Meeting between Charest and NEB: McKenna does not interfere

ministre-environnement-catherine-mckennaThe environment minister, Catherine McKenna, invites the public to trust the energy project assessment process as that of Energy East, whose integrity has recently been tainted.

At a press conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Tuesday, the minister refused to respond directly to new revelations surrounding the National Energy Board (NEB), the body responsible for conducting consultations on the proposed TransCanada .

The National Observer revealed last Friday that the NEB Chair and two of its commissioners have actually met in January 2015 the former Prime Minister Jean Charest, while the latter acting as a consultant for TransCanada.

The NEB, which had initially denied that the meeting had taken place, has apologized to the online news site, pleading honest mistake. The director of the agency communications, Craig Loewen, argued that there was “evil intent” behind the original response.

Minister McKenna did not seem to want to get involved on Tuesday, merely argue that Canadians should have confidence in their institutions and in the 21st century, without this confidence, resources will go to the markets.

NEB hearings were set in motion Monday morning in New Brunswick. From the outset, the promoters of East Energy project tried to make reassuring about the safety of pipeline transport and the ability of the Alberta company to respond quickly in case of accident.

Hearings will be held from 29 August to 2 September in Montreal, then from 3 to 7 October in Quebec. The recommendations of the Office must be submitted by March 16, 2018 the federal cabinet, which will then decide in this controversial and highly political issue.

Councillor Jean Charest at McCarthy Tetrault, Gregory Larroque, was not available Tuesday to respond to new National Observer’s revelations.

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