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Harper’s parting patronage clouds eastern pipeline debate

By Chantal HÉbert      

The NEB, whose official task it is to determine if a pipeline is in the national interest and recommend accordingly a way forward to the government, remains a cornerstone of the process—and it is hard to build on sand.

On Aug. 9, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna declined to comment on the panel's behind-closed-doors dealings with parties that have a direct or indirect interest in the outcome of its review of Energy East, or their potential impact on the NEB's credibility as an independent agency. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

MONTREAL—In the dying days of his government, Stephen Harper went to considerable lengths to ensure that the National Energy Board panel tasked with vetting the controversial Energy East pipeline be made up of commissioners hand-picked by the Conservatives—regardless of the election outcome. In the months prior to the election call, Harper reappointed to various boards and agencies dozens of people whose terms were not due to expire until after the federal election. In the case of the NEB,

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