Monday, August 27, 2012
'In Bad Faith'
to withhold permits to delay Enbridge pipeline won't hold water
Released by the NDP Caucus
B.C. Liberals' claim that they could withhold permits to stop the Enbridge
Northern Gateway Pipeline after signing away jurisdiction to Ottawa is
irresponsible and legally untenable, say the New Democrats.
"The Liberals are taking the wrong approach on this critical issue," said
New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming, "And they have no real
mechanism to stop the pipeline from being built."
Both Premier Clark and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mary Polak have claimed
that the Liberal government could withhold provincial permits as a way to
stop the Enbridge pipeline from proceeding.
Fleming said it would be acting in bad faith, would expose the province to
costly lawsuits and would send a message to investors that B.C. cannot be
trusted when it comes to major project approvals.
"Surely the premier and Minister Polak understand the way the courts would
view such an action," said Fleming. "It all smacks of a desperate attempt to
appease public opinion, which has been swinging increasingly against the
Under the 2010 Equivalency Agreement between B.C. and Canada, federal
approval of the Enbridge pipeline is deemed to constitute provincial
approval as well. The province cannot deliberately thwart the pipeline by
the indirect means of denying provincial permits, when it has allowed the
federal process to approve the pipeline
"The courts would take a very dim view of a government that enabled the
federal process to approve the pipeline one day, then attempted to stop it
the next day by denying the necessary permits," said constitutional lawyer
Murray Rankin. "The province would take such legal action at its peril."
Fleming also noted that the B.C. Liberals have abdicated all responsibility
for the Enbridge project and even failed to provide evidence on behalf of
the province of British Columbia to the Joint Review Panel.
"We have a federal process making a critical decision for B.C., with no
representation from our provincial government. There aren't even any British
Columbians on the panel reviewing the pipeline," Fleming pointed out.
Adrian Dix and B.C.'s New Democrats announced a plan Wednesday that would
reassert legal jurisdiction over the pipeline review in British Columbia by
rescinding the agreement the Liberals signed that gave up B.C.'s right to
"A made-in-B.C. review would re-assert B.C.'s control over the decision and
ensure the voices of citizens, businesses and communities are properly
heard," said Fleming. "For First Nations in particular, we need to ensure
their interests and rights are properly addressed in the process."
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice