MP challenging decision on Enbridge panel cross-examination

MP Nathan Cullen is garnering national attention for not being allowed to cross-examine government bodies that spoke at Enbridge hearings.

Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is once again garnering national attention, this time for not being allowed to cross-examine federal government officials who provided evidence to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel.

Cullen had requested to question federal participants from Environment Canada on the new assessment thresholds versus the old ones; question the DFO officials on the application of the Fisheries Act, net loss, habitat protection and water crossings; question Transport Canada officials on the independence of the review and the regulations on diluted bitumen compared to conventional oil; and question Natural Resources Canada officials on project promotion abroad and carbon pricing implications. The proposal was to question each party for two hours each in Prince Rupert, totaling 10 hours of cross examination.

“As the only intervenor who is a Member of Parliament, and as the Member from the federal riding most affected by this project, it is essential that I am granted leave to ask these questions of the applicant and these federal government departments on behalf of my constituents,” wrote Cullen on August 3.

However, the Justice Department noted that all of those questions were either too broad, were outside the mandate of the joint review panel, not related to evidence given by government participants or were unrelated to the mandates of the government departments.

“To allow such questions would undermine fairness to the witnesses, delay the proceedings and would not assist the Panel in its assessment of the application,” read a letter signed by Prairie Region General Counsel Kirk Lambrecht and dated August 22.

In a response dated August 28, Cullen says the topics he wanted to discuss “are central to the mandate of the panel” and that “limiting the questioners and responders to only what has been already submitted would render the questioning phase of the proceedings moot”. He also said the denial of his request only further calls into question the unbias intentions of the Conservatives.

“It is difficult in the context in which we are conducting these public forums to separate the current government’s objections to my questions and the government’s publicly stated support for the project prior to assessment. Further, the Panel’s authority has been seriously undermined by a retroactive rewriting of the rules of engagement creating a potential for loss of faith on behalf of the public…Some have described the various tactics employed by the government as an attempt to silence critics and minimize the scrutiny of proposed pipeline and supertanker traffic,” he wrote.

“Testing the credibility of the evidence can, at times, be done best by examining whether critical information is missing from the evidence, what alternatives exist, and the context within which the existing project has emerged. The purpose of the questioning is to test the credibility of the evidence and nothing prohibits the Panel from hearing questions to that end.”

Just Posted

LETTER: Keep commercial fishery issues in correct context

Response to letter from Prince Rupert-based commercial fish harvester

Heart of Our City: Sean Carlson gives back as a trailblazer

President of the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society helps Rupertites get on trail

MVP of the Week: Giving team a try

Lindsay Gidney has taken his passion for team and sport with him around the world

Former Prince Rupert man wanted on kidnapping and extortion warrants

Terrace RCMP requesting public’s help to find Ira Adam Bryant

This Week Podcast — Episode 85

Learn how you could create your own law. MP Nathan Cullen is this week’s guest on Create Your Canada

175 evacuation orders lifted as floods recede in Grand Forks

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Most Read