Indigenous engagement on Energy East to be the focus of new 4-person NEB team

The National Energy Board is dedicating a four-person team to make contact with Indigenous people and the general public about the Energy East pipeline over the next six weeks.

Group looks to gather oral traditional evidence and feedback through contemporary online means

The members of the engagement team, from top left: Alain Jolicoeur, Damien Côté, Wilma Jacknife and Ronald Durelle. (National Energy Board/Canadian Press)

The National Energy Board is dedicating a four-person team to make contact with Indigenous people and the general public about the Energy East pipeline over the next six weeks.

The team will work independently from the hearing panel that is leading the regulatory assessment of Energy East.

Its main goal will be to "engage with many of the more than 200 groups of Indigenous peoples who may be impacted by the projects," the NEB said Monday in a release.

"One of the key aspects of these discussions will be to identify the best ways to collect oral traditional evidence."

The team plans to gather feedback through face-to-face meetings as well as an online platform, where all Canadians are invited to provide input.

The proposed 4,500-kilometre Energy East pipeline would carry more than a million barrels a day of Canadian crude from Alberta to refineries and export terminals in Atlantic Canada.

The proposed 4,500-kilometre Energy East pipeline would carry more than a million barrels a day of Canadian crude from Alberta to refineries and export terminals in Atlantic Canada. (The Canadian Press)

The four members of the team are:

  • Alain Jolicoeur — A former public servant with 35 years of work in various roles, including as president of the Canada Border Services Agency and deputy minister of Indian and Northern Affairs.​
  • Damien Côté — Chief operating officer of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and former executive director of the Nunavut Water Board.
  • Wilma Jacknife — A lawyer with more than 15 years experience specializing in First Nations governance and various aspects of Indigenous law.
  • Ronald Durelle — A former assistant deputy minister in various New Brunswick government departments relating to health and the environment.

​The engagement team will collect information until July 15 that will be presented on the official record for the hearing panel to consider.