by Maureen McCall
Alberta Senator Doug Black gave a thought provoking breakdown of the current challenges to the Canadian Energy Industry including Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 at the Petroleum Accountants Society of Canada “Insights 2019” event at the Petroleum Club yesterday.
Senator Black pointed out many ironies in the events of the last ten years during which our petroleum industry has lost every public relations and communications battle and is clearly facing adversity.
Talking about the Canadian position in Energy he stated when looking at Bill C-69.
“It’s important to note that the minister responsible for all approvals in Bill C-69 is the Minister of the Environment– not Finance, not Industry, not Energy, it’s the Minister of the Environment- because the environmental movement in large part funded by interests outside this country, have “captured the flag”. I would also point out too that a week and a half ago, when the Prime Ministers Chief of Staff resigned, in his letter of resignation – to me, stunningly- he talks about “the challenge of our generation, the challenge of the government, the challenge that we all must face is climate change.” This is the Prime Minister’s principle secretary, resigning under a cloud and they are still on the climate change agenda.’
He added with regret…”The facts are that we have lost our voice. We have been neutralized and we have been stigmatized”
He pointed out that economically, although we all know the United States has gone from our biggest customer to our biggest competitor, we still don’t realize that under the current administration, the US is not engaged in our best interest. In his opinion we have lost our political and economic influence.
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, Senator Black reported the Committee found the inflow of investment to Canada has dramatically decreased, that outbound investment has dramatically increased and that there is a substantial regulatory imbalance between Canada and other countries not just the US. As other countries implement smart regulations on a timely basis, Canada is “piling on” the Industry.
So how bad is it? We have no ability to get our product off the American continent Black points out. We are seeing the Canadian economy slowing while our energy industry competitors have never had it better and we’ve designed the system. Layer on to the problem the current Federal regime that has written Alberta off politically (not withstanding a bit of Federal funding to Liberal ridings in Alberta). We also have a government that simply does not understand business. The programs they want funded, whether it’s reconciliation or gender issues- all good programs but they don’t understand projects can’t be funded on debt- they need to be funded on a prosperous economy.
So with barricades to inter-provincial trade and energy development and Alberta’s contributions to equalization still far too high while per capita investment has dropped off the suggestion was that a renegotiated arrangement is the answer. Senator Black thought that it’s fair that Alberta questions it’s contribution.
In reference to Bill C48 – he reported a senior member of the department of transport that C-48 would be the only tanker ban in the world with no intention to place tanker ban on the coast of Newfoundland or the South Coast of BC. He stated the Bill is pure politics- a promise made as part of the Liberal 2015 Policy Platform and a direct attempt to limit the development of the oilsands. He feels the clock should be allowed to run out on Bill C48.
He also stated Bill C69 ….known as “the no pipelines Bill’ …is also the no interprovincial electricity bill, the no nuclear development bill- and will stop development in this country and needs to be fixed.
The various tribunals are to consider a list of factors that are vague or impossible to conceive such as “gender consideration” or even “meeting the Paris accord commitments” which no country is on track to meet.
He notes that no mention is made in the legislation that jobs, economic considerations or trade are factors to be considered but for a vague and unenforceable mention in the preamble.
Also, the Bill creates opportunities for any group opposed to a project to delay approvals until the process is abandoned.
So Senator Black asks Albertans to do what they can- let Senators know that Bill C-69 and C-48 must be fixed,
The Senate committee on Energy will be dropping into Calgary Tuesday April 8th and Fort McMurray April 9th.
He stressed the importance of attending and voicing your opinions.
It’s the time for citizens and organizations to let their opinions be known.