British Columbia’s mounting cash-for-access scandal has triggered a court challenge of the government’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project, just a couple of weeks after the New York Times declared the province “the ‘wild west’ of Canadian political cash.”
Democracy Watch and the PIPE UP Network are asking for a judicial review of the approval, after Kinder Morgan donated hundreds of thousands of dollars—more than $560,000 according to the organizations’ B.C. Supreme Court application, $718,000 based on earlier news reports—to Premier Christy Clark’s party.
“The bottom line is that a reasonable, informed, and thoughtful person, after thinking about it for a while, would think that the premier and the ministers would have at least been unconsciously affected by more than $560,000 in payments to the Liberal Party of British Columbia,” states the January 31 petition. “The [Kinder Morgan Pipeline] approval is tainted by money.”
While the project certificate was signed by two provincial cabinet ministers, it was announced by Clark, who “was paid more than $300,000 by the Liberal party during the six-year period that Kinder Morgan and the KMX shippers paid more than $560,000 to the Liberal party,” the application argues.
The Tyee stresses that “none of the allegations have been tested or proven in court.”
On Medium, the For The Coast blog reports that “weeks of uproar in British Columbia came to ahead” with the filing of the court petition. “The suit alleges that the B.C. Liberals held exclusive cash-for-access fundraisers targeted at corporate executives with ties to Kinder Morgan and other companies” involved with the pipeline expansion.
“The Premier may have recently stopped receiving her $50,000 salary each year from the B.C. Liberal Party, but that does nothing to erase the conflicts of interest and appearance of bias created by her receiving more than $300,000 in salary from the party during the same years Kinder Morgan and pipeline-connected companies donated more than $550,000 to the party,” said Democracy Watch founder Duff Conacher.