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.