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MP preparing to question Enbridge at Prince Rupert hearings

After a heated and charged debate during the first round of Enbridge Northern Gateway hearings in Prince Rupert, Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen will be in town Wednesday to once again cross examine government and company officials about the project.

When Cullen appeared before the panel last February, lawyers for Enbridge Northern Gateway argued the MP was being disrespectful and that his testimony fell outside of the rules of the hearing. The result was a nearly half-hour argument between Cullen, the panel and the lawyers.

Cullen expects the same thing this time around.

"I'll have my own strategy, but I will still ask the hard questions regardless of what Enbridge's fleet of lawyers have to say," he said.

"I think it shows their own desperation rather than having anything good to say. They want to use the rules of the hearings to shut down questions rather than provide answers... I don't know how this company can think they are doing a good job."

Cullen said he would be focussing his questions on not just the project, but about the government's handling of it.

"There is a huge gap in the DFO scrutiny and oversight of this project.... You can't put a dock in northwest waters without a pile of DFO paperwork, and yet they seem to have done nothing in regards to this massive project," he said.

For its part, Enbridge said it looks forward to hearing what the MP has to say when in his second appearance before the Joint Review Panel.

"This panel is conducting a rigorous and transparent examination of our Northern Gateway proposal and we welcome the opportunity to answer Mr. Cullen's questions and address his concerns," said Enbridge Northern Gateway communications manager Ivan Giesbrecht in a statement.

The latest opinion poll, release by Insight West on Feb. 4, shows 61 per cent of 512 British Columbians polled oppose the project while just 18 per cent of the 562 Alberta residents polled oppose the pipeline.

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