Feds to give final answer on Northern Gateway

Feds' final decision on Northern Gateway going down to the deadline on Tuesday

  • Jun. 16, 2014 9:00 a.m.

By Dene Moore, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – The federal government will announce its much-anticipated decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline after markets close on Tuesday.

Under its own rules, the Conservative government has a June 17 deadline for the final word on whether the 1,200-kilometre pipeline can be built linking the Alberta oilsands to a port on the British Columbia coast.

A joint review panel of the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency released a report in December recommending approval, and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford has hinted the cabinet decision will be a positive one for the project.

He pointed to the fact his government has already responded to two recommendations made in a separate report by Doug Eyford, a special envoy on energy affairs who consulted widely with aboriginal communities in the westernmost province.

“With more than 73,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada and a 99.999 per cent safety record, we are confident that record and Mr. Eyford’s suggestions will help build the kind of framework for us to move forward with respect to transportation of our energy products,” Rickford said Monday in Ottawa.

The $7-billion project is worth an estimated $300 billion in gross domestic product over 30 years, but the pipeline faces steep opposition from many First Nations and environmental groups in B.C. Several aboriginal groups have already threatened court challenges if the federal government gives it the go-ahead.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has said the project still has not met the five conditions the province has set out for approval. Those conditions include strict environmental protections, adequate consultations with First Nations and that B.C. receives a “fair share” of the benefits.

“None of the proposals have met the five conditions yet, so therefore, none of them would be approved,” Clark said in response to questions Monday.

“I have said there are five conditions. Any proposal to expand heavy oil through British Columbia needs to meet the five conditions. Enbridge hasn’t met them yet and they need to before they would be approved by our province.”

While approval is a federal decision, Clark has said the project will still need about 60 permits from the province for construction to proceed.

A coalition of groups announced Monday that they will help organize a provincial citizens’ initiative, similar to the campaign that forced the province to revoke the unpopular harmonized sales tax, should the province issue those permits. If successful, the petition would force the B.C. government to respond, either with a vote in the legislature or by holding a non-binding provincewide plebiscite.

Coastal First Nations, Unifor, West Coast Environmental Law, Douglas Channel Watch and One Cowichan will join the Dogwood Initiative’s work on LetBCvote.ca.

“The energy industry feeds our families and supports our industries. But we don’t support exporting our raw bitumen to be refined in other countries,” Jerry Dias, Unifor’s national president, said in a statement.

“Northern Gateway ignores the reality of climate change, offers few long-term jobs, and doesn’t address First Nations’ concerns.”

In Ottawa, both the NDP and the Liberals urged the federal government during question period to reject the project, pointing to opposition by aboriginal communities and environmental concerns.

NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen singled out Conservative MPs from British Columbia for criticism — a line of attack likely to resurface in the province during the next federal election.

“Environmentally, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Economically, it is a sellout of good Canadians jobs. Politically, it is a nightmare for a tired, out-of-date, arrogant government that just cannot listen to the people who put it here,” Cullen said in the Commons.

“Finally, will B.C. Conservatives stand up for British Columbians and reject this bad proposal?”

— With files from Jennifer Ditchburn in Ottawa

Follow @ByDeneMoore and @jenditchburn on Twitter

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read