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Supreme Court of Canada declines to hear constitutional appeal on pipelines and climate

Rally today 4pm

Supreme Court of Canada declines to hear constitutional appeal on pipelines and climate


September 11, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada declines to hear constitutional appeal of NEB decision to preclude climate change evidence from NEB hearings

VANCOUVER: Today, the Supreme Court declined to rule on the legal challenge of concerned citizens regarding the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline. The ruling affects the proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion that would twin the pipeline and triple the capacity for Alberta bitumen intended for Asian markets. Following its custom, the Court gave no reasons for refusing leave to appeal. The effect of the Court’s decision is that the NEB may exclude participants or limit the evidence in its hearings.

A small group of individuals including Eric Doherty, John Vissers, John Clarke, Ruth Walmsley, Shirley Samples, Tzeporah Berman and Bradley Shende initiated this appeal. Their concern is that the most critical objection to the new Trans Mountain pipeline, the impact of climate change, is relevant and should be considered in NEB hearings. To date, all meaningful consideration of climate change has been specifically prohibited in NEB hearings.

"I am heartbroken; the tears have not stopped since I heard the news of this refusal. It is one of the saddest days in Canadian history. The Supreme Court of Canada sided with Big Oil today with the decision to refuse to hear the challenge of the constitutionality of the NEB’s decisions”, says Shirley Samples, one of the plaintiffs. “The Supreme Court has failed the Canadian people, and it has failed to uphold democracy in Canada. The Court has failed to bring justice to a corrupt system that is being manipulated by the oil giants of Texas, Asia and the Conservative government."

Over 450 people who applied were refused the right to even submit a Letter of Comment containing their views on the mega-Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion project. Many others were denied the right to speak at the hearings.

"The message that this failure of the Canadian justice system presents," adds Ruth Walmsley, "is that environmental activists and concerned citizens alike cannot count on institutionalized channels to deal with the most critical issue of the day…we have learned that people will have to take to the streets to stop corporations and governments unwilling to listen to the will of the people on the climate crisis."

To that end, Samples and Walmsley will be present at a demonstration tomorrow (Friday, September 11-4pm) at Terminal Avenue and Main Street and are calling on all who are concerned about climate change to join them. " We need a change in government, and a climate movement as big as the 60s civil rights movement to address the threat of climate change," says Samples.

What: Time to Hit the Streets; Where: Terminal Avenue & Main Street; When: Friday, 11, Sept. – 4pm)

Shirley Samples: 604-614-9814
Eric Doherty: 604 346 6994


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