2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NEB says its process setting location of International Power Line without a public hearing complied with Canadian Bill of Rights

The National Energy Board (NEB) has rejected a request by landowners for review of its decision to grant Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. (MATL) a permit to construct and operate an International Power Line (IPL) between Alberta and Montana.  Affected landowners participated in proceedings before the provincial EUB, then lost on appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeal, and had their application for leave to appeal that decision dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada.  They argued, in part, that the determination of the route of the proposed IPL is to be determined by the provincial regulator, not the NEB. 

The landowners asked the NEB to review and overturn its own permit decision because the NEB had itself decided on the location and routing of the IPL in a process that did not include a public hearing.  The landowners argued that Parliament, when it drafted the NEB Act, did not intend that the NEB could decide the location and routing of the IPL without a public hearing.  In fact, they argued that Parliament instead intended that the provincial regulator would determine the location of the line.  The NEB disagreed with both arguments and rejected the request for review of its decision.

One particularly interesting part of this case is the discussion of the Canadian Bill of Rights, which was passed into law in the 1960's and remains on the books today (even though the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted in 1982).  What is different about the Bill of Rights, which applies to the Federal Government, is that it contains a protection for property rights: “enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law.”  The NEB agreed with MATL that this right did not require that the NEB hold a public hearing.  The NEB ruled that its own process of allowing interested parties to file comments on its proposed decision was sufficient to meet the test for "due process of law". 

Read the NEB's decision at: Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. (MATL).