NEB – not what government claims it to be

Greg Rickford, Conservative Minister of Natural Resources Canada, a lawyer with eight months experience running a department of government, spoke recently about the National Energy Board at the Economic Club of Canada.

“We have got to have an independent, arms-length board, panel and process that makes science and fact-based decisions on the merits of a given project.”

So why is there not a single NEB board member who is independent, at arms length from government, the conventional energy industry and consulting businesses that serve both. With the exception of two of thirteen members who are female, the agency is largely populated by balding old English speaking white guys from the business they regulate, each of them with high levels of comfort with the Conservative Party of Canada. Collectively, their idea of alternative energy is petroleum produced in Canada’s coastal waters.

This is the current board:

Chair Peter Watson

Appointed Chair and CEO by the Harper Government in June 2014. His previous position was Deputy Minister of the Alberta Executive Council, senior civil servant responsible for the province’s administration.

Vice-Chair Lyne Mercier

Before joining in the NEB in 2007, Ms. Mercier worked over 29 years for Gaz Métro, serving in executive positions for one of Canada’s largest natural gas distributors.

Member Roland George

Appointed to NEB in 2006, he worked primarily in the private energy sector for over three decades, recently as principal of an energy-consulting firm based in Calgary. He also held senior positions with the industry sponsored Canadian Energy Research Institute and Gaz Métro.

Member Philip Davies

An NEB board member since January 2013, he spent more than 30 years working in North American energy industries. He was an executive with large gas operator Encana and the associated Niska Gas Storage.

Member Shane Parrish

Appointed in 2013, he has worked for many years as a consultant in the petroleum and mining industries.

Member Ron Wallace

On the NEB board since 2013, he had been a manager and consultant involved in major oil and gas operations throughout the former Soviet Union and Russia and held senior management positions with Petro-Canada and CanStar Oil Sands Ltd.

Temporary Member Kenneth Bateman

Appointed to the NEB board in 2006, he is a Calgary based lawyer who had been Vice President of Enmax, a large Calgary based energy supply, distribution and service firm.

Temporary Member David Hamilton

An NEB board member since 2004, he was a career government bureaucrat, much of his time spent in senior position of government in the Northwest Territories.

Temporary Member Bob Vergette

Appointed 2008, he is an Alberta pipeline engineer who has been active in many industry association initiatives.

Temporary Member Alison Scott

She is a lawyer and former Nova Scotia civil servant and Director of Offshore Energy Research, which promotes petroleum exploration and development in east coast waters. She was appointed to the NEB board in May 2012.

Temporary Member James Ballem

He was a Conservative Party politician until defeated in 2007. He failed in a 2010 bid to become Nova Scotia Conservative leader and owns an energy industry consulting business.

Temporary Member Mike Richmond

A Toronto energy industry lawyer, he was once a Director of the Ontario Energy Association where his colleagues included executives of Enbridge, TransCanada Pipelines and other major industry players. He joined the board in late 2012.

Temporary Member Jacques Gauthier

Appointed December 2012, he headed up an engineering consulting firm with roots in Quebec. It had been involved in many large scale public projects. Gauthier contributed to the creation and development of major energy projects.

Categories: NEB

3 replies »

  1. You are not the only one who sees a potential conflict of interest. Former deputy minister of energy in Ontario and CEO of Ontario Hydro and BC Hydro Marc Eliesen told the Vancouver Observer. “But I am suggesting strongly that because of [NEB board member David] Hamilton's involvement and judgment in three very recent hearings undertaken by the NEB on related matters to Kinder Morgan, he's put in a position of very significant apprehension of bias.”


  2. the make up of the NEB works very well thank you very much. Just ask the resource extraction sector. If this is about the citizens of Canada and the environment, well we just don't count. Its all about harper, his herd, his friends. We voted them into office and now we can live with it.

    Now some enterprising lawyer or organization might want to challenge the whole thing in court, i.e they are biased and therefore are not in a position to fulfill the duties of the position. It would take money and time but who knows. A constitutional challenge or simply a group saying the decision was biased based on the make up of the NEB. It is reasonable to conclude they do not have the best interests of Canada/its environment in mind when they make decisions.

    I noted a number of people on the NEB are “temp” and that is the way harper and his herd will keep it. Those on the NEB are nicely “rewarded” so they aren't going to make any waves. Its like leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse, but hey, Canadians gave them more than one majority and now we can live with it or die with it in one big oily mess.


  3. Very long 'temporary' well paying jobs for many of these goons. Something like the NOT temporary FOREIGN worker scabs.

    Harpo gerrymandered and robo-called to 'win' the election. Wait til the next election, if there is a vote at all he will do again what he loves best, electronic voting.

    What do these NEB plants get paid and what is there departing fortune worth?


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