Economic analysis

Ottawa apparently sees the NEB as a friend of the oil industry

Canada’s nominally independent energy regulator, the National Energy Board (which is currently evaluating Enbridge’s plan to build the Northern Gateway pipeline) is an ally of the federal government, according to an embarrassing official policy paper that was made public on Thursday. First Nations, on the other hand, are an adversary.

Greenpeace just published pages of documents obtained by the Climate Action Network through a freedom of information request. They show the NEB listed among entities Ottawa considers to be allies in its struggle to promote oil sands abroad. In an adjacent column on the same piece of paper, First Nations appear under “adversaries.”  The documents were drafted by Canada’s international trade ministry, and they lay out an advocacy strategy to combat criticism of Canada’s oil sands in the European Union.

Frantic efforts to contain the damage are already underway. The international trade ministry let it be known it does “not agree with the characterizations;” the NEB protested that it is “free from influence;” and Environment Minister Peter Kent is crying out loud against the unfortunate paper’s “gross mischaracterization of reality.” Still, for Ottawa this remains a big, slippery black stain.

Read the documents for yourself below:

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