Taxi slams into Montreal hotel foyer ahead of NEB hearings

Taxi slams into Montreal hotel foyer ahead of NEB hearings

A hearing into reforming the National Energy Board got off to a rough start this morning when a taxi slammed into the foyer of the hotel where the event was taking place.

Police say the collision was not related to the event, held at the Delta Hotel on Président-Kennedy Avenue.

About a dozen protesters were holding a demonstration outside the hearings when the taxi's 70-year-old driver lost control while parking, said Montreal police Const. Daniel Lacoursière. 

Police at the scene assisted the driver and he was taken away on a stretcher.

There are no reports of other injuries.

The Montreal hearings are the last in a series of sessions on reforming the NEB, which conducts environmental assessments and regulatory reviews of major resource projects.

The protesters are demanding a public inquiry be held into the NEB after it was revealed last summer that members of the board met with former Quebec premier Jean Charest, a consultant for developer TransCanada at the time, to discuss the Energy East pipeline project.

The three-person panel holding hearings into the project stepped down last year amid questions about a possible conflict of interest due to their meetings with Charest. 

The NEB announced in January that it had thrown out previous rulings on TransCanada's Energy East pipeline and will start the approval process over from scratch.

Brenda Kenny, who sits on the National Energy Board's panel, said the review process is open to critics.     

"Yes, there have been a few protests, a few commentaries during the morning, but that's all part of being open to the public. We have open doors and we are listening," she said. 

The hearings wrap up tomorrow in Montreal, and the panel's report, complete with recommendations, is due in mid-May.