For a second day in a row, National Energy Board hearings on the Energy East pipeline project have been postponed in Montreal.
The delay comes after three protesters were arrested after, what the NEB calls a “violent disruption,” at the start of the hearing Monday as protestors stormed into the meeting.
Michal Moore, an Energy Economist at the University of Calgary, says when a hearing is disrupted it can be adjourned for a few minutes while the situation is resolved, but it is rarely cancelled.
“It is unprecedented, in my experience, to have a chairman of a hearing cancel something because of a protest that was not invited or specifically allowed in the hearings,” explains Moore.
Moore thinks these kind of hearings should not be targeted by protestors.
“This process, which is quasi-judicial in nature, is not a policy hearing,” explains Moore. “It is not about, what ought we to be doing, the regulators are there because the law directs them to be there based on facts and based on expert testimony.”
Moore says speakers have to register if they want to make a statement at these hearings and the protesters are going about their cause the wrong way.
“For the people who are going to testify in a hearing basically, they apply for a permission to be an intervener or if they are a stakeholder they are invited in to offer their opinion or evidence, they get a time limit, and they present oral and written arguments about what they think is happening with this specific project,” explains Moore.
The hearings were set for all week in Montreal before moving on to Quebec City the week of October 3rd.
Many environmentalists, First Nations groups and some provincial politicians have been very vocal about their opposition to the Energy East pipeline, which would take crude from Alberta to New Brunswick. (twd, Newstalk770)