The Canadian Press is reporting that the National Energy Board has suspended future hearings into TransCanada's Energy East pipeline project. Hearings will resume after the federal regulatory body rules on motions demanding two of its three panel members resign.
The motions were filed by environmental groups, claiming the two NEB members acted improperly and damaged the board’s credibility when they met in advance of the Montreal hearings with former Quebec premier Jean Charest. Apparently, Mr. Charest was acting as a consultant for TransCanada at the time. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has expressed similar concerns.
The NEB members also met with Mr. Coderre and the environmental group Equiterre, outspoken opponents of Energy East. So readers might well wonder why Mr. Coderre and environmentalists have only expressed their concern about the NEB’s meeting with Mr. Charest.
We see this sort of hypocrisy all too frequently with politicians and environmentalists. Mr. Coderre, readers will remember, has already earned a reputation as a great environmentalist with his decision last fall to dump eight billion litres of Montreal’s raw sewage into the St. Lawrence.
During his stint in federal politics, Denis Coderre was seen widely as a light-weight who loved publicity stunts to puff himself up. During the 2006 election campaign he had a much-publicized dust-up with NHL star Shane Doan over a slur against a francophone referee. In 2007 there was his self-serving trip to Afghanistan. After failing to advance in Ottawa, he went into municipal politics. Now he seems to have latched on to the Energy East project to keep his name front-and-centre in media coverage.
Denis Coderre and the environmentalists are not really interested in hearing evidence about safety measures, routing and many other considerations that might be presented at the hearings. Even before the hearings started, they have been condemning the project. These folk will never be satisfied until they have forced a decision to keep Canada’s oil and gas in the ground. That’s their real goal and they’ll go to great—even illegal—lengths if they believe their tactics will coerce such a decision.