Council of Canadians calls on government to remove three panel members
Ottawa, ON – The National Energy Board (NEB) “Modernization” process should be suspended immediately in light of new conflicts of interest, says the Council of Canadians in a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr this morning.
“It is mind-boggling that three out of five of the appointed members of the NEB have pre-existing ties to the oil industry,” says Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Climate and Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Conflicts of interest are at the heart of the current NEB confidence crisis, and by failing to address them Prime Minister Trudeau is setting himself up for another major broken promise. The government committed to a process to reform the NEB to fix its problems, but instead it is trying to set up a biased process that we can’t trust.”
The Council’s letter calls for three of the five members of the expert panel be removed, namely Brenda Kenny (former president of Canadian Energy Pipeline Association), Gary Merasty (current board member of the Canada West Foundation), and Hélène Lauzon (chair of the Quebec Business Council on the Environment). Both the Canada West Foundation and the Quebec Business Council on the Environment are staunchly pro-pipeline, raising questions of bias.
“It is completely outrageous that someone like Brenda Kenny, who worked for 10 years at the NEB and then spent eight years as president of a major pipeline lobby association, was appointed to this NEB pipeline review panel,” says Cayley-Daoust. “This revolving door of influence always ends up favouring industry and that is exactly what a reform of the NEB should prevent.”
“These conflicts of interest continue to ensure that no one will be taken seriously unless you espouse the same views as the oil industry trying to sell its product,” says Cayley-Daoust. “Indigenous rights, accessible information, evidence-based policy, public participation and removal of conflict of interest are still on the line and no one should trust this panel to make decisions that are in the public interest.”