Friday, August 11, 2017

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross raises concerns over NDP's Kinder Morgan pipeline approach

The Kinder Morgan pipeline is going
to be one of the NDPs first political battles
Yesterday's announcement by the governing NDP that they would be securing the services of a legal team to try and stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is giving the opposition Liberals an early talking point, with Skeena's MLA Ellis Ross taking the lead in challenging that NDP position.

At a new conference held on Thursday, George Heyman the provinces Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister, along with Attorney General David Eby outlined the government's position on Kinder Morgan.

“We are committed to fighting for B.C.’s interests and it is government’s desire to seek intervenor status in legal challenges to federal approval of the pipeline expansion and increased oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s coast,” ... “Mr. Berger will provide legal advice to government on the options for participation in legal challenges, and those hearings are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall.” -- Attorney General David Eby on Kinder Morgan

Among the tools that the NDP plan to use, will be the services of Thomas Berger a long serving legal mind on issues of First Nations affairs in Canada and a former leader of the NDP, he will serve as external counsel to the government as part of their legal action related to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion plans.

You can review the government's complete announcement here.

The announcement to set in motion the legal challenge to the planned expansion quickly caught the attention of Skeena's Liberal MLA Ellis Ross, a former Chief Councillor with the Haisla Nation.

Mr. Ross who is serving as the Liberal's natural gas and petroleum resources critic outlined his concern over the message that the NDP is sending to investors in the energy sector.

Speaking to Mike Smyth of the Vancouver Province, who was hosting the CKNW"s Simi Sara show today, Ross expressed his shock and dismay offered up the view that the NDP were now sending a message that even if an energy proponent achieved all its benchmarks and regulatory approvals, there is no guarantee that the NDP government will respect that process and allow a project to be built.

During the course of his interview with Smyth, Ross offered up a range of observations on First nations concerns in addition to the theme of rights and titles, as well as putting some focus on the impact of NDP decisions on economic growth for the province and the message that it is sending out beyond B.C.'s borders.

"I can't believe that they have run out of tools so quickly, that they are going to use First Nations as a tool to stop a project in BC ... to use consultation as a reason, that's a very vague general reason, you're not going to get 100 per cent consensus on any project. when you're talking about rights and title." -- Ellis Ross speaking to Mike Smyth on CKNW Thursday 

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross on the NDP's Kinder Morgan announcement

You can review Mr. Ellis's full interview with Smyth from the CKNW audio portal, starting at the 12:17  point from the noon hour portion of the Thursday August 10 version of the show.

Also weighing in on the discussion over the NDP's legal moves was interim Opposition Leader Rich Coleman, who observes in a statement released today that British Columbians should be concerned that their government is spending tax dollars to stop a project that not only boosts British Columbia's local economies but would also be of benefit for the rest of the country.

Energy issues have quickly provided some of the early focus on the new NDP government of John Horgan, since coming to power last month, the NDP have seen a major LNG project at Port Edward cancelled by Petronas which cited market concerns for their decision.

Fallout on LNG issues also came from their handling of the the banishment of Gordon Wilson, with the Premier offering an apology for some of the comments related to the termination of Wilson from his duties promoting the prospects fo LNG development in the province.

As well, the NDP were quick to address their concerns over the proposed Site C hydro development in Northeast BC, putting that mega project under a review process.

More background related to the Legislature can be found here.

For further items related to British Columbia politics see our political portal D'Arcy McGee

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