Province of BC won’t provide witnesses for Gateway Joint Review hearings

The province of British Columbia has told the Northern Gateway Joint Review that it will not provide witnesses for cross-examination during the questioning phase of the hearings.

That announcement came today, June 12, 2012, in a letter from Christopher Jones, lawyer for the province, saying that since the province “did not adduce evidence in this proceeding, it would not be presenting witnesses for cross-examination.”

The letter also suggests that those who have questions on the provincial role in the Enbridge Northern Gateway “to contact counsel for the JRP and Northern Gateway for clarification.”

The letter means that the province still has no input into the process concerning one of the largest industrial projects in BC history.

On May 10, 2012, in an story by Canadian Press reporter Dirk Meissner BC environment minister Terry Lake said the province would stay out:

B.C.’s environment minister acknowledges he’s feeling the pressure to take a stand on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, but he says his government is determined to keep quiet until federal environmental reviews are completed.

Environment Minister Terry Lake said Thursday the province’s silence on the pipeline decision created a demand for clarity that the government was willing to withstand.

But he added: “We feel the pressure, of course we do, but it’s not responsible to take a position before all that evidence is before us and then we can make the best decision in the interests of all British Columbians.”

On Monday, Global TV’s Keith Baldry asked premier Christy Clark why the province is keeping out of the Joint Review Process. In her response, Clark repeated the provincial position that her government would not take a position on the pipeline and tanker project until the conclusion of the JRP. (Video of the item is not on the Global website).

In late May, the province told the Joint Review Panel it would not provide answers to questions from the Kitimat environment group Douglas Channel Watch about items that DCW felt was in provincial jurisdiction.

Province of BC Response to Procedural Conference Draft Report  (pdf)