B.C. Court of Appeal allows webcam coverage of oil reference case

In a rare move, the B.C. Court of Appeal is allowing the constitutional reference case arising from the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to be viewed by webcam.

The five-day proceeding, which begins Monday in B.C.’s highest court, is only the third time that the court has approved a web camera in court for the public to view a case.

It’s part of a pilot project by the court to determine, among other things, the interest level in such webcams, said Timothy Outerbridge, the court’s registrar.

“And we’re doing it, as I say, to allow the public some scrutiny of the Court of Appeals process.”

Outerbridge noted that the court has been asked by the B.C. government to consider the constitutionality of a proposed law dealing with the environmental impacts of transportation of oil across provinces. He said the court expects that the issue involves questions that will be of “significant” interest not only to people in B.C., but also to others across Canada.

“Of course that’s evidenced by the fact that we’ve got about 40 counsel from across the country appearing at this proceeding beginning Monday,” he said.

The NDP government referred the case to the court last April in the midst of protests over Kinder Morgan’s federally approved oil-pipeline expansion project in Burnaby. More than 200 people were arrested.

At the time, the government said the proposed amendments to the Environmental Management Act would give the province the ability to regulate the impacts of heavy oils that when released would endanger human health, the environment and communities.

The Burnaby pipeline project, which has since then been taken over by the federal government, was suspended due to a Federal Court of Canada ruling.

The Appeal Court is being asked whether it’s within the jurisdiction of the legislature of B.C. to enact the amendments. If the court deems that …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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