NEB Announcing Trans Mountain Oral Traditional Evidence Sessions, Nov/Dec

Ottawa/Calgary/Nanaimo/Victoria (with files from NEB/CP) – On October 12, the National Energy Board announced that it planned to hold oral traditional evidence sessions in late-November/early-December at a location or locations on Vancouver Island, as part of the Trans Mountain review as prescribed by the Federal Government.

It also asked Indigenous intervenors that wish to provide oral traditional evidence to notify the Board of their intent to do so by October 23 (Notices of Intent).

In their Notices of Intent, Indigenous intervenors had the opportunity to provide any other information they thought the Board should consider regarding the process for gathering oral traditional evidence.

Thirty-one Indigenous intervenors provided Notices of Intent.

These groups or individuals from Canada and the U.S. are scheduled to participate and the hearings will be held in Calgary the week of November 19, in Victoria the week of November 26 and in Nanaimo, the week of December 3.

The Stó:lō Collective said that, during the OH-001-2014 Certificate hearing, it had objected to the process used by the Board to collect oral Indigenous traditional evidence and chose not to provide such evidence during that proceeding. The Stó:lō Collective objects to the oral traditional evidence process for this Reconsideration hearing, but still wishes to provide it. The Stó:lō Collective’s concerns include:

i) Timing: The rushed pace of the Reconsideration hearing has truncated the oral traditional evidence process in a manner that the Stó:lō Collective considers culturally insensitive and procedurally unfair.

ii) Intellectual property: The lack of proper safeguards for intellectual property and confidential and culturally-sensitive information that may be shared during the oral traditional evidence sessions.

iii) Cross-examination: It is not customary, nor appropriate, to question Elders’ expression of traditional knowledge.

The Federal government ordered the energy board to review the marine impacts and submit a report no later than February 22, 2019.

The Federal Court of Appeal struck down the federal government’s approval of the project in August, citing inadequate Indigenous consultation and the energy board’s failure to review the project’s impacts on the marine environment.

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