Second Affidavit of David Gooderham

Second Affidavit of David Gooderham (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

Sworn November 21, 2018, this document sets out evidence concerning my belief and understanding about the peril of climate change and the emissions implications of expanding oil sands production in Canada.

My background is that I attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto from 1963 to 1967, where I completed an honours degree in economics and political science, and I received my LLB from the University of Toronto Law School in 1970. I practiced law in Vancouver for 35 years in civil litigation, between 1975 and the end of 2012, when I retired from practice.

This affidavit also provides detailed evidence, based on my own personal and direct experience, about the attempts made by many Canadian citizens over a crucial three-year period, between December 2013 and November 2016, to persuade the Government of Canada to conduct an independent and public environmental assessment that would determine whether in fact the planned expansion of oil sands production in Alberta (which provides the economic rationale for the Trans Mountain pipeline) can be consistent with meeting Canada’s emission reduction commitments.

Because this is my sworn evidence in a legal proceeding in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the events I recount in this affidavit must be limited largely to my own activities, and to what I personally observed. Under the rules of evidence, I am not permitted to even attempt to tell the full story of the efforts by hundreds and thousands of Canadians who, during this recent period (and during the past ten years and longer for many) worked to persuade elected politicians to re-consider the wisdom of ambitious plans that will allow the continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry to 2030 and 2040.

However, notwithstanding the limits on the scope of my evidence, a careful reading of this affidavit and the content of the attached Exhibits will show that crowds of citizens showed up again and again to signify their fear and disquiet about the emissions implications of proceeding with this pipeline project. They attended public meetings with elected politicians, engaged in peaceful public demonstrations in the streets of Vancouver , sought unsuccessfully to participate in the National Energy Board (NEB) inquiry, and made their final pleas at public sessions of the Ministerial Panel in Vancouver in August 2016.

All of these efforts ultimately failed. Thousands of citizens (including dozens of Canada’s leading climate scientists and energy economists) called for a reformed pipeline approval process that would consider the available scientific evidence about emissions and climate change. In the end, when the Trans Mountain Project was given final approval by the Trudeau Government on November 29, 2016, that evidence had been completely excluded from every stage of the public approval process. The most important questions were never answered.

My efforts during the past three years (alongside many other Canadian citizens) to use all available lawful avenues of political activity to avert the imminent peril of climate change, or at least to slow down and reduce the scale of future losses that are already damaging human livelihoods and natural systems, are detailed in the following documents:

Exhibit “A” (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

On December 19, 2013, the NEB released its recommendation that the Government of Canada approve the Northern Gateway project, a pipeline planned to carry diluted bitumen from Alberta to the north coast at Kitimat. In this report, the NEB confirmed that in carrying out its environmental assessment of the project it did not allow any witnesses to testify about the quantity or consequences of rising CO2 emissions from expanding bitumen production in Alberta. Exhibit “A” is a draft of my analysis of the NEB’s decision. I wrote my initial draft on January 10, 2014, and subsequently expanded it. My memorandum identifies the concerns, plainly obvious to many people by late 2013, that the NEB’s pipeline approval process had failed to consider GHG emissions and the climate implications.

By early 2014, the NEB began its environmental assessment of a second major pipeline project, known as the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

On May 19, 2016, the NEB released its lengthy report recommending approval of Trans Mountain. In recommending approval, the report again did not consider the upstream emissions implications of the Project, and excluded any discussion of climate change.

Part 8 of the Outline of Proposed Evidence (Document II filed in this court application) provides details of unsuccessful efforts by Canadian citizens during 2014 to compel the NEB in its Trans Mountain inquiry to look at evidence about emissions and at the available scientific evidence about climate change.

Exhibit “B” (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

On March 19, 2016, the Government of Canada, published a brief notice (included here as Exhibit “B”) in the Canada Gazette announcing details of the “methodology” that would govern the newly promised “upstream emissions assessment” for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The new Liberal government, which took office in October 2015, declared in January 2016 that the NEB process would remain unchanged (i.e., it would continue to exclude any evidence about emissions and climate science) but that a new process, called the Review of Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimates for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project), would assess “the project’s potential impact on Canadian and global emissions”. The proposed methodology proved to be significant because it severely limited the scope of the promised upstream emissions inquiry.

Exhibit “C” (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

On May 19, 2016, Environment Canada released a draft version of the promised “upstream emissions assessment”, which applied the methodology outlined in Exhibit “B”. In response, I prepared a submission that I sent to Environment Canada on June 20, 2016. My analysis of the “upstream emissions report” shows that it failed to answer the key question, which I put this way:

Can the continued growth of oil sands production to 2040, enabled by the Trans Mountain Project, be consistent with Canada achieving its commitments to reduce our total GHG emissions?

Exhibit “C” provides two extracts from my June 20, 2016 submission. The first part (at p. 3-12) deals specifically with how, because of the way it was designed, the government’s “methodology” (Exhibit “B”)  would ensure that the upstream emissions assessment would not be obliged to answer that question.

Appendix G in the Outline of Proposed Evidence (Document II) also provides a detailed examination of the “methodology” used by the upstream emissions assessment, and why, as a result, the assessment in its May 19, 2016 draft report failed to answer the essential question.

Exhibit “D” (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

On August 17, 2016, a third review process called the Ministerial Panel (appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources) held one of its several public sessions in Vancouver. I attended that session and made an oral presentation, and also delivered a written submission to the panel members. At least four hundred other citizens attended that meeting, with about fifty oral presentations made during a meeting that continued for about nine hours, into the late evening.  Dozens of speakers pointed out that both the NEB inquiry process and the “upstream emissions assessment” process had failed to consider evidence about growing GHG emissions from expanding oil sands production, and that it had excluded all evidence about climate change. Other participants who did not attend in person, including several of Canada’s leading climate scientists, sent written submissions to the Ministerial Panel raising identical concerns. At the end of August 2016, I sent the Ministerial Panel a slightly expanded version of my written submission, which is included as Exhibit “D” to my affidavit.

Exhibit “E” (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

On September 7, 2016, a number of elected Members of Parliament, including Joyce Murray, MP for Vancouver Quadra, held a meeting in Burnaby B.C. hosted by the local MP, Liberal Terry Beech. This was billed as a “Town Hall” meeting, to discuss the pending approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. I delivered a letter (Exhibit “E”) in advance to my Member of Parliament’s constituency office, explicitly requesting that she speak publicly at the September 7 meeting about the emissions implications of the proposed new pipeline.

Exhibit “F” (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

Exhibit “F” is a copy of my letter sent to Liberal Member of Parliament Terry Beech’s office in Burnaby. He was hosting the Town Hall meeting. I requested that he address the issue of oil sands emissions and climate at the public meeting.

Exhibit “G” (opens as a PDF in your web browser)

On September 7, 2016, I attended the Town Hall meeting. The auditorium at a local high school was packed with about four or five hundred people. The Liberal Members of Parliament sat on a stage, but announced at the beginning they would not be answering any questions.  The audience was informed that, instead, a panel of five experts would speak about the pipeline project – and that we would have an opportunity to direct our questions to the experts. But there was no energy economist among the panel of experts, and none of the five was qualified to address whether projected emissions growth from the planned expansion of oil sands production to 2030 could be reconciled with Canada’s commitment to achieve deep emissions cuts by 2030, and none did speak about that. The subject was not discussed at all that evening.  Exhibit “G” is a copy of a detailed letter I sent to my Member of Parliament, Joyce Murray, on September 16, 2016.