The Trans Mountain ruling was a fiasco – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – September 5, 2018)

Just two days before the devastating Federal Court of Appeal’s decision last week that cast the Trans Mountain pipeline project into limbo, the federal minister of natural resources was sure that all was well.

“We are very confident that we have done extensive consultation,” Amarjeet Sohi told the Calgary Herald’s Chris Varcoe. “We went beyond what the NEB [National Energy Board] has done. We took six months extra to consult with Indigenous communities and affected communities on the route.”

So much for that. The judges weren’t impressed. In a 263-page decision , the court found the federal government had not adequately consulted each of six First Nations that had challenged the project. Nor had it considered the role of tanker traffic on the killer whale population.

And with that, the court consigned the whole project into limbo until these deficiencies are remedied. Construction halted immediately. As First Nations and environmental groups celebrated their stunning victory, a furious Rachel Notley pulled out of her climate deal with Ottawa. Everything the Alberta Premier had fought for had just gone down in flames — including her re-election hopes.

Meantime, as Ottawa tries to figure out what to do next, it looks spectacularly incompetent. It owns a $4.5-billion pipeline that as of now does not have a valid permit to go ahead. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s master climate strategy has turned to ashes, too.

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