Earlier this week, I swore out my affidavit to the National Energy Board (NEB) to support the many reports and exhibits I was submitting to the Kinder Morgan hearings. The deadline was Thursday for all intervenors to submit their evidence. The hearings were scheduled to begin with oral arguments on Monday in Calgary with witness testifying from Sept 9-30. I was assigned a slot for my evidence on September 10. Despite the election campaign, this is a priority for me and my team re-worked my schedule so I could be there.
Late this afternoon, we received the surprising news that the entire hearing has been postponed. The NEB issued a statement that due to Harper’s most recent appointment to the National Energy Board, Steve Kelly, being an industry consultant who had worked for Kinder Morgan and submitted evidence to the process, the NEB has postponed any further hearings until it sorts out the legal problem created. It will strike Kelly’s evidence from the record, but the problem remains. The NEB is mired in conflict of interest.
A number of intervenors had already quit the process as it is so appalling biased. The wreck of a hearing is entirely Stephen Harper’s fault. Through Bill C-38, he repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and placed the role of a new and useless replacement EA process in the hands of the NEB for any pipeline review. It was created with such tight timelines that the NEB violated its own traditions of fairness (as a quasi-judicial body) and started torquing hearings to deny the public access (as the new legislation required that people by “directly affected” in order to even send a letter of concern ) as well as denying the right to cross-examine witnesses, and refused to include climate change as an issue of concern.
The NEB process is broken. And Stephen Harper -- whose motto in every area of public policy seems to be “if it ain’t broke, keep giving it Conservative fixes til it is” -- is responsible.