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Letter: What does full standing at the Muskrat Falls inquiry really mean?

Commissioner Richard LeBlanc at the first day of hearings Friday of the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project, at the Beothuck Building in St. John’s.
Commissioner Richard LeBlanc at the first day of hearings Friday of the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project, at the Beothuck Building in St. John’s. - Joe Gibbons

Why is it that “full standing” at the Muskrat Falls Commission of Inquiry seems to mean one thing for Ed Martin and something altogether different for the Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition — the people’s voice?

On reviewing the commissioner’s recently posted decisions with respect to the granting of “full standing,” I was struck by the granting of virtually unrestricted “full standing” to some (Ed Martin, for example) and the granting of what appears to be “conditional” full standing to others.
While the commissioner has generally reminded applicants to comply with existing rules of procedure — the commissioner premised the granting of full standing to the Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition on it being “required to comply with limiting (its) representations, questioning and submissions to those matters within the Commission’s mandate as interpreted by me” — the commissioner (emphasis added).
A “conditional” full standing would allow the commissioner to limit (I would suggest very broadly) the number, type, extent, strength, area of application, etc. of the citizen coalition representations.
In short, the granting of a conditional full standing to the Concerned Citizens’ Coalition is an illusion — like granting full standing with one hand while taking it away with the other.
Martin, however, has not been so limited. He has not been required “to comply with limiting (his) representations, questioning and submissions (to) within the commission’s mandate as interpreted by me” (the commissioner).
Martin retains his full rights as determined by the terms of reference. The Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens’ Coalition (the people’s voice), however, has been stifled (and hobbled).

Some say that “where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit.”

So, on the commissioner’s decision to grant a limited, lower, conditional “full standing” to the peoples’ voice, what if anything does that say about where he stands on the non-prejudicial principle of judicial fairness?

Perhaps we already know.

Maurice E. Adams

Paradise

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