‘More Pipeline ‘Consultation’

“No, said the woman. She could not support the proposed oil pipeline expansion. If approved by the federal government, the ‘Trans Mountain Expansion Project’ “will kill people”, she declared inside a Chilliwack hotel meeting room filled with like-minded locals — most of whom nodded their heads and applauded.

“It was the latest in a series of public roundtables, organized in a hurry by the federal government, a last-minute chance for people to share their views and opinions about ‘Kinder Morgan Canada’s…oil pipeline expansion proposal.


“The afternoon hours were reserved for local ‘First Nations’ speakers {segregated hearings?}, some of whom questioned both the ‘Kinder Morgan’ proposal and the round-table hearing. Why, they wondered, was the Chilliwack meeting convened with such little notice? Why were the ‘First Nations’ given so little time to prepare?

{They were given the same amount of time to prepare as everyone else! As our earlier post points out, this second panel was hurriedly convened mainly because some aboriginals hadn’t bothered to participate the first time around and were now threatening to go to court because they hadn’t been ‘consulted’: 

“…the energy board assessment involved more than 1,600 participants, including 35 ‘indigenous’ groups…” }

“These questions were especially cogent, given a recent Federal Court of Appeal ruling that slammed the federal government for failing to properly consult ‘First Nations’ over the proposed ‘Northern Gateway’ pipeline project.

“In the dissenting opinion, Justice Michael Ryer says…that ‘First Nations’ were encouraged to participate in the process and were entitled to receive funding to do so.


Many of the ‘First Nations’ concerns were accommodated as well in the 209 conditions attached to the project by a joint review panel that found it was in the public interest…


“It also has the support of a majority of the affected ‘First Nations’, 26 of which accepted the project proponent’s offer to acquire an equity interest in the project.”

“Was this round-table arrangement any better?

“I would refuse to call a short meeting in my community a deep, meaningful consultation”, said Tyrone McNeil, a Seabird Island Band representative, to the three panelists. “It kind of does a disservice, meeting in a hotel. Let’s get out there and walk the land.”


“I’m kind of disappointed we were second on the agenda today”, added Jeffery Point, from the Skowkale ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 237 people}. “I think we should have been first. I think your mandate was to consult us!”

“And there was Ernie Crey, chief of the Cheam ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 483 people}. Protocol was breached, he complained.

“One thing that we resent a lot is a drive-by consultation. I came to this session not with grievances alone. I want to see this process work for you. If you’re going to do this, do a proper job.”

“The three panelists stared ahead, and remained silent.

“The ‘Trans Mountain’ project would see Kinder Morgan’s existing, 63-year-old pipeline twinned, and its capacity tripled. Almost 900,000 barrels of diluted bitumen would flow daily from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., where most of it would be loaded into ocean tankers and shipped overseas.

In May, after nearly three years of review, the ‘National Energy Board’ decided the proposed pipeline expansion is in Canada’s interest, and recommended that Ottawa approve it, subject to 157 conditions.
A final decision from government is expected in December. 

PHOTO: Cornelia Naylor, Burnaby Now
PHOTO: Cornelia Naylor, Burnaby Now

“In the meantime, and for reasons more political than practical, the Trudeau government decided to hold 17 round-table discussions in various communities, including some, like Chilliwack, which will be ‘directly impacted’ by the Kinder Morgan expansion, should it proceed.

“Watching Thursday’s lengthy crab-fest, one almost felt sorry for the federally-appointed round table panel members: former Tsawwassen ‘First Nation’ chief Kim Baird, University of Winnipeg President Annette Trimbee and former Yukon Territory Premier Tony Penikett. Sombre and stone-faced, they served as silent sounding boards. They will each collect $300 every working day over the course of their five months long part-time job, to a maximum of $25,000. Their travels will take them from Calgary to Victoria, and points in between.

“Once their final roundtable meeting ends late next month, the panelists will gather submissions and report back to the federal government.

“We have no decision-making capacity,”

Baird told the gathering in Chilliwack, a 90-minute drive east of Vancouver.

“One man stood and took the roundtable microphone.

“I’m in favour of the pipeline”, he said, getting frowns. “It’s much safer than (shipping oil by) rail. You’re not going to stop the oil from coming.”

“The argument did not stick.

“It’s completely irrational that we export our natural resources,”

countered another man, who then warned about “the devastation that’s bound to occur” should the expansion proposal get approval and proceed. Existing oil tanker traffic leaving from Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal has already caused heavy soil erosion in Burrard Inlet, he added.

“A dubious claim, but never mind.

“And those tankers”, he continued, “they have to shut down their engines and be towed” from Burrard Inlet.

“Not true: tankers move through the inlet on their own steam, and have for decades, without incident. 

Burrard Inlet (Photo -- Dan Toulgoet - Vancouver Courier)
Burrard Inlet (Photo — Dan Toulgoet – Vancouver Courier)

“People have lost confidence in the NEB process, said another speaker, because of “10 years of betrayal” by former prime minister Stephen Harper.

“I believe (Harper) should be tried for treason, personally.”


“How would you like to have your lawn covered with tar?” shouted another.


“This is insanity,”

said another man, referring to the proposed pipeline expansion, not the round-table meeting.

“The three panel members took notes, or just stared ahead, expressionless…”

–‘Bitter diatribe in B.C. as federal Liberals’ ‘drive-by’ pipeline consultation lands’,
Brian Hutchinson, National Post, July 22, 2016




COMMENT: “I feel sorry for the panelists. Such town hall meetings are useless. The NIMBYs show up in force to trot out their fears and biases as truths, and shout down anybody who disagrees with them. The panelists have to pretend that every comment is legitimate, and nod solemnly that they get the speaker’s point. I’ve attended a couple of these types of meetings. Flipcharts were placed around the room and “recorders” were dispatched to write down every suggestion. Great praise was given to the assemblies for their “thoughtful” input. It was like a game of charades.

“It can quickly be noted that no rational alternative or solution is ever tabled. It is always about not wanting something. In this case, these same people use products derived from oil every minute of the day. They enjoy the services provided by governments and financed by revenues from primary resources. They are not problem solvers or deep thinkers. I won’t say what I really think they are!”
“The problem is that panelists are often intimidated by a room half full of aboriginals and the other half by their lawyers all writing down every word spoken by a panelist in the hope of destroying the consultations in court. Everything a panelists does is in the shadow of potential litigation so naturally they act super polite and keep their mouths shut.”
“What wasn’t mentioned in the article…only 75 people were there, out of a population of over 77,000. Has there been a better example of the vocal minority?”
“I fully support the TransCanada’s ‘Energy East’ pipeline, as it will allow oil to be delivered from western Canada to eastern Canada and eliminate the need to import oil from the Middle East. It will entail thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars. We already have over two million miles of pipelines in North America, yet people who are being paid by OPEC to protest this pipeline say not a word about the already existing pipelines where, for example, Saudi oil is pumped from Montreal to Sarnia.”
“Well, except for the simple fact that evryone in Canada cannot seem to divest themselves of their private automobile, their homes heated by natural gas, their plastic goodies all over the house and their iphones with ‘Pokeman’ playing. All of these things are interwoven into the fabric of our Canadian living conditions. I suppose all of these NIMBY complainants are OK with Saudi oil in perpetuity. What a disgusting double standard.”
“The primary refined output product from Bitumen is Diesel. Your life is dependent on Diesel. Our entire agriculture, fishing, forestry and goods transportation networks are all major consumption points of diesel. So, please show us the better way and stop eating and stop going to any store to purchase any item, as it got there through the consumption of diesel.”
“Anyone supporting the pipeline dare not show up out legitimate fear of physical violence from these delusional eco loonies. They aren’t interested in science or facts as evidenced by the comments of the participants at the meeting. The pipeline has existed for over 6 decades and needs replacing. It’s by far the safest way of moving petroleum products. I’m getting really tired of society being run by loonies not interested in facts who make things up (tanker engines being shut down) then shout their lies as loudly as they can.”
“Liberal MP’s are holding environmental town halls in their ridings. The meetings are stacked with environmental groups that crowd the microphones and generally shout down any opinions that don’t coincide with their own. This is what Liberals call consultation…”

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