Bill as is could kill investment – no future pipelines would be built

From the Calgary Herald

After it was announced Wednesday that the federal Liberal government would not accept all 188 amendments to the disastrous Impact Assessment Act, or Bill C-69, as recommended by the Senate of Canada, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna thought that in case the sector driving the most investment in Canada didn’t get the message, she’d stick her stiletto-like vitriol into its collective jugular, just to be sure.

“Let’s be clear on what Conservative politicians want,” said McKenna during a news conference. “They want to replace environmental review with a pipeline approval process. They want us to copy and paste recommendations written by oil lobbyists.

“That’s why we rejected 90 per cent of the Conservative amendments. They’re unacceptable to us and they’re unacceptable to Canadians.”

In other words, because many of the amendments to Bill C-69 — regardless of their validity and thoughtfulness — were recommended by Conservative-appointed senators, her government decided to reject them.

In response to her utterly dismissive and insulting words and to the devastating news that the most important amendments were rejected, on Thursday morning the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers convened an urgent meeting at the Metropolitan Centre in downtown Calgary with a group of 21 energy industry presidents and CEOs. What they had to say was sobering, frightening and upsetting. But it was also all said with some hope that the destructiveness of the Justin Trudeau government might still see the light and do the right thing.

Tim McMillan, president and CEO of CAPP, said his organization “worked earnestly” for almost three years to try to make Bill C-69 workable. After years of study and consultation, CAPP came up with 43 amendments to the bill. On Wednesday, the Trudeau government rejected all but three of them.

“We’re very disappointed and all Canadians should be concerned,” he said.

McMillan referred to the letter six premiers — including Alberta Premier Jason Kenney — sent to the prime minister on Monday warning that unity will be threatened should the 188 amendments approved by the Senate not be approved to make pipelines and other infrastructure and large projects viable in Canada.

“The federal government seems to continue to ignore the calls of those premiers, of the Senate and of the industry,” said McMillan.

So, what is the outcome of the rejection of the amendments?

Sue Riddell Rose, president of Perpetual Energy Inc., said Bill C-69 will continue to create too much uncertainty in the energy industry.

“We are concerned about the lack of certainty that Bill C-69 in its current form actually would present for our industry, and we’re telling you that our investors would not participate,” she said.

Satoshi Abe, president of Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd., said that over the past 40 years, the company has invested $2 billion in Canada and is currently producing 30,000 barrels per day with its joint venture partner.

“Canada is highly thought of as a supplier of hydrocarbons to the export market,” said Abe.

“Despite this, Canada itself has created significant barriers to new investment. Additional investment in Canada will only become attractive once there is additional de-risk for its resources and improved certainty around the regulatory process.”

You can tell Abe tried to be gentle and polite but his words are chilling.

Without additional pipelines and market access to tidewater, Canada’s resources will continue to sell at a steep discount to global prices, which makes investment unlikely.

“Increasing regulatory hurdles and uncertainty simply adds to the challenges making Canada unattractive when compared to other jurisdictions,” said Abe. “As a 40-year member of the Canadian energy industry, the current situation is very critical for our company.”

It’s also critical for all Canadians who rely on the social programs fuelled by the industry.

One of the rejected Bill C-69 amendments included changing the word “must” to “may” when taking into account any adverse impacts a given project might have on Indigenous peoples. Couple that with Bill C-69 potentially allowing foreign environmental activists to be granted “standing” by the Impact Assessment Agency, then expect the regulatory circus to continue in Canada while the rest of the world — often OPEC dictatorships — continue to expand their crude production.

In total, the government has accepted just 62 of the 188 Senate amendments verbatim and accepted 37 others with considerable adjustments, for a total of 99. That means Bill C-69 is better than it was when originally drafted, but it is still terribly flawed legislation.

How flawed?

“We believe C-69 will be the end of the future growth of commodities being able to get to tidewater,” said Jeff Tonken, president and CEO of Birchcliff Energy Ltd. and the chair of CAPP.

Tonken pointed out that Canada got to the point where no one would invest in pipelines and the Trudeau government — which killed Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline after it had undergone years of a gruelling regulatory process and was passed by the Harper government — had to actually purchase Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and its plans for the twinning of the pipeline, which is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

“But do not forget that we, Canadians, own that pipeline,” said Tonken. “We find ourselves in Canada now, where we’re debating whether we, ourselves, can actually build our own pipeline.”

Makes Canada sound like an economic basket case if not a laughingstock, doesn’t it?

“Notwithstanding the rhetoric that comes from the federal government, it is our view that no future pipelines will be built,” added Tonken.

That’s what happens when you have radicals running our federal government.

So, yes, despite all of the hope, the hits from the Trudeau Liberals just keep on coming against Alberta and the industry that still fuels and greases the wheels of Canada’s economy. The only hit that will save us is a knockout punch to the Liberal government in the Oct. 21 federal election.


Text of the Letter to PM Justin Trudeau from Six of Canada’s Premiers

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC, MP

Prime Minister of Canada

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington St

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

 

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing on behalf of the Governments of Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Collectively, our five provinces and territory represent 59 per cent of the Canadian population and 63 per cent of Canada’s GDP. We are central to Canada’s economy and prosperity, and it is of the utmost importance that you consider our concerns with bills C-69 and C-48.

Canadians across the country are unified in their concern about the economic impacts of the legislation such as it was proposed by the House of Commons. In this form, the damage it would do to the economy, jobs and investment will echo from one coast to the other. Provincial and territorial jurisdiction must be respected. Provinces and territories have clear and sole jurisdiction over the development of their non-renewable natural resources, forestry resources,

and the generation and production of electricity. Bill C-69 upsets the balance struck by the constitutional division of powers by ignoring the exclusive provincial powers over projects relating to these resources. The federal government must recognize the exclusive role provinces and territories have over the management of our non-renewable natural resource development or risk creating a Constitutional crisis.

Bill C-69, as originally drafted, would make it virtually impossible to develop critical infrastructure, depriving Canada of much needed investment. According to the C.D. Howe Institute, between 2017 and 2018, the planned investment value of major resource sector projects in Canada plunged by $100 billion – an amount equivalent to 4.5 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product. To protect Canada’s economic future, we, collectively, cannot afford to overlook the uncertainty and risk to future investment created by Bill C-69.

Our five provinces and territory stand united and strongly urge the government to accept Bill C69 as amended by the Senate, in order to minimize the damage to the Canadian economy. We would encourage the Government of Canada and all members of the House of Commons to accept the full slate of amendments to the bill. The Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources heard 38 days of testimony from 277 witnesses including indigenous communities, industry, Premiers, and independent experts. Based on that comprehensive testimony, the committee recommended significant amendments to the bill, which were accepted by the Senate as a whole. We urge you to respect that process, the committee’s expertise, and the Senate’s vote.

If the Senate’s amendments are not respected, the bill should be rejected, as it will present insurmountable roadblocks for major infrastructure projects across the country and will further jeopardize jobs, growth and investor confidence.

Similarly, Bill C-48 threatens investor confidence, and the tanker moratorium discriminates against western Canadian crude products. We were very disappointed that the Senate did not accept the recommendation to the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications that the bill not be reported. We would urge the government to stop pressing for the passage of this bill which will have detrimental effects on national unity and for the Canadian economy as a whole.

Our governments are deeply concerned with the federal government’s disregard, so far, of the concerns raised by our provinces and territory related to these bills. As it stands, the federal government appears indifferent to the economic hardships faced by provinces and territories.

Immediate action to refine or eliminate these bills is needed to avoid further alienating provinces and territories and their citizens and focus on uniting the country in support of Canada’s economic prosperity.

Yours sincerely,

Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

Hon. Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick

Hon. Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba

Hon. Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan

Hon. Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta

Hon. Bob McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories


Legal Notice