Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Flawed

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Flawed

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Flawed

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published Jan. 24:

Nathan Cullen is right that the Canadian environmental assessment process needs to be fixed, but not for the reasons he says it should.

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP argues that the joint review panel looking into the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline didn't properly consider the interests of First Nations before recommending the federal government approve the pipeline, so long as pipeline developer Enbridge meets more than 200 conditons.

Cullen's criticism is not of the review process itself but of the conclusion this specific panel reached. First Nations and environmental groups celebrated the negative findings of the environmental assessment into the proposed New Prosperity mine near Williams Lake, while mine developer Taseko Mines and supporters like Dick Harris, who sits with the governing Conservatives on the other side of the House of Commons from Cullen, questioned the legitimacy of the review.

Like the environmental groups and First Nations who have applied to the federal court for a judicial review of the Northern Gateway report, Taseko has filed its own application demanding a legal review.

Two different rulings but the losing side has reacted in the exact same way and has made the exact same argument.

The process is flawed, the review didn't look at this piece of evidence, it failed to take this other evidence in consideration, it didn't consult enough with this group or that group, blahblahblah.

It's guaranteed that Enbridge would have filed a legal motion for a review if the joint review panel had recommended against building Northern Gateway and the Tsilhqot'in National Government would have got its lawyer busy if the New Prosperity panel had recommended approval of the mine.

It's clear that opposing sides of these environmental reviews only want the process fixed when the decision goes against their stance.

The real problem with the federal environmental review process is the legal uncertainty that surrounds the recommendations it makes to the environment minister. …

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