Where in the World are Public Hearings Not Open to the Public? Harperland of course.

Thousands protest the exclusion of the public from the Enbridge Northern Gateway hearings

Thousands of protesters greeted Northern Gateway 'public' hearings in Vancouver yesterday. They, the unwashed, were forced to stand and chant in the rain and snow outside the Wall Centre in downtown Vancouver. because in Harperland the public isn't allowed into public hearings.

Suresh Fernando, one of the protest organizers, said, "...presenters at the hearings can’t make reference, for example, to the oilsands and the bigger picture. You can only speak to issues relating to Enbridge. They’re constraining the dialogue.” Those who are allowed to speak had to apply 19 months ago and submit a summary of their presentation 6 months ago. Even those who were allowed to speak faced unannounced last minute restrictions. For instance Lori Waters, the scientific animator who “found” the 1,000 square kilometres of islands that were omitted from Enbridge's promotional video of the Northern Gateway pipeline, was one of the final presenters of the week last week in Victoria. At the last minute she was told by the panel she was not allowed to show the visual evidence of Enbidge's deceptive propaganda video despite the fact that it was in the submission that was accepted 6 months ago.

The BC Civil Liberties Association says that the exclusion of public from the Enbridge hearings is 'potentially unlawful'. "The National Energy Board has the powers of a court of law, it operates like a court and, like the courts, its hearings must be open, transparent and accessible," said Lindsay Lyster, President of the BCCLA. "Canadian courts and tribunals, such as the National Energy Board, are bound by law and the constitution to be open to the public so that the public can see how decisions that affect them are administered." But of course laws and courts don't matter anymore in Harperland.

In Harperland the ear of government hears only the slippery voices of the oil industry. That's why Harper refused to debate then rammed his autocratic Omnibus Bills C-38 and C-45 through. Harper's determination to serve his big oil backers at any cost is why thousands are in the street protesting, that's why the drums are pounding. Those protesters still believe the voices of the many can be heard above those of the favoured few here in Harperland, sure hope they're right.