B.C. government refuses to file response to lawsuit challenging ethics of Kinder Morgan pipeline approval – claims it’s improper to name the government as a respondent

Groups apply to court for order requiring Premier Clark and government to respond to lawsuit

Groups also add to the lawsuit record $82,505 in donations made in 2016 by pipeline-connected companies to the B.C. Liberals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, April 10, 2017

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch and the PIPE UP Network applied to the B.C. Supreme Court for an order requiring the B.C. government, Premier Christy Clark, Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman to respond to their lawsuit challenging the ethics of the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline (in addition to the application, affidavit 1 and affidavit 2 were filed).

Premier Clark and the ministers are refusing to respond because they claim they have been improperly named in the lawsuit.

The application is the next step in Democracy Watch and PIPE UP’s lawsuit that alleges Premier Clark and the ministers were in an apparent conflict of interest when they approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in January because of the more than $550,000 donated by pipeline-connected companies to the B.C. Liberal Party in the past five years.

In their court filing today, Democracy Watch and PIPE UP also listed an additional $82,505 in donations made in 2016 by pipeline-connected companies to the B.C. Liberals, bringing the total donations to more than $630,000.

Premier Clark’s conflict of interest was compounded by the fact that she benefited personally from the donations as she received a $50,000 salary each year from the party – a total salary of $300,000 – during the same years the donations were made.

On March 16, 2017, Democracy Watch and PIPE UP applied to the B.C. Supreme Court for an order requiring the B.C. Liberal Party to disclose all the fundraising activities Kinder Morgan and pipeline-connected companies were involved in during the past five years with the Party, activities that create an apparent conflict of interest that would prohibit Premier Clark and the ministers from deciding the pipeline approval.

“Premier Clark and the B.C. Liberal government can run but they can’t hide from the law, and we hope the courts will require the government to respond to the allegations in our lawsuit,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “We also hope the courts will order the Liberals to disclose details they have been hiding about all the fundraising activities pipeline-connected companies have helped the Liberals with since 2012.”

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Duff Conacher, Democracy Watch, Cell: 416-546-3443

Jason Gratl, legal counsel, Tel: 604-317-1919

Lynn Perrin, PIPE UP Network, Tel: 604-309-9369

Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Campaign and Money in Politics Campaign