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Attorney General in court Monday arguing Premier didn’t approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Lawsuit alleges Premier Clark, and ministers Coleman and Polak, were biased by $645,000 in donations by pipeline companies to B.C. Liberal Party

PIPE UP and Democracy Watch in BC Supreme Court on June 26, 2017 asking for production of process for concluding that $1 Billion Kinder Morgan Revenue Sharing Agreement with Province satisfied “Five Conditions for Pipeline Approval”

Friday, June 23, 2017

VANCOUVER – This Monday, June 26, 2017, Democracy Watch and PIPE UP Network will be in the B.C. Supreme Court for the next step in their lawsuit that alleges the decision to approve the Kinder Morgan Pipeline was tainted by $645,000 paid by Kinder Morgan pipeline-connected companies to the B.C. Liberal Party in the past five years. The $645,000, plus the Premier’s salary paid by the BC Liberal Party, caused a reasonable apprehension that Premier Clark’s participation in the decision-making process was biased.

“Incredibly, Premier Clark is pretending she didn’t participate in any way in her government’s approval of Kinder Morgan pipeline in an attempt to dodge the issue that the approval was biased by $645,000 in donations from pipeline-connected companies to the B.C. Liberal Party, part of which she received in her $50,000 annual salary from the party,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “Is Premier Clark actually trying to deny that she stood in front of the cameras in 2012 and announced her five conditions for pipeline approval, and that she announced last November the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal had not yet met her five conditions, and that she announced in January that her government had approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline because her five conditions had been met?”

“The Premier’s role in imposing the five conditions on the Kinder Morgan approval and deciding that the five conditions were satisfied is part of the administrative process and forms a critical aspect of the decision-making context that must be assessed in determining whether the Kinder Morgan approval was tainted by bias,” said Jason Gratl, counsel for PIPE UP and Democracy Watch.

Premier Clark gave two press conferences in which she took personal responsibility for the Kinder Morgan pipeline approval and the five conditions, one on November 30, 2016 and the other on January 11, 2017.

On November 30, 2016, the Province’s press release quoted Premier Clark as saying “any heavy oil project must meet the five conditions.” In her press conference held the same day, the Premier stated that the fifth condition had not been met and repeatedly took personal responsibility for ensuring that the five conditions are met, saying: “I haven’t changed my position on this project one iota from the very beginning… I have said from the very beginning that the Five Conditions are the path to getting to yes… What British Columbians expect is that their Premier is going to stand up, fight to protect our Province, find the balance between economy and jobs… I’ve been fighting to make sure we get there for British Columbians.” Premier Clark closed the press conference by saying, “My job is to make sure it’s met the five conditions.”

At the press conference held on January 11, 2017, Premier Clark was asked by Justine Hunter of the Globe and Mail how a deal could be reached in the space of an hour-and-a-half if negotiations on the agreement did not form part of the environmental assessment process (presumably between the government’s press releases issued that day at 1:30 p.m. (about the environmental assessment) and 3:00 p.m. (about the five conditions)). In response, Premier Clark stated, “Well, we have been working over the past four-and-a-half-years, talking to Kinder Morgan about how this could potentially be structured. The money part of it is the least hard, I guess. The ocean spills protection side of it was the hardest to nail down. All of these things though have been under discussion at some level between governments and the proponents for some years now.”

“The real question,” observed Lynn Perrin, a PIPE UP director, “is what a reasonable person would think when asked, ‘Did the Premier get the best deal for British Columbia? Would the Premier have negotiated a better deal or no deal at all if she and the Liberal Party had not received $645,000 from Kinder Morgan and related companies?’”

To see a summary of the arguments PIPE UP and Democracy Watch will make on Monday, click here (PDF), and to see the full arguments click here (PDF).

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
[email protected]

Jason Gratl, Gratl and Company, Tel: 604-317-1919

Lynn Perrin, PIPE UP, Tel: 604-309-9369
Email: [email protected]

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