IN THE NEWS ~ Opposition left out of Northern Gateway briefing

Opposition left out of Northern Gateway briefing

BJ Siekierski, iPolitics

The official opposition isn't happy about being left out of a briefing
session on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.

On Tuesday evening at Ottawa's Rideau Club, Conservative Senators and MPs are getting an update on the progress of the proposed 1,100-kilometre Alberta to B.C. crude oil pipeline currently the subject of heated public hearings into its potential environmental impact.

iPolitics learned of the event through an e-mail sent Monday afternoon
by Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro to members of what he described as the "pipeline caucus."

"I would like to extend an invitation for you and all members of
Pipeline caucus to join me for dinner and an informative update on the Enbridge
Northern Gateway Pipeline," he wrote.

"Janet Holder, Executive VP of Enbridge in charge of the Northern
Gateway Pipeline will be in Ottawa with Sonya Savage to provide an overview of
the project, including its opportunities and challenges."

Following Question Period on Tuesday, Del Mastro gave iPolitics a few
more details about the Rideau Club event.

"It's just a group of folks who want to learn more about Canada's pipeline industry. It's a very important industry," he said.

"It's very important that Canadian Members of Parliament understand issues
and are up to speed and listening to all sides."

The invitation to the Enbridge event wasn't extended to the NDP.

According to NDP Natural Resources critic Peter Julian, that's because the
government doesn't want to hear both sides.

"This is a government that denounces anybody who raises environmental concerns as a radical. I mean, what they've done is they've denounced the vast majority of British Columbians that have concerns about the Enbridge pipeline."

He also told iPolitics he wasn't aware there was a "pipeline
caucus."

"This pipeline caucus – I asked some of my colleagues and Natural
Resources folks, and no one has ever heard anything about this It seems only to
be known to Conservative MPs," he said.

Following the publication of this story, an Enbridge spokesperson told
iPolitics they have every intention of holding a similar briefing for the
official Opposition.