Enbridge today filed a motion with the Northern Gateway Joint Review hearings asking that the Member of Parliament for Skeena Bulkley Valley, Nathan Cullen, also a candidate for the NDP leadership, local MLA Gary Coons and others, including the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation, be barred from speaking more than 10 minutes before the hearings in Prince Rupert scheduled for Friday and Saturday of this week.
Related: Coons says Enbridge is trying to “silence voices of the north coast”
It also appears from the motion filed by Enbridge that it seeks to limit the time before the panel both at Prince Rupert and in the future by any intervenor who is not aboriginal to just 10 minutes.
Enbridge’s letter to the JRP says:
The Joint Review Panel (“Panel”) has Community Hearings scheduled in Prince Rupert, British Columbia on Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18, 2012. Northern Gateway anticipates that several individuals and organizations will appear, including: Mr. Gary Coons (MLA North Coast), Mr. Nathan Cullen (MP Skeena-Bulkley Valley), the Métis Nation of British Columbia, Metlakatla First Nation, T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, and the United Fisherman and Allied Workers Union.
In the Community Hearings to date, in Northern Gateway’s opinion, the majority of the oral evidence from non-Aboriginal participants has not met the criteria set out by the Panel in Procedural Direction #4. Many of the submissions have been in the nature of argument, or have addressed matters that were properly the subject of written evidence. There will be an opportunity to provide argument to the Panel in due course.
In addition to the written directions the Panel has already issued, Northern Gateway appreciates that the Panel continues to provide directions to intervenors regarding the nature of evidence that will assist the Panel in its opening remarks at each Community Hearing.
To further assist the parties and the efficiency of the process, Northern Gateway requests that the Panel consider limiting the time for oral evidence that is allocated to non-Aboriginal participants to 10 minutes each, unless the intervenor is able to justify additional time in accordance with Procedural Direction #4. Northern Gateway believes that this would allow the hearing in Prince Rupert to conclude on Friday, February 17th, while still enabling intervenors to provide oral evidence.
The January ruling that in the first round that panel would hold “Community Hearings” has caused anger and confusion ever since the hearings began in Kitimat on January 10. The panel concentrates hearing “traditional knowledge” from aboriginal participants and “local knowledge” from non-aboriginal, but cut off all witnesses whenever they stray into what the panel considers arguments, saying they will have an opportunity to make those arguments at some unspecified time in the future set aside for final arguments.
(more to come)