Two companies pressing Canada’s federal government to approve requests for new pipelines have met privately with Liberal cabinet ministers or their senior officials more than once a week since the government was sworn in last October, DeSmog Canada reports.
“The concern is that corporations are able to purchase undue influence due to their ability to afford an army of lobbyists,” Kai Nagata, director of energy and democracy at the Vancouver-based Dogwood Initiative, told DeSmog.
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“The content of their lobbying, to my mind, has got to be pretty clear. They’re absolutely desperate to start construction.”
The activist blog reports that Enbridge, which is seeking a three-year extension of the deadline to begin construction on its approved Northern Gateway pipeline across central British Columbia, has had two meetings with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, two with Fisheries and Oceans Minister Hunter Tootoo, and one with Transport Minister Marc Garneau. The company met 15 more times with officials such as Janet Annesley, a former vice president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers who is now Carr’s chief of staff.
Since those meetings, DeSmog observes, the government has appeared to waver on a campaign promise to ban oil tanker traffic in the Canadian coastal waters off the pipeline’s proposed terminal at Kitimat.
Also since October, Houston-based Kinder Morgan, which wants to double the capacity of its existing Trans-Mountain pipeline to a terminal near Vancouver, had 17 meetings with federal officials, including private sessions with Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary and closest advisor.
For perspective, those contacts were modest compared to the full-court lobbying press mounted since the election by Canada’s largest tar sands/oil sands producer. That company, Suncor, has secured 46 meetings with the Liberal government in the less than 28 weeks it has held office.
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