Department of Justice: Cross-Examination is Vital in Kinder Morgan Hearing Otherwise evidence should be given “little weight”

City of Burnaby
Office of the Mayor
Derek R. Corrigan
Mayor

For Immediate Release

July 10, 2014

Department of Justice Agrees with Burnaby – Cross-Examination is Vital in Kinder Morgan Hearing Otherwise evidence should be given “little weight.”

Canada’s Department of Justice has told the Board evaluating Kinder Morgan’s pipeline application that evidence given without cross-examination should be rejected.

The DOJ letter comes in response to an application by Forest Ethics and others relating to the denial of freedom of expression by the NEB. In that application, the DOJ legal counsel seeks an order from the NEB allowing it to cross-examine the witnesses, or otherwise reject the evidence. The DOJ submission recognizes that cross-examination “serves a vital role” and without it “the Board will be reviewing only untested evidence” that should be given “little weight.”

The Department of Justice submission called for cross-examination, which its submission claimed is “termed ‘the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.’” The DOJ stated that without cross-examination, evidence would not have “adequate testing.” The letter echoes calls by the City of Burnaby for an oral hearing that includes cross examination on all evidence before the NEB – calls that have to date been ignored by the National Energy Board.

“It would be hypocritical of the federal government to claim it must be allowed to cross examine evidence on intervenor motions, but the NEB be allowed to accept Kinder Morgan’s evidence without any cross-examination” noted Burnaby’s legal counsel Greg McDade.

“The DOJ sees through the smoke-and-mirrors show of Kinder Morgan. And so do the people of Burnaby. When will the National Energy Board?” asked Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan. “Without cross-examination, Trans Mountain’s misinformation and half-truths must be rejected.”

Kinder Morgan failed to answer 62% of Burnaby’s 1,780 questions during the first round of Information Requests, compelling Burnaby to file 450 pages of motions seeking proper answers. For example, when asked what area of Burnaby would be at risk from a tank boil over, Kinder Morgan replied that it will prevent boil over events. When asked about where there have been corrosion pipeline leaks, Kinder Morgan stated the question is not relevant. When asked about permanent jobs in Burnaby, Kinder Morgan replied with preliminary estimates for the entire province.

“All of these responses appear designed to rob the public of necessary information, and would not stand up to cross-examination,” stated Mayor Corrigan. “Kinder Morgan is protected from a rigorous process, while the people of Burnaby are kept in the dark about the risks they face.”

The June 27 DOJ letter was written in response to a motion from numerous intervenors calling for a declaration that limits on public participation under the National Energy Board Act are unconstitutional.

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For further information, contact:
Office of the Mayor
604 294 7340

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