Nathan Cullen’s response to Northern Gateway’s request to limit speaking time

Ottawa

It is my duty, and right, as Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley to express and defend the views and interests of my constituents. I have spoken with constituents across Northwest British Columbia and most residents in the riding have expressed concerns regarding the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. It is for this reason that I decided to participate in the review process.

When assessing how best to participate, I chose to act as an intervenor, in part, because it offered more than 10 minutes to address the Panel. I am sure the Panel can appreciate that Skeena-Bulkley Valley is one of the largest federal ridings in Canada with diverse communities. Sharing my personal knowledge and breadth of experiences from over seven years representing and working with these communities cannot be done in 10 minutes or in writing. I therefore requested, and was granted, 45 minutes for oral evidence.

It was with grave concern that I read the letter submitted February 13, 2012 – a mere five days before I will speak to the Panel – requesting that non-Aboriginal participants giving oral evidence have their time limited to 10 minutes. I am shocked at such attempts to change the rules mid-hearings.

The letter from Mr. Ken MacDonald speaks to two separate issues, which, I would like to point out, are not correlated. Mr. MacDonald is asking that non-Aboriginal participants presenting oral evidence not stray from the guidelines set out in Procedural Direction #4. Requesting that all presenters follow this directive is a fair request. However limiting speaking time neither guarantees nor is necessary to ensure that presenters follow the guidelines.  I can therefore only read this request as an effort to silence, among others, elected officials.

The presenters must diligently ensure that their oral evidence is within the realms established by all Procedural Directions. I can assure you I have prepared my evidence with this in mind. The Panel has its set of tools that it can use to ensure that speakers do not stray from those directives and it should remain in the hands of the Panel to make such judgments.

I trust you will carefully consider my comments and request that you deny the request of Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Limited.

Nathan Cullen

- 30 –