Feds to give final answer on Northern Gateway

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

  • Jun. 16, 2014 2:00 p.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

Emergency crews are at the scene of a serious accident on Sooke Road. (Sooke News Mirror)
Accident closes Sooke Road

Emergency crews on scene of three-vehicle accident

The Victoria Police Department is seeking information on an assault that occurred in downtown Victoria on May 10. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police investigating downtown Victoria assault on youth

Witness also attacked after trying to intervene

Reigning women’s World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, who also took bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will debut two brand new programs for the 2021 Stars On Ice tour, in Victoria May 15. (File photo)
Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko hit the ice when Stars returns to Victoria

The star-studded lineup is makes a return after pandemic hiatus

Ryan Cootes, Erin Bremner-Mitchell, Bill Collins and Mike Williamson of Cascadia Seaweed Corporation are here seen holding up seaweed grown in Barkley Sound in July 2020. The Sidney-based company has organized the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival running May 17 to May 23. (Cascadia Seaweed Corporation/Submitted)
Global expert touts seaweed to open inaugural Sidney festival

Vincent Doumeizel also points to barrier facing the emerging industry

Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump in the newly redesigned Organ Donor trail at Mount Work mountain biking park. The Capital Regional District approved its regional parks mountain biking guidelines and a list of short-term actions at the CRD board’s May 12 meeting. (Black Press Media File Photo)
CRD approves mountain biking guidelines that drove spoke between advocates, environmentalists

Guidelines aim to find new biking opportunites in region, while protecting park ecology

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The Nanaimo Timbermen and Victoria Shamrocks compete in Western Lacrosse Association action in Nanaimo during the 2019 season. (News Bulletin file photo)
WLA cancels another senior A lacrosse season due to COVID-19

Western Lacrosse Association, Major Series Lacrosse announce cancellation of Mann Cup

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie is making a comeback this summer

Excitement in the industry is growing again for a return to a big-screen normal

Most Read