Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Trudeau's Stacked Deck

Did the Trudeau government rig the approval of Kinder-Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline?

Vancouver-based, National Observer, has an 8-part report that the Trudeau government's approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline was rigged, a pre-ordained set up, with public servants ordered to submit findings that supported the pipeline. Quelle surprise!

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr assured National Observer in an April 19 interview that the government had fulfilled its duty to First Nations through a “considerably broadened and deepened consultation” designed to address mistakes made by the previous Harper government in its reviews and oversight of major energy projects. 
...Sources from within different federal departments, however, provide a different perspective about how the Trans Mountain review happened.
Their allegation is serious: that the process was rigged following lobbying by Kinder Morgan. 
Following these industry discussions, the government decided to shorten the timeline on an expanded review of the pipeline, promised by Trudeau’s Liberals during the 2015 election campaign.

Government insiders say the instructions given a few months later — to find a way to approve the expansion — were explicit. Public servants were never asked to prepare for the possibility that the government might reject the pipeline, they explain, or restart the federal review using a new and improved process that Trudeau himself had promised.
...National Observer has reviewed internal correspondence involving at least two federal government departments that confirm public servants were directed to find a way to approve Kinder Morgan’s pipeline. 
Other internal documents, released through access to information legislation, show that some public servants pushed back and warned the government that the process was “moving fast,” comparing it to the mistakes that led to the failure of another west coast pipeline, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, National Observer reported on April 13.
...Based on this requirement, the courts have the power to reverse the government’s approval of Trans Mountain and force it to restart its efforts to consult affected First Nations. It’s a process that could drag on for months or years, leading Kinder Morgan to cancel its project. The company has already threatened to abandon the pipeline after May 31 due to ongoing uncertainty about opposition it faces from the B.C. government. 
But it’s not known whether the courts would consider any new evidence on appeal.
Harper's Team Now Doing Justin's Heavy Lifting.
...By late October 2016 — one month before the project’s approval — a high-ranking public servant, then-associate deputy minister Erin O’Gorman of the Major Projects Management Office (MPMO), convened more than a dozen public servants from multiple departments to a special meeting to discuss the last steps in the project review. The MPMO is an interdepartmental office set up by the former Harper government in 2007 to speed up the federal review of major projects and make them more efficient.

“I also think she just wants to rally the interdepartmental team a bit as we draw down the clock on the existing timeline for decisions,” wrote a Crown consultations lead in an Oct. 26, 2016 email to colleagues regarding O’Gorman’s invitation. 
Right before their internal meeting, federal officials met with Tsleil-Waututh representatives and told them that the government still hadn’t made a final decision on the project. But in the second meeting for government staffers only, public servants who were in the room said O’Gorman’s instructions were explicit. 
“We have to give cabinet a legally-sound basis for saying yes,” O’Gorman said, according to people at the meeting.
...National Observer identified and contacted public servants at each federal organization represented at the meeting based on copies of an email invitation released through access to information legislation.
Apart from the ones who confirmed O’Gorman’s instructions, some said they didn’t attend the whole meeting and weren’t able to confirm what O’Gorman said, while others referred questions to the media relations offices at their departments. 
None of the six federal organizations contacted by National Observer denied that O’Gorman had instructed the public servants to find a way to approve the project. The public servants who confirmed O’Gorman’s comments also noted that they were never asked to provide advice to support a possible rejection of the pipeline. They said they were only asked to work toward getting the project approved.

I've taken a few hours to let the reality of these reports sink in. I'm appalled that no one in Trudeau's government is even attempting to deny Ms. O'Gorman's role in directing senior public servants to covertly put their thumb on the scale to skew the opinions that Trudeau & Company needed to support their prejudgment in favour of the pipeline.

These public servants are just that, servants of the country. Governments come and go but they soldier on in service to Canada. They are in service to British Columbians as much as they are to the people of any other province. To rig that consultation process is an act of corruption. To tell those public servants to find a way to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline and only that is to deny British Columbia the even hand of its federal government.

We know that Trudeau is a liar, a chronic liar. We know that he'll say whatever he thinks people need to hear to win their votes. We know that he'll make promises he simply cannot be counted on to keep. We know that his word is worthless. This is not a man of integrity and, without integrity, what sort of a prime minister do we have? It's a prime minister who now looks remarkably like the one he displaced and didn't we richly despise that one? Even his resource minister, Jim Carr, is becoming indistinguishable from Harper stooge, Joe Oliver.

Whether these revelations are enough at this late stage for a court to upend Trudeau's corrupt review process and send them back to square one, they're certainly enough to reject this government's legitimacy on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Trudeau might need a lot more razor wire before this is over.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of an old saying, Mound, "Liberal, Tory same old story." Even Ontario's former high-school-dropout education minister gets it:

You don’t have to be an Einstein to notice that the Trudeau Liberals have adopted many of the Harper government policies they so despised when they where in opposition.

From climate change targets to not adopting the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people, the new, more congenial and certainly more photogenic Trudeau government has largely stayed the course set by dowdy old Stephen Harper.

As an aside, Snobelin is the only guy I've ever heard of who was charged with possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition and walked away with an absolute discharge! Who says the law treats old and young, white and black, rich and poor the same?


the salamander said...

.. this one just stinks from any angle
and Justin Trudeau can wear it

Trailblazer said...

Just another example of the ,non existent, deep state!
Much like Premier John Horgan!
Are we just fooled easily or is there no point in voting?


The Mound of Sound said...

TB, I know how to vote and that's not to vote for the NDP either. The BC Greens, under-represented as we are, have to choose our fights. Horgan's NDP are consummate green washers. They opposed the Liberals' carbon tax, arguing it would cost their monster pickup truck driving constituents too much during their 2 hour, 8-cylinder turbo-charged commute to work in downtown Vancouver.

On the environment overall the BC NDP are not particularly distant from their BC Lib predecessors. Thank Loki that the Greens got a few seats in what might otherwise have been a draw.

Horgan is happily endorsing the BC coal industry and the haplessly fracked BC natural gas fields. That's all you need to know how sincere he is on Trans Canada without a Green knife to his throat.

The Greens are driving the controversy in this session of Parliament. They have no choice. If we lose on this corrupt, bitumen madness, we just might of well say "we've lost" and go on about other things.

Northern PoV said...

A good post, Mound, thanks.

How is the rest of the nation reacting to this scandal?
Demands for resignations?
Massive sign-up to Green & Orange?

Nope... they barely noticed at all.

I will give credit to NNW as they did run the Observer article in their main section. (It is still there but in the side-collection of older articles while other articles of the same vintage are still in the main body. Whether their ranking system is human (ideological) or algorithmic (based on clicks) it is disappointing.

No other outlets (that I can find) have run the story. Not even after N. Cullen raised it in QP.
The follow-up (Observer) article on Cullen's question and Trudeau's non-response didn't make NNW or appear anywhere beyond our 'progressive bubble'.

So on this one ...
"Whether these revelations are enough at this late stage for a court to upend Trudeau's corrupt review process and send them back to square one"
... please don't hold your breath.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Methinks that by installing all the floating barb-wire and getting the Crown to "criminalizing" the recent peaceful protests, while ignoring the real issues, the 'authorities' are asking for big trouble. The word 'provoke' comes to mind. If a passionate person is already risking criminal charges, they might decide that it's is worth the risk to escalate the fight.

Oka was a long way from a city and the indigenous folks there (unlike Vancouver) were not supported by the majority of their settler neighbours.

Anonymous said...

N PoV - Oka is close to Montreal and the Mohawk had the support of their neighbours. It was some politicians acting against the wishes of their electors that caused the problem.


Anonymous said...

That is not the only rigging going on. Anyone know the BP platform which was located in the Golf of Mexico is now being moved to the coast of Nova Scotia? It is an ongoing maneuver all over this country since at least 1949 and continues...only shareholders benefit. Anyong.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, Anyong, I'm pretty sure that quite a few of us know that. This post, however, is not about a drilling platform that will be drilling for conventional oil off Nova Scotia. This post is about a pipeline intended to convey 900,000 barrels of dilbit every day to the west coast and the process or lack of it behind the line's approval. One is not the same as the other which is why there's no mention of the drilling platform in this post.

Anonymous said...

However Mound, the lying will be the same. I was notified this was taking place by the "Counsel of Canadian". I went looking for information and couldn't find one darn thing regarding an announcement of this or anything else. It doesn't matter if it is the West Coast or the East Coast. The people living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have been against any drilling in the Bay of Fundy for years and then this happens. Why all the secrecy..it doesn't matter, the same Government doesn't care about this country from one end to the other. I hope I have made myself understood.