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BURNABY - There's still no place for the public at the National Energy Board's public hearings on Kinder Morgan's pipeline plan.
Today half a dozen members of that public demanded their constitutional Charter rights to attend the live hearings in Burnaby. They were stopped by NEB staff outside the cavernous hearings room despite their arguments on the "open courts principle".
Earlier attempts to witness the hearings first hand have also been rebuffed by the NEB, with security and RCMP hovering in the background. Today the self-identified Members of the Canadian Public argued that closing the hearings to the public based on a "potential threat" of disruption at the hearings is unfounded and unproven, making it potentially unlawful.
The BC Civil Liberties Association has also tried to get the hearings truly public, arguing that "the Board is legally a court and like the courts it has a duty to make its hearings open and physically accessible. Telling people they can watch online just isn't good enough."
The NEB hearings manager barring the way said one of the reasons the public wasn't invited was because all the more than 200 intervenors might just show up at once. She also said the Act governing the NEB would have to be changed.
Today's locked out public say they are now considering their options including filing a motion petitioning the Board to reconsider its order to close the process. Meanwhile, the hearings room sits almost completely empty while the flawed Harper-created review process plays out.
Watch Devin Gillan's video of this morning's verbal confrontation.