read Janet Holder (Enbridge's public mouth-piece) saying that Enbridge will be accepting Chinese company's bids for both fabrication and the actual construction of the Gateway pipeline. They'll certainly underbid any Canadian company by a long-shot. Your question is without answer as Locals 115 and 213 will have no part of the project.
Rating: +5
Eric Doherty

Most of the union movement is solidly in favor of strong action on the climate crisis, even though almost every union has some members who would be negatively effected by that action. Most unions recognize that without public support, they are going to be squished by Harper and his corporate cronies. It is by doing the right thing, and joining in broad social movements that unions gain the legitimacy and support they need to defend their members' interests'. And anyway, there are no jobs on a cooked planet as loggers and mill workers have figured out with the pine beetle crisis largely caused by warming temperatures.

Check out the list of supporter of GreenJobs BC - http://greenjobsbc.org/about/
Rating: +3
Lisa Barrett
I'll be joining the Rising Tide, Vancouver Coast Salish Territories collective at Victory Square. 5 PM Jan 14th. Hope to see lots of GS readers there, ready to make some noise and let the world know we won't let them down by letting this industry kill our climate.
Facebook event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/203420029795241/
Rating: +2
Ted Campbell
Keith and Eric - you both live in a dream world if you think an out of work operator is going to tell his family "I turned down a high paying job today because someday down the road it might harm the environment." It aint gonna happen boys! I've been a dues paying member of one of the unions mentioned and worked alongside members of the other. I've been dispatched to many projects that tore up the landscape and obviously did harm to the environment at the time. A few old-timers in the camps shook their heads at the damaqe being done but we all took our cheques and kept on working. I am pragmatic about life and that includes jobs and money. When the Dispatcher hands out job slips the following day the airplanes will be filled with union members kissing their wive and girlfriends goodbye. I still looking forward to comments from our construction union leaders. (as opposed to the Government ones) They wouldn't dare say WE WON'T SEND OUR MEMBERS. I've attended many meetings - if they utter those words there will be a riot in the hall and whoever said it will be out of a job.
Rating: -4
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