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Former BC Hydro CEO condemns Enbridge's "bogus economics" at Joint Review Panel

Marc Eliesen at Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel hearings. Photo by Jenny Uechi.

Some of the most damning evidence of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel (JRP) hearings this morning was presented by a former BC Hydro CEO and deputy minister of energy for both Manitoba and Ontario.

“It is my contention that Enbridge has submitted marketing propaganda masquerading as economic analysis because of the one-sided, self-serving private benefit picture the proponent has presented. Therefore the public benefit test is not being met and therefore the project is not in the public interest,” Marc Eliesen, a career executive in the Canadian energy and utility sector, told the panel. 

Along with the presidency of BC Hydro, Eliesen sat on the board of Suncor Energy and was former CEO of Manitoba Energy Authority and Ontario Hydro. In total, he has worked for seven governments and nine ministers of the crown.

His assessment of the Enbridge plan was blunt, noting that "bogus economics with misinformation" was being used by the proponent, by the oil industry and by governments of Canada and Alberta to justify the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

He said in the case of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, the proponent submitted a 30-year scenario, which assumed one constant fixed exchange rate for over 30 years. 

"I have sat as director on a number of company boards, including Suncor Energy, and I can easily state that if management had forwarded only one scenario for any project, without sensitivity analysis, they would be quickly dismissed." 

Eliesen said his analysis is based on his energy background and having read and analyzed the Enbridge application to the National Energy Board, including the economic benefits case. He emphasized that he has followed the information request process and reviewed responses from Enbridge, and reviewed the statements and cross-examination on economic matters discussed at the JRP hearing in Edmonton. In his view, it’s clear due diligence on the Northern Gateway project has not taken place.

“The case that has been presented to this panel is not professional, it is not reliable and it is not believable,” Eliesen said.

“The lack of professionalism reflected in the due diligence business case exposes this project as unsupportable on the basis of economic and business criteria.”

It’s not easy being green ... but it's the right way to go.”

David Benton, a former economist in Alberta and currently working as a project manager in the Hartley Bay area, told the panel that First Nations'  culture is "inextricably linked to the territories they've known for centuries."

“If this project were to proceed [...] it will be genocide for that (Hartley Bay) community," he said. 

Environmental consultant Ann Pacey also raised serious environmental concerns about the pipeline project while Surrey resident Neville Gosling was one of many speakers who reminded the panel about the oil spill on the Kalamazoo River and the inadequate response from Enbridge.

“It is not surprising that British Columbians do not trust Enbridge or pipelines,” Gosling said. “I do not believe we should allow (oil) tankers the size of Empire State Building and foreign owned by BC waters.”

Pia Massie of Vancouver brought her son to the hearings to reinforce the responsibility of each generation to protect the water, air and land of British Columbia.

“Thirteen years ago my son was born in New York City. Then 9/11 happened,” Massie told the panel.

“I wanted my child to grow up in the most beautiful place I had ever known on earth. The Enbridge pipeline is a project so toxic that it has brought global shame to Canada.” 

The JRP hearings continue all this week in Vancouver at the Sheraton Wall Centre. It will resume the final week of January in Vancouver before moving to Kelowna January 28.

Learn more about the controversy. "Extract: The Pipeline Wars, Enbridge".  Buy it here.

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Thank you Marc

Thank you for speaking out, even though this panel is a dog and pony show farce, worthy of a banana republic , those that took the time to speak and submitted official letters are now on the public record for opposing Northern Gateway /Enbridge and should be commended.

thanks for speaking up for 95% of the province.


Thany you Marc, the one thing bout the truth is that you do not need to defend it (the Truth) and it will be the same today as it will be tomorrow.

I pray that the JRB has the ability to hear, see, feel the truths that peoples through out North America are saying and that the JRB will each listen to their heart when asked do you make a true decision based on facts of the peoples affected and effected by your decision? or is the truth the Nothern Gateway and Canada already bought you? before the first day - and this is your truth?

Make your decision; your sleep may be a good or rough night sleep. 

Thank you.

Exxon Valdez

Remember the Exxon Valdez. It took 20 years to get a poor, legal settlement from ExxonMobil.

Bogus pension investments

It is also bogus economics to suggest that people who live and own property in B.C. will benefit financially from public pension investments in tar sands, fracking and so on.  These things degrade and devalue the natural beauty, living and recreational activities of B.C., thus degrading and devaluing our property.  We will be poorer in retirement for these earth destroying investments, not wealthier.  Oh yes and some of us are actually concerned about and place very high value on wildlife and the quality of life of our families, neighbours and descendents.  


The only way to stop Enbridge is to elect an NDP govt. And even then it will only defer their plans for a few years until a few greedy people and a bunch of idiots reelect another liberal govt. 

Enbridge and the NDP

I'm inclined to agree with the last comment about the NDP being the government you want to elect....since as far as I know its the only party that has had the courage and foresight to come out against the Gateway. That in itself may not be enough to stop the Neo Cons from playing dirty pool and pushing it through anyway.....but if the witness who argues Embridge's economic plan is propoganda dressed up as economics is right, and I think he is for a number of reasons.......then they likely have a small window through which to pump this toxic sludge. It is costly to mine, ship and refine.........and those costs are going up. Delay may equal defeat, and we should hope that is the case. We should also build political will........and support parties that say no.......stay engaged with those parties and make it painfully clear we'll abandon them if they go back on their promises........the Harper vision of Canada as a third world conveyer of dirty fuel to foreign markets has to be defeated. For those of us who live in BC, an NDP victory this spring is the strongest message that we can send to Ottawa.

Enbridge Lies, Greed, Corruption

Thank you!

Yes Enbridge and Northern Gateway certainly suck

First off, Canada needs this Oil and Gas from Alberta, Sask and northeast BC to be able to move competively to world markets.  Fact Oil is needed and it may as well be from Canada.  Canada is stable and democratic.   However, Enbridge is not the company to do this pipe and their route .. well.. it sucks!   I spent 4 years in this Kitimat  area ... working..hiking...hunting...everthing.

The route goes through world class wilderness barely touched ! To be blunt, we simply have no right to industrialize this area.  

The Oil should move via Vancouver - a great city, yes but hardly a pristine wilderness.    Besides, if their is a spill, Vancouver has over 2 million people who can clean it up.  Kitimat, has a few thousand.   Dont laugh, that is what happens if their is a major spill   --   thousands of people are needed to scoop it up with buckets and sponges, and the faster the better especially with dilluted bitumen.  Vancouver has the population.  

One more thing,  money should be sent up to the North West BC coastal area to train the locals up their to be Eco tour operators and enviro scientists.... people up their do needsome help to "stay on the land"  and keep it safe. 

Hey citizen --- open your mind and Think!





Enbricge N . Gate. Proposal

Of course Enbridge is trying to convince the uninformed public of the benefits of their proposed pipeline. They do not have to demonstrate the economic viability of the project as Ei. suggests. The tens of thousands miles of pipeline in Canada demonstrate that pipelines are the safest , most secure & economical means to transport fluids. The risks of pipeline or Tanked spills are greatly exagerated as are the consequences. Go Visit the Gulf Coast , The west Coast of Van Island, [ significant spill in early 90's. I worked with Coast Guard on both East & West Coast for more than 30 years, The N.G. P. L. is very pratical, safe as any endeavour can be & enonomically beneficial to All Canadians, so get on Board. and keep your eyes & mind open. Hugh

Thank you !!

We need you Marc! Thank you for your honestly, bluntness and going public with this.

I am the Tar Snd oil Whistle Blower from the Michigan spill

Please go to to see the ENBRIDGE cover up