Victoria hearings demonstrate B.C. government surrendered jurisdiction over Enbridge pipeline process

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VICTORIA – The decision to keep the public out of the Victoria Enbridge hearings is yet another example of the B.C. Liberal government having no jurisdiction over a process that will affect the future of our province, says New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming.

“Since the B.C. Liberals handed over decision-making power to Ottawa in the 2010 Equivalency Agreement, it’s been clear that the Enbridge pipeline project has been a federal process without a government to stand up for B.C.’s interests,” said Fleming.

“It speaks volumes that the Liberals can’t even step in and ensure the public are allowed to observe the proceedings first-hand.”

Observers are not permitted inside the hearings in Victoria and Vancouver, and are asked to watch the proceedings on a television at a location several kilometres away.

Fleming was able to attend a portion of the hearings Wednesday night only as a guest of a constituent who was registered to present to the panel.

“I was impressed by the presenters who all spoke articulately and passionately on the risks the Enbridge pipeline poses to our environment, jobs and economy,” said Fleming. “These people are standing up for B.C. because their government is not, and they know it’s time for change for the better.”

Fleming noted that New Democrats have taken a principled stand against the Enbridge pipeline, and have actively sought to participate in the process every step of the way. The environment critic has registered to present to the panel next week in Vancouver.

“The Liberals, by contrast, have not only avoided taking a position, but are prepared to sell out our pristine land and coastline for the right price.”

Adrian Dix has said that, if elected, B.C. New Democrats would take practical steps to protect our province, including exercising the right to opt out of the federal government’s review process and setting up a rigorous “made in B.C.” environmental assessment that ensures the voices of all British Columbians are heard.