Joint Review Panel issues venues, rules for oral statement phase of Gateway hearings

The Northern Gateway Joint Review panel has announced the venues and the rules for the oral statements phase of the pipeline hearings, tentatively scheduled to begin in November 2012.

Procedural Directive #5 defines what is an oral statement. Those rules appear to be somewhat looser than the continuing controversy over the current “community hearings” where intervenors are permitted to talk about traditional or personal knowledge, but not allowed to make any technical or legal arguments on the pipeline project itself. Panel chair Sheila Leggett has to keep telling the intervenors that those arguments will be heard during the final argument phase, tentatively scheduled for April 2013.  The panel has also scheduled a “questioning phase” in September and October 2012, where “where the applicant, intervenors, government participants and the Panel will question those who have presented oral or written evidence. ”

The oral statements must still be based “on personal knowledge.” That means, the panel directive says, unlike presentations by intervenors, visual aids, including electronic presentations such as PowerPoint, will not be permitted.

The communities so far chosen to hear oral statements are

    • Bella Bella, BC
    • Hartley Bay, BC
    • Prince Rupert, BC
    • Bella Coola, BC
    • Hazelton, BC
    • Skidegate, BC
    • Burns Lake, BC
    • Kelowna, BC
    • Smithers, BC
    • Calgary, AB
    • Kitamaat Village, BC
    • Terrace, BC
    • Comox, BC
    • Klemtu, BC
    • Vancouver, BC
    • Edmonton, AB
    • Old Massett, BC
    • Victoria, BC
    • Fort St. James, BC
    • Port Hardy, BC
    • Grande Prairie, AB
    • Prince George, BC

The JPR defines oral statements this way:

An oral statement is an opportunity for registered participants to provide their personal knowledge, views and concerns regarding the proposed Project to the Panel in their own words during the community hearings. Oral statements are brief and limited to a maximum of 10 minutes. Your oral statement should describe the nature of your interest in the application and provide any relevant information that explains or supports your statement.

People who registered by the Oct. 6. 2011 and who are not intervenors may make an oral statement. They are required to make the statement themselves and cannot be represented. No “walk-ins’ will be permitted.

Like the presentations by intervenors, the witnesses will be under oath. No questions will be permitted except questions of clarification from the panel itself.


Panel-Commission Procedural Direction 5 Community Hearings for Oral Statements  (pdf)