New Democrats would withdraw B.C. from federal Enbridge review; would initiate “made in B.C.” process to protect B.C.’s interests

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VANCOUVER – A New Democrat government will withdraw from the federal government’s Enbridge Northern Gateway Project review process and set up a “made in B.C.” environmental assessment to ensure the province’s interests are protected, B.C. New Democrat leader Adrian Dix announced.

“Within a week of taking office, we will serve the federal government with 30 days’ notice to terminate the 2010 deal in which the Liberals signed away B.C.’s interests,” Dix said. “British Columbia’s citizens, communities and First Nations must have full confidence that their voices will be heard by Victoria.

“This Liberal government has failed British Columbians at every stage of the Enbridge pipeline application process. First they signed away B.C.’s right to review the project. Then they refused to take a clear stance. They even missed the deadline to provide evidence to the federal process.”

Under Section 6 of the 2010 Equivalency Agreement between the Province of B.C. and Canada, either party can withdraw from the process with 30 days’ written notice. While the process is being conducted by a “Joint Review Panel,” Dix noted the word “joint” refers to the shared authority of two federal agencies, the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority – not to a joint initiative undertaken by B.C. and Ottawa.

“A made in B.C. review will ensure that British Columbia’s economic, social and environmental interests are fully addressed, that B.C.’s powers and responsibilities are properly exercised and that First Nations’ interests are properly recognized within this new process,” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming.

In April, the New Democrat caucus submitted a letter to the Joint Review Panel detailing its reasons for opposing the Northern Gateway Project. Dix has also convened a panel of legal experts, led by renowned constitutional lawyer Murray Rankin, to assess B.C.’s legal authority and to identify legal options with regard to the pipeline.