Politics

Trudeau sidesteps question about Energy East pipeline controversy

Justin Trudeau sidestepped a question Saturday when asked about concerns over the independence of the National Energy Board hearings into the Energy East oil pipeline project. Hearings into the controversial project were suspended last week after the federal regulatory body received motions calling for the resignation of two panel members.

Hearings into the project were suspended last week amid concerns over the independence of panel members

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answers questions from the media during a news conference in Hangzhou, China on Sept. 3, 2016. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Justin Trudeau sidestepped a question Saturday when asked about concerns over the independence of the National Energy Board hearings into the Energy East oil pipeline project.

Hearings into the controversial project were suspended last week after the federal regulatory body received motions calling for the resignation of two panel members.

The motions were filed after a news report revealed the two members met in early 2015 with ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest, who was at the time a paid lobbyist for TransCanada, the company behind the project.

When asked directly about the controversy at a news conference in Hangzhou, China, Trudeau did not refer to the specific case and spoke in general terms about the hearings process.

The prime minister says his Liberal party vowed to establish clear processes to ensure Ottawa earns the public's trust for projects that will boost the economy and protect the environment.

Panel members are supposed to be independent as they oversee the public hearings and prepare a final report for Parliament on whether Ottawa should move forward with the project.

now