Saturday, January 05, 2013

When Is a Public Hearing Not a Public Hearing?

Can you call something a "public hearing" when you refuse admission to the sitting Member of Parliament for the area you're holding your meeting?

Newly-minted Victoria NDP MP Murray Rankin was left wondering just that after he was denied access to the Northern Gateway hearings now underway in Victoria.

Rankin wasn't elected yet by the time the deadline for submissions to the Potemkin Village environmental hearings closed.

Vic Times Colonist columnist Les Leyne said the whole security thing was a bit much:

The federal review hearing into the Northern Gateway pipeline at the Delta Ocean Pointe was just like going back to first-year university at Carleton.

It was full of attractive communications women and all they did was say no — in both official languages.

“Can I interview the panel?”


“Can I sit here?”


“Can Victoria MP Murray Rankin come in?”


Even their hotel room number was kept confidential for a while (which triggered more flashbacks). The fear was that the public hearing would be interrupted by members of the public — specifically, the anarcho-enviro fringe that sometimes hangs around the edges of such things.

The exercise is a joint effort between the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

They’ve staged hearings the length and breadth of B.C. and Alberta. But the Victoria show was the most clenched, uptight production so far.

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