The National Energy Board's restrictions on public hearings


Line 9 is an Enbridge pipeline running through the most populous part of the country. The National Energy Board's deliberations on a proposal to reverse its flow to carry Alberta oil involves Public Hearings. But acting on federal government orders, the NEB has a new process to pick which members of the public it will hear. Critics say that is meddling with democracy.

Sierra Club of Canada, John Bennett

Oil is black and oil is slippery, but mostly, oil is controversial. Enbridge wants to change the direction of the flow in one of its Ontario pipelines and it can't just turn the taps, public hearings must be convened.

The National Energy Board introduced a new screening process for people who want to comment on pipeline projects. It's a 15-page package, including up to ten pages of an application form to fill out and it's filled with the kind of language that makes eyelids droop with fatigue.

The Board says applicants don't have to answer every question and it will soon be available in an easier to use electronic form. But some see this as an attempt to suppress opposition.

John Bennett is the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada. He's concerned about the limitations around who can speak at the hearings on the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline. He joined us from Ottawa. 

enbridge-neb-line 9 map 400 px.jpgThe map above shows where Enbridge's Line 9 runs (NEB)

Professor of Energy Economics, Michal Moore

As we heard, the government wants to see a speedier, more efficient way to hear the thousands of individuals and groups who want to speak at these hearings. Our next guest tends to agree.

Michal Moore has heard his fair share of interveners at public consultations. In the mid-90s, he ran public hearings for the California Energy Commission. He's now a Professor of Energy Economics at the University of Calgary. We reached him in Calgary.

Professor of Political Science, David Kahane

Our next guest believes that meaningful public consultations don't necessarily need to cost taxpayers more time and money.

David Kahane is a professor of political science at the University of Alberta and the co-editor of the book Deliberative Democracy in Practice. He was in Edmonton.

This segment was produced by The Current's Vanessa Greco and Josh Bloch.

Last Word - Caregiver Tricky P song

Earlier on the show, we heard about the struggle many young people endure as caregivers to a sick or incapacitated loved one. It's more common than you'd expect.

Less than a year ago a Canadian initiative called, The CareGiverProject teamed up with a young rap artist Tricky P to do a song and video about young caregivers.

Tricky P. knows what he's singing about -- he too is a young caregiver. And he gets today's Last Word with his song "Lucky".

Other segments from today's show:

Anatomy of a foiled plot to attack a VIA Rail train

Jenna Cooper: The story of young caregivers

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