THE STANDING Senate COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES
OTTAWA, Wednesday, April 10, 2019
The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, to which was referred Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, met this day at 1 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.
Senator Rosa Galvez (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Good afternoon, and welcome to this meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources.
My name is Rosa Galvez, senator from Quebec and chair of this committee. I will ask my colleagues to introduce themselves.
Senator MacDonald: Michael MacDonald, Nova Scotia.
Senator Mockler: Percy Mockler, New Brunswick.
Senator Neufeld: Richard Neufeld, British Columbia.
Senator Richards: David Richards, New Brunswick.
Senator Cordy: Jane Cordy, Nova Scotia.
Senator Simons: Paula Simons, Alberta.
The Chair: I will also take the opportunity to thank all of our staff from the Library of Parliament, as well as the stenographers and translators who are working hard behind the scenes.
Today we are continuing our study of Bill C-69, an Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
On our first panel this afternoon, we welcome, from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Barry Morishita, President and Mayor of Brooks, and Dan Rude, CEO, and from Alberta Chambers of Commerce, Chris Dugan, Executive Board Past Chair.
We will start with your five-minute statements, and then we will continue with our question period.
Barry Morishita, President and Mayor of Brooks, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association: I will begin by acknowledging that we are on Treaty 8 territory and the unceded land of the Métis Nation.
On behalf of the AUMA and our member municipalities, I wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the Senate Committee for travelling across the country and hosting meetings in Alberta to hear our concerns. We are, after all, reviewing legislation intended to restore confidence and trust in what is possibly the most significant approval process in Canada. They are not going unnoticed, the efforts this Senate Committee is taking to ensure that the concerns of Canadians across this great country are being heard and judiciously acted upon. The AUMA commends you.
Bill C-69 is a significant piece of legislation that requires serious review and revision as its implementation in its current form will have resounding negative effects on Alberta and indeed all of Canada. We appreciate the opportunity to outline how Bill C-69 will impact municipal governments and offer our recommendations to you today.
AUMA serves as a voice for 267 cities, towns, villages, summer villages and specialized municipalities in Alberta. We are experts in municipalities, and our organization works as a collaborative partner with the federal and provincial governments to ensure policies and programs are serving the needs at the local level.
To begin, I will focus on the proposed amendments to the Navigation Protection Act. Our first concern is regarding proposed amendments that would require federal review of small scale projects. This requirement was removed in amendments to the act of 2009 and 2012 to help address municipal concerns regarding federal reviews of smaller projects. They were causing significant delays and incurring unnecessary costs.
This also impacts municipalities to comply with federal and provincial grants that have strict timeline requirements. It will also impact on the ability for municipalities to access future infrastructure grant funding, which none of us can afford. It’s also important to note that as you move down a scale the smaller municipality you have, the more you’re impacted by those kinds of things.
Our recommendation is that the government amend the act to limit federal review of small scale projects. Alternatively, if the government is committed to having this review, they will need to put measures in place that limit time delays and costs.
Our next concern centres around the lack of clarity with regard to the definitions and requirements of municipalities. As outlined in our submission, Bill C-69 lacks definitions regarding work categories and the term inference, as well as the lack of clarity regarding the expanded scope for scheduled and non-scheduled water bodies. Bill C-69 indicates that they will be defined in regulation, which is not yet available.
Until those definitions are provided, we do not know if municipalities will be able to self-determine if their project is minor or major. Without that clarity, municipalities may fail the need to seek federal approval for all projects over water bodies even when they are not necessary in order to avoid violation of the act.
This regulatory environment is not the one we want to create as it will add delays for both municipalities and the federal government and add costs to all Canadian taxpayers.
While our recommendations are outlined specifically to each point, the overarching theme is that the Government of Canada should release the draft version of the regulations before making decisions regarding Bill C-69 in order for stakeholders to fully understand and appreciate the potential impacts. Delays are a major concern for municipalities, which takes us to our next point: a lack of timelines for when the minister must make a decision on an application.
Alberta’s winter climate creates a short construction window each year. It is critical that the federal government respond to applications on a timely basis so that necessary bridge maintenance, as an example, and replacements thereof are not delayed. To ensure municipalities can plan their projects to maximize the short construction season, we recommend the act be amended to define the time period in which the minister must make a decision.
Our final point under the Navigation Protection Act is responding to emergencies. AUMA supports the FCM’s recommendation that section 10.4 be expanded to address the unique needs of communities in the event of an emergency. This would include adding social disruption or a breakdown in the flow of essential good services or resources to adequately acknowledge the hardship and complexity created by damaged infrastructure in an emergency.
I would like to highlight two concerns with the proposed Impact Assessment Act. AUMA supports the “one project, one review” objective Bill C-69 strives to achieve. However, current reading of the act doesn’t consistently reflect the subjective. For example, the term jurisdiction in the act does not include municipalities. We are also concerned with a potential opportunity for political interference in the impact assessment process.
There are sections in this act where it identifies that the minister has significant discretion to impose conditions and/or make determinations on the process or the outcome. It is our opinion that projects should be reviewed and assessed by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada according to its defined criteria, independent of political interference and/or intervention.
It is also imperative that rulings from the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada be immune and resilient to judicial challenges. If there are to be judicial challenges, there must be disciplined to those challenges, for example, deadlines to challenge a decision or deadlines for appeal.
Bill C-69 also lacks a definition of designated project, which makes it unclear as to what types of municipal projects could be subject to federal oversight. We recommend the government release a draft definition of designated project before the Senate makes a decision on the bill in order, again, to allow stakeholders to understand the expected impact.
Another area of concern is that the Impact Assessment Act fails to recognize the importance and knowledge or municipal governments. The lack of reference to consultation within municipal governments in the act is concerning to us and must be addressed. Too often municipalities are left out when they bring a wealth of local knowledge, historical perspective and an intimate understanding of impacts discussed. Otherwise they would be a productive partner and collaborator except that they are specifically excluded. We also ask the relevant section of the act be amended to expressly require that affected municipal governments will be consulted.
Finally, I wish to address the Canadian Energy Regulator Act. As mentioned in the outset of this presentation, AUMA scope of 69 is contained in the potential effects to municipal governance and operations. We have decided to let industry representatives, and those communities directly affected from the economic point of view, speak for their concerns.
I will make a general comment that the sustainability of Alberta, and in fact of all Canadian municipalities and communities, is dependent on the health of our resource sector. This act must ensure energy projects are assessed and those of merit approved in a very timely, transparent, and consistent manner free of political interference and lobby group messaging and tactics.
Also very concerning is the removal of the standing test from the National Energy Board Act, which determines who is permitted to participate. Removing the standing test has the potential to create project delays, ineffective consultation and investor unease, all without any value being added to the process.
We also strongly disagree with the position of the FCM that suggests all municipalities, regardless of whether they are located directly on the route of a proposed pipeline or transmission line, should have their input considered. We respect that input from a diverse range of stakeholders is important. However, this should be limited to persons or organizations that live or operate within reasonable proximity to a proposed project.
Our final recommendation is therefore to maintain the standing test to ensure input is limited to those municipalities directly along the proposed project route. While AUMA and its members support the overall objectives of Bill C-69, it is our view that without significant improvements it will not serve the needs of Alberta municipalities, which includes counties, cities, towns, villages, specialized municipalities and summer villages, and thus the needs of every Albertan and subsequently every Canadian.
Responsible resource development and subsequently responsible community development are important parts of the work of municipalities. It should not be an albatross around the necks of Canadians, but a flag that we fly proudly knowing we have become the best at balancing all of these considerations and continue to build on the success of our great country.
I thank you for this committee’s leadership in this regard. On behalf of AUMA’s board and our members, we sincerely appreciate this opportunity and welcome any questions you may have.
Chris Dugan, Executive Board Past Chair, Alberta Chambers of Commerce: Thank you for having me here to present to you on behalf of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce and the 124 community chambers and over 25,000 member businesses our network represents. Some 95 per cent of those members are small and medium size businesses.
I would also like to make a point for the record that when I speak of business, it is not in reference to inanimate objects consisting of machinery, equipment and inventory. Businesses are people. They are real people.
Our members have a number of significant concerns with Bill C-69 as it’s proposed, most especially with respect to prioritizing economic impacts of projects and the reduction of political interference and decision making for project approvals.
We appreciate the invitation for the Alberta Chambers of Commerce to communicate our network’s recommendations for amending the proposed bill in the interests of the nation and all committee members directly.
Enabling the private sector to build energy infrastructure projects vis-à-vis a predictable and competitive regulatory environment is critical to the shared prosperity of all Canadians. I also take this opportunity to urge senators here today to ensure that equitable and appropriate participation in Bill C-48 Senate hearings is afforded to Alberta stakeholders, given the unique implications of that legislation to this region’s economy.
With respect to Bill C-69, we submitted our full policy recommendations to both the committee and the Minister of Natural Resources prior to today’s meeting. It was also provided earlier this morning, I understand, from our colleagues from Bonnyville-Cold Lake.
In addition to asking that the draft regulations be made publicly available prior to Senate’s second reading of the bill to improve public trust and stabilize investor confidence through the legislative process, recommendations for the bill’s amendment are proposed to ensure regulators remain independent from political influence, expedite review timelines, reduce regulatory duplication, limit consultation of those directly impacted, and clarify the process around Indigenous consultation.
The economic benefit analysis of proposed projects approved or not approved must also become core to the impact assessment and reporting process. Social environmental considerations simply do not capture the full range of public interest. A great case in point is the Alberta government’s implementation of oil production curtailment as a result of restricted transportation capacity due to a lack of infrastructure.
While a calculated decision intended to preserve Alberta jobs in the short term, it is truly a perverse and extreme policy solution. It compounds negatively the already dramatic effects project cancellations, delays and disruptions of the NEB process of the last several years have had on investor confidence. Moreover, it exacerbates the public divisiveness of legislation such as Bill C-48, intended specifically to restrict Alberta energy being transported to Asian markets, and the federal government’s discharge of their duty to consult leading to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project delay.
While consequences include capital assets sitting idle as companies wait for transportation capacity to open up, plummeting investment ensues. Skills and experience are sidelined along with the plans and ambitions of the people holding these intellectual assets. People’s futures are effectively put on hold. Foreign skills once attracted to and employed in our energy sector and tertiary industries are being lost, along with the associated tax revenues to jurisdictions where energy economies are booming.
For residents and municipalities or regions with local economies directly tied to production, the consequences of our inability to get product to market are severe.
Alberta’s curtailment policy is a direct result of dysfunction in the national regulatory environment in which Bill C-69 is intended to play an essential role going forward. Curtailment exemplifies a ludicrous public policy approach for managing economic development, given the energy sector’s contribution to national GDP, tax revenues and employment.
No region in Canada remains unaffected in a negative sense by our current ability to build infrastructure to get energy products to market where they can command top dollar for the first time ever in Canada’s history. Let that sink in for a moment.
Considering this level of legislative and regulatory dysfunction, let’s consider year-over-year changes simply in Alberta. Businesses and corporations are down minus 17 per cent. MLS sales are down minus 13.6 per cent. Motor vehicle sales are down minus 13.1 per cent. New wells drilled are down minus 22.3 per cent. Active rig counts are down minus 34.2 per cent.
Is it a mystery or surprising to also see current unemployment up a whopping 65 per cent compared to exactly five years ago, going from 4.4 per cent in February 2014 to 7.3 per cent in February of this year?
Who in the global marketplace would feel confident to invest in a nation that cannot plan and act in its own best economic interest? Here’s an example. In 2006, Canada ranked fourth globally in ease of doing business. Today we’re 22nd. Canada rates second worst in OECD openness to foreign direct investment as of their last study. Out of 34 countries, we’re 32nd.
In reinstating Canada’s prosperity, and I mean reinstating and not sustaining, the momentum has effectively stopped. It depends upon improving the nation’s competitiveness and investor confidence in the rule of law. We need to get pipelines built, and not just a Trans Mountain Expansion Project. It’s critical that Bill C-69 be amended to deliver a substantively more timely, transparent, truthful and science-based regulatory regime free from political interference with a mandate serving the national interest, and I underscore national interest.
Thank you on behalf of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce and our members.
Senator MacDonald: Thank you both for your presentations. Mr. Morishita, I really appreciated your very good, clear and concise presentation.
Before we get into the works of the committee, one point I didn’t appreciate was the impact on municipalities. Municipalities are creatures of the provinces. Most of their authority flows from the authority they receive from the province. I have a couple of questions in regard to your position on municipalities.
Have you addressed the province with your concerns? Is there a way to address your concerns by establishing some sort of a relationship through the province’s authority and how it ties into the government and Bill C-69, or do you think you need a separate reference?
Mr. Morishita: Thank you, senator. You certainly are right. Municipalities are creatures of the province. We have a bit of a political problem. A credibility issue has been exacerbated by the lack of leadership on a number of files but certainly on this file.
Residents of this country are looking for an honest source of information, one they can trust. That’s why I think this process is so important.
Municipalities are exceptional at being transparent, partly because we are guided by legislation. We do our budgets in the open. We have public hearings. We can talk about very little behind closed doors legally. Thus that transparency is translated into an ability to trust the decision making.
AUMA has been attempting, along with our provincial and territorial associations, or PTAs, and other municipalities, to take that credibility out on to the national stage because it is hurting municipalities.
We have a duality in Alberta where we have the counties that have all the linear product, all the pipelines and the industrial resources buried in their areas and having to move. We have the urbans that have to service that with housing and quality of life issues. They have to work together.
Whenever that depresses, that means all of that stops. Quality of life changes. Municipalities are the first to have to pick up the pieces. We’re the first to feel the effects. Typically we have to respond.
It has been a frustration for municipalities as creatures of the province to be delegated all this authority but none of the resources. At this point, to be honest, I don’t think we’ve had a great voice when it comes to national or provincial issues of this scope.
One of the goals of AUMA is to make sure that changes because we have credibility and the authority of our electorate behind us. We’re hoping this is just the start of this conversation.
Senator MacDonald: Yes, and I think this is an example of where municipalities should be involved. It’s becoming clearer.
You talked about the federal review of smaller projects. We also heard a lot of discussion and a lot of testimony with regard to who should be intervening or allowed to intervene. Obviously, the municipality would often find itself in a position where it should be intervening if something is happening in its backyard.
You are concerned about a timely basis in terms of reviews for small projects. Could you put a harder framework around that? What would you consider to be timely?
Mr. Morishita: When you speak about Alberta, typically municipalities are approving budgets by the end of the year for the next year. We have to rely typically on the provincial budgets that usually come out in the spring. Once those things are established, we literally have 60 days to get tenders out to have any chance of getting work done that summer.
On small projects, particularly in navigable waters, there is really no reason for there to be any federal purview of those projects whatsoever. In fact the delays end up costing more money because the tenders go up. You miss a construction season. We put resources to get the job done and possibly get a grant. Then we wait and wait and wait and wait another construction season. Sometimes it’s two. Then your engineering is no good and you have to redo it.
On small projects, we don’t see any need for there to be any federal involvement at all. Particularly on existing structure, there should be absolutely no reason why those would be included in any federal review.
Senator MacDonald: I think that’s good advice, and I appreciate your testimony here today.
Senator Cordy: It has really been good over the past few days, including today. We’ve heard a lot about the role of municipalities and what they should be doing in the whole process. Thank you for contributing to that.
I’d also like to go back to small scale projects. If it’s small, I agree with you that we should make the process work quickly. We heard this morning about the cumulative effect. A whole lot of small projects in one area have a huge impact. It could be positive impacts, but they were referring to negative impacts.
It’s close to the water. They showed me a map where it’s close to the water. It’s four or five kilometres from their community. How do you deal with that? It’s easy to say that no small projects have to go through the whole process. I think most, if not all of us, would agree with that, but we have to look at extenuating circumstances. It’s always challenging to make legislation because there’s always the what-if cases.
What about the extenuating circumstances where it’s seven small projects proposed at the same time or within a very short period of time?
Mr. Morishita: There are two ways to answer that question. With all due respect to the provincial and federal levels of government, municipalities are quite mindful of other extenuating circumstances when it comes to project delivery and project planning.
There has to be a trust built there. Like you said, legislation can’t be 100 per cent perfect. At the same time you have to delegate some authority to make progress happen in a reasonable time frame. You would have to trust municipalities to guard those small projects including the cumulative effect.
If water is affected, our neighbours and our residents are affected. If it’s environment or species, it is the people who live there. I have to go to the grocery store and deal with those people every day on those issues. There has to be some trust built.
Legislation can’t guard against people who want to betray that specifically. We have to place it somewhere. Municipalities on those scales of projects is a very safe place to go.
What was the second part of your question?
Senator Cordy: I think that was it.
Mr. Morishita: Was that mainly it?
Senator Cordy: I think you covered it.
Mr. Morishita: Yes. A lot of preplanning is done that is imposed on municipalities when it comes to watershed protection and all kinds of other things layered over top of us that our planning has to take into account all the time.
We are beholden to a lot of regulatory pieces prior to those kinds of projects.
Senator Cordy: We haven’t had a whole lot of people talking about the Canadian Navigable Waters Act, so it’s nice that you commented on that and made recommendations on responding to emergencies. By the way, what you’ve done is very clear. Your presentation is very easy for us to read because you have the concern, the recommendation and the impact in some cases.
I haven’t heard before from any of the witnesses on responding to emergencies. Could you expand on that a bit and give us a couple of examples or an example of where you could see the process being expedited because of an emergency?
Mr. Morishita: I am going to turn that one over to Dan Rude, but one that comes to mind right away is flooding where you have to do something in order to mitigate a safety issue or a health issue in a flood situation. That would be one where municipalities need to have the authority to act and act quickly. They can’t wait for delegations of authority.
Senator Cordy: You’re on the ground. You’re the closest one.
Mr. Morishita: That’s the biggest one because Alberta obviously has faced that in recent history. A lot of work has to be done to mitigate that, but it would probably be the most direct one where you would have no time at all to respond.
Senator Cordy: I am also looking at your lack of definition of a designated project. We heard some witnesses before us say that they would like a designated projects list. You’re saying that you would like to have a definition.
Mr. Morishita: Yes, that might have been a misprint. It is a designated project list we want.
Senator Simons: The list is a definition.
Mr. Morishita: Yes, the list is a definition. That is not defined at this time. We should have a list.
Senator Cordy: You said an amendment to define a designated project. Do you actually mean a designated project list also?
Mr. Morishita: Yes, that’s right.
Senator Simons: It took me a while to realize the project list isn’t a list. It’s a set of criteria for what would go on a list some day.
Mr. Morishita, it’s lovely to see you again. I want to clarify when you’re speaking about small projects. I think this is also confusing for people. You’re not talking about the Impact Assessment Act. You’re talking about navigable waters.
Mr. Morishita: That is correct.
Senator Simons: There are not many things that would happen in a municipality that would trigger an impact assessment. It’s primarily the third section of the bill that you’re focused on.
Mr. Morishita: Yes, on the small piece.
Senator Simons: Municipalities are bound by federal regulation about navigable waters. My home city of Edmonton was heartbroken to find it could not build itself a beach because it would trigger a navigable waters issue. The accidental beach went away; it was very sad.
How different is this bill in the way it constrains municipalities from the existing legislation? It’s not that we have no limits on what municipalities can do with navigable waters that run through their boundaries. How much more onerous does this become? Would it actually have a significant impact on flood mitigation?
Mr. Morishita: I think the problem is that it’s not exactly known. You have the situation of a beach that you can’t consider for your community because of it. We have a situation in Brooks with the Eastern Irrigation District, which is the largest irrigation district in North America. It is one of the most productive on a hectare basis of farmland anywhere. They would like to be able to mitigate against drought by possibly creating some storage upstream on the Bow River.
This consideration could trigger millions of dollars of costs for the Eastern Irrigation District and a long, long process. We could have two drought seasons go by before this is mitigated. We could have irreparable damage to our irrigation district and the actual river itself because it has undergone changes over the years that don’t allow it to do the job it was going to do.
We don’t really know because the difference between major and minor works hasn’t specifically been addressed. For municipalities or other entities involved in flood mitigation, as an example, every time you touch water these days, particularly in southern Alberta, you have to consider the aspects of flood mitigation whatever you do. It’s just an unknown. It’s an unnecessary unknown.
The rules before allowed a lot more. The rules were fairly tight. People knew what they were up against to move forward. With these changes it seems to have opened it up a bit and made it unnecessarily innocuous as to what’s there and what’s not.
Senator Simons: In addition to a project list, would you like to have a definition in the act or one promised in regulation that defined what was a major and a minor work?
We heard earlier in our hearings in Ottawa from the cable ferry operators, a group of people I had never considered as being impacted by the assessment act. They said that they were worried they wouldn’t be able to change the cables on the ferries without triggering a review.
Would you also like to see clarity about what’s a major and what’s a minor work?
Mr. Morishita: Absolutely. A really good example would be in a county. Perhaps they have bridgework they want to upgrade because the bridge was built 70 years ago when trucks weighed X amount. Now we’ve got trucks weighing five times that amount. If they don’t know what’s major and what’s minor, they may be in a situation of having to close that bridge down, resulting in people who are helping transportation like the external contractors, or even farmers themselves, having to detour 50 or 100 kilometres to do their jobs.
Perhaps you want to talk about climate change mitigation and its cumulative effect of doing that. Normally it’s the minor works. If it’s work on an existing bridge, you go in and do the work. You get it done. You move on and life goes on. It is not clear. We would like to see that list because it would make our life a lot easier.
Senator Simons: It’s valuable to hear that people in Alberta have other concerns about Bill C-69 and that it is not just the energy sector. There are lots of areas of impact.
The Chair: Thank you.
Senator Carignan: My question pertains to one definition in particular. I asked the elected officials who were here this morning the same thing, but you mentioned this specifically in your brief. With respect to the definition of “jurisdiction” — or “instance” in French — you recommend
That the Government of Canada amend the definition of “jurisdiction” to include municipalities.
Including municipalities in the definition comes with a consequence. I understand that municipalities want to be consulted on projects that affect them, but if the government were to amend the definition, the delegation of the impact assessment could fall on the municipality, because that is what being a jurisdiction essentially means. Do you want to be able to negotiate with the federal government so that you could carry out the impact assessment for certain projects?
Mr. Morishita: So we never contemplated jurisdiction in that sense. I would doubt, just speaking offhand, that municipalities would want that additional responsibility. We would rather prefer to see one system that works for that. I don’t think it was our intention to bring that on to ourselves.
Rather, it’s not just Bill C-69, the idea of jurisdiction and being consulted. Municipalities are not well recognized in a number of areas, as you may or may not know. Our intention isn’t to do that.
Senator Carignan: I am a former mayor.
Mr. Morishita: Then you understand it very well.
Senator Carignan: I understand it very well. I could be part of the panel. I could be a witness.
Mr. Morishita: That’s excellent. It’s great that you have a good understanding. We did not talk about that or speak to that specifically, but that is something we will actually investigate.
On initial glance, I wouldn’t think we would want to have the responsibility of having that type of process involved in our municipal level.
Senator Richards: I know you don’t have an answer for this because no one does, but I am going to ask it anyway.
What would you say to people who have told this committee that the real problem in the oil industry is the need for more consultation and oversight, and that this bill is a good bill but it doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment? How can you ever convince those senators in the chamber who fundamentally believe in stricter regulation? The chasm is very wide.
We heard from Mark Gerard who said he felt sorry if Alberta thinks they’re going to change the oil market. How do you answer that kind of pleasant glibness he has when talking about problems in Alberta?
Can anyone answer that? Can you give me a hint?
Mr. Morishita: I don’t claim anything.
Mr. Dugan: I don’t claim anything. Specifically what matters is the environment.
Senator Richards: Many people would assume that has to be part of the overall consultation on any project that goes ahead.
Mr. Dugan: I believe the vast majority of Canadians, including people in the oil sector, hold high regard for the environment.
Senator Richards: Absolutely.
Mr. Dugan: Beyond that, maybe it’s better turning the question around and asking this: What is Canada’s place right now? It’s approximately ninth place in GDP globally. We’ve dropped a position or two. Then we could look at the country that’s the lowest on the list of GDP. I believe it’s South Sudan, of all places, the last time I checked.
Ask yourself why it is that we’re in the position we’re in and the South Sudan is in the position that they’re in. Is it because we are somehow intellectually or morally more superior than those in the South Sudan? Does it have something more to do with good government and the rule of law?
From there, then ask yourself how we are to best equip ourselves to deal with every other issue. It’s not all economics. Economics isn’t going to solve all of our problems. How are we to better equip ourselves to deal with other social issues beyond the environment? I am referring to things such as homelessness, mental illness, child welfare, education, the opioid crisis and diabetes. The list goes on and on and on. Our members feel that economics are being set aside for everything else.
Senator Richards: I am the one who agrees with you.
Mr. Dugan: No, I don’t want to preach to the choir with you.
Senator Richards: How can we do this so that other senators who sort of glibly dismiss these concerns will understand that this will cause a real crisis within all the infrastructure of Canada if this goes on? I mean that’s my feeling.
Mr. Dugan: Right. You could best respond to that by changing the scope.
Mr. Morishita: When listening to this I am thinking about municipalities having to make decisions about anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. We certainly consider all the views, but the fact remains we have to move forward. Our decision making and our process should allow that to happen and not beholden to a single loud voice on either side of a spectrum or one side of an issue or another in order to prevent our moving forward.
Forward can be defined in a number of areas. I think Chris Dugan’s list of the social good that comes from being part of Confederation and comes from being a part of the way we do business is a very important illustration of that. We have to listen. I don’t disagree that we have to listen. We also have to do it with a mind to making progress. That’s one step at a time.
Regardless of whether some people say no carbon or no to everything but this free-for-all, those situations aren’t tenable for anybody. It’s up to leadership to make sure we make progress in spite of the voices yelling from the sidelines.
The Chair: I want to ask you something because you just mentioned, “moving forward.” You are referring to development or to growth, but that needs a direction.
The words in the Bill C-69 that wants to signal where to move is “sustainable development.” Do you agree that those words include the equilibrium between the environment, the economy and society? What for you means sustainability development?
Mr. Morishita: Sustainable development, I guess for municipalities, is not how we view things. Ours is about building communities. Perhaps that entails all of the things you talked about to some degree or another.
The fact remains that success for municipal entities, municipal leaders and councillors is in our quality of life improving, that we have less mental health issues, that we have less poverty rate, and that we have less homelessness. We use a number of tools to advance that.
The problem in front of us in this regulatory environment is that we’re trying to capture all of the kinds of detrimental effects and deal with them in one fell swoop. I don’t think that reflects the box we’re operating in. Communities will suffer. We have to keep in mind that we have to build up communities. We have to take a much more thoughtful process and keep it in mind.
All of the interests around that will come back to that. If my kid can’t go to school, if my grandchildren can’t play in a playground, if I can’t go to the theatre or if I can’t watch hockey, all of those things are contained in the effects of this regulatory environment.
If we keep in mind our end goal, we will make progress. We can one over the other specifically and kind of focus on that in the beginning. That’s what we’re hopeful to do. There are other issues to talk about besides just energy. We know it’s important, but if we polarize that debate we’re liable to use the progress we could be making.
Our caution is for you to lead that and say, “This is in fact a way forward.” It’s not going to get us to our end tomorrow but it is the way forward.
Senator Mockler: I have two questions for the witnesses. One will be your thoughts on the veto and the other one will be on how you define your social licence experience.
I looked at the veto aspect of Bill C-69 vis-à-vis the minister or order-in-council and the four Atlantic premier and their governments that sent a letter to the Prime Minister, and I quote:
Our assessment of Bill C-69 as it is currently drafted is that the significant changes being proposed to the scope and scale of federal environmental assessments in Canada will not meet the dual objectives of environmental protection and economic growth.
Another concern to be addressed is that:
The bill as drafted places final decision-making power in the hands of the minister or Governor-in-Council and provides the opportunity to veto the result of thorough scientific assessment and review of evidence.
What do you think of the veto mechanism that will be in the hands of the minister?
Mr. Dugan: With regard to the veto by the minister, that’s something we find troubling. You’ll see that in our recommendations simply because that’s part of the politicization of the process. Where else would you see an opportunity for stakeholders to present evidence to one body, make their case, and then for somebody else outside to weigh evidence and come to a decision and a veto? That would be like a judge in a court phoning in his decision without hearing the evidence.
With regard to your point on social licence, with no disrespect, Senator Mockler, but the whole idea of social licence is never attainable. It’s a moving target. We have to work hard to get that out of the conversation.
Mr. Morishita: I think veto of any kind is a tool for the weak, to be quite honest. It’s a tool for weak people, weak legislation and weak leadership. There should never be a situation. If we threw any problem in front of us right now and we sat here long enough with respect and listening, I honestly think we’d solve that problem. If any one of us had the veto, we would never get there with an outlier. It just doesn’t make sense. Vetoes are terrible tools. The political interference piece that goes hand in hand with that makes no sense. We either trust the process, give our legislation credibility and do it right, or we don’t. I think it’s as simple as that.
I agree with social licence. Again, it comes back to the way municipalities do things. It’s strictly that we have communities to build. We want Canada to be a great place to live. We want Alberta to be a great place to live. We want the county of Newell to be a great place to live, and I want the city of Brooks to be a great place to live. Those things are not mutually exclusive. Therefore social licence for me is a term people are using to advance a single cause. It’s broader than that. When we’re constructing legislation, it should be broader and balancing.
Senator Mockler: I had the opportunity to meet the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as municipal and local governments in New Brunswick and other places such as the Halifax area, Senator Cordy.
Senator Cordy: Or Dartmouth.
Senator Mockler: I want to share with you what the Federation of Canadian Municipalities said:
There is no development possible without social licence as per Bill C-69.
The municipalities are the first to be challenged by their citizens when a project or projects raise questions no matter which level of government is responsible for them. They claim that Bill C-69 aims in particular at defining the process for measuring social licence.
I come back to you, Mr. Mayor. When we come to social licences or licence, how would you define that? Perhaps you don’t have a definition, but I heard what you said a few minutes ago. For the record, can you give us different projects that would be impacted upon by Bill C-69?
Mr. Morishita: I think I answered the social licence thing. I don’t really think it exists in a term like that. I don’t think it’s something you buy, sell or trade. For specific projects at the municipal level like wastewater treatment, when you’re discharging into a river, an irrigation, a lake or whatever, those things become controversial and we have to deal with them at a certain level. They are already provincially regulated. In Alberta we have the fun job of having a federal regulation and a provincial regulation to deal with separately.
A waste energy site might be another good example where you are to process landfill and have a large plant that will be gathering up solid waste materials. It will be on a large chunk of land. It may make some noise and maybe make some smell. I don’t know, but those types of large projects always carry some controversy with them. I don’t know that they would apply because they don’t have a federal jurisdiction model to it.
The problem is that by allowing everyone the opportunity to say something about everything, and this goes to the point we made in our presentation, all of these things suddenly become elevated to the point where everybody feels the need to be involved, and we don’t necessarily get good results out of that. If we have a science-based process, an approval process rooted in scientific fact, and not in fiction, politics or vote getting techniques, we’ll get good results. Trusting in that process is much more important than defining social licence. Progress is measured by my constituents and my members’ constituents by the quality of life they enjoy, by their access to hospitals, by all those things that make life worth living and not by settling in on this, to be quite honest with you.
Senator Carignan: If I may, for the definition of social licence. Maybe it’s a new term to say, “social acceptability.”
In French, it’s called “acceptabilité sociale,” so I think it’s probably used with that in mind.
I think that’s the objective. It’s new terminology, but I think it’s the same concept.
Mr. Morishita: I would wholeheartedly agree with you, and now I can see your municipal colours really shining through when you say that because I know that if you want to talk about acceptability, sometimes the size of your garbage bin will determine whether you are elected or not. And if you are not paying attention, and you are not developing that acceptability in your community at the community level for a wide range of things including these giant — whether they’re pipeline projects or hydro dams or wires or train tracks, if we are not developing, trust in the process so that it can be acceptable. We are not going to get them done regardless. So I think you are bang on about that. It isn’t social licence. It is, in fact, Canadian social acceptability. And if we do a good job, we will get that done.
The Chair: Thank you so much.
For our last panel of the day, from Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners, Carey Arnett, President, and from Tuccaro Group of Companies, Dave Tuccaro, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer.
Ms. Arnett, we will start with your statement.
Carey Arnett, President, Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners: Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners has been helping to construct and maintain pipelines in Canada for over 60 years before the NEB was created. We’ve worked in eight of the thirteen jurisdictions in Canada, employing over 40 million direct man hours and not including subcontracted hours. Our work is primarily building the massive network of smaller pipelines that spread across our country to achieve our quality of life. They’re the ones that help deliver natural gas to heat your home and hospital, fuel to operate your planes, trains and automobiles, oil as feedstock for your life’s components, fuel for electricity to enlighten your place of work and charge your phone, feedstock to the industry that creates fertilizer to grow the world’s agriculture, and energy input to ensure that we have access to clean water.
In addition to my responsibilities at A & B Pipeliners in Canada, I am also president of our sister company Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners (Rockies) in the U.S. that has been active in the northern States for the past three years. Based on my 20 years of experience in multiple provinces and countries as well as having interacted with many technical and regulatory experts from around the world, I can confidently say that Canada’s existing pipeline permitting, engineering design, construction, maintenance and operational regulations are the gold standard worldwide.
Building pipelines in the U.S. is generally viewed upon as easier as long as they do not cross the Canadian border. The FERC process, which is equivalent to our NEB process, is very straightforward with the only exception being the signatory sign-offs by the commissioners.
Given our gold standard approach to building pipelines in Canada, which has been in effect longer than elsewhere, why are we considering this bill? The simple summary of my concerns with the bill is that it appears to be an unnecessary complication that increases uncertainty for project developers without any obvious corresponding benefits.
The Canadian pipeline industry is already working with and abiding by some of the strictest standards in the world. The industry is becoming uncompetitive and uninvestable. A significant increase in regulation requiring subjective assessments and political decision making should be obvious. Canada will lose its energy competitiveness and pay higher costs for its energy use, perhaps requiring government subsidy to electrify energy projects in Ontario out of necessity.
It seems to me that we should be continuing to set a standard allowing Canadians to contribute to net positive changes for our world over coming decades. Yet we seem to be trying to impoverish ourselves to the point where we may not be able to contribute on the world stage economically, politically and through the leading innovations that Canada has brought to the world’s energy industry.
To avoid repetition, I’ll preface my detailed comments by stating that I support the views and proposed amendments presented by CEPA. My primary issues include the following: In subparagraph 22(1)(a)(ii), I am confused as to the intent and ability of assessing cumulative effects. Are we assigning damages to the pipeline industry for the substances it transports? How can anyone possibly measure those cumulative effects in an objective manner? Why would the pipeline industry alone be treated in this manner?
The engineer within us should assign cumulative effect where effects are created. Doing otherwise would be akin to asking an airline to accept liability for a passenger’s actions at destination or the shipping and rail industries accepting liability of ultimate use of their transported products. The concept seems punitive, unprecedented and impossible to regulate unless the objective is to prevent all pipeline construction in principle.
I am confused as to how sex or gender is relevant to an impact assessment for a pipeline project as implied in clause 22. I do not spend much time addressing social disorder issues from too many men in construction camps, as some would imply. This is an antiquated perspective and just simply is not true from my perspective.
Our company and industry understand the value of diversity in the workplace. Discrimination based on gender is illegal in any workplace in Canada, but this is already legislated. Having unique gender considerations as part of the approval process for a select few projects therefore seems unnecessary, potentially unfair and discriminatory for all involved.
The bill would undermine and risk making redundant the technical expertise and precedent that the NEB provides, which would be a tragedy. It’s not just what we would be losing that concerns me. We would also be adding to the workload of the ministry and more specifically the Minister of Environment. My experience when seeking approvals on very simple matters from the ministry has been that decisions are not made until mandated deadlines. Receiving permits and approvals in a timely manner is exceedingly important in the construction industry, not just for economic reasons, but also for reasons concerning health, safety and the environment.
Federally regulated pipeline projects are extraordinarily difficult at best with engineering and design decisions, commercial equations often dependent on volatile commodity prices, many land owners and stakeholder considerations, provincial regulatory considerations, investor confidence, geotechnical routing, and the rest goes on. Layering on a potential rotation at the ministry seems to be a move to never allow all these inputs to properly align.
I urge you to consider that according to polls around 70 per cent of Canadians are in favour of pipeline development and many more sit on the fence. In my view, passing this bill in current form is a disservice to Canada. Please consider how fragmented Canadian society has become. Some $17 billion of foreign direct investment in 2017 alone has left our sector. My specific sector and energy service sector have raised zero equity in the equity markets this year.
Canadian competitiveness clearly needs to increase. I believe that creating constructive dialogue but most importantly clarity is critical. Before one’s industry impact assessment is implemented, I would hope that there’s a more careful impact assessment performed to consider what I think is Canada’s most important contribution to the world: responsible resource development.
Dave Tuccaro, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Tuccaro Group of Companies: Welcome to Fort McMurray. It’s nice that the Senate sees it wise to come and find out what is going on in the oil sand. I don’t know what the percentage is, but it’s over 50 per cent of the revenue generated in Alberta. It’s nice for you guys to come and see what’s going on here. Obviously you missed the big fire we had a few years ago. That was pretty devastating as well as the economy started to slow down at the same time. We got kicked in the ass a couple of times, the people here are resilient. Most of them are from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Eastern Canada. The second largest city in Newfoundland is right here in Fort McMurray where we have people from right across the country that develop the oil sands resource.
I am a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation. I believe my chief was here this morning presenting to you. We’re an isolated community established in 1788 before Canada was a country and before Alberta was a province. We’ve been dealing with economic development and trade and looking after ourselves for a long, long time.
From talking with the people that I know, you invited me here as a business owner and a person that has been involved. I set up the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association 25 years ago when only eight Native businesses were helping support developers of oil sands. This is its 26th year in existence, and today there are more than 130 Native businesses. Back then, collectively, we estimated we generated about $20 million in revenue altogether. Today it’s over a $1.5 billion.
The National Energy Board Act has been in place for all that time. We’ve been able to deal with it. We’ve been able to work around it. I know the courts have gone through many cases to get approvals in many cases and to deal with interventions. I don’t understand why you’d want to change something that is existing, that has been there for a long time and that is working to a new act which basically opens yourselves up to more challenges, especially court challenges from the Indigenous community because they don’t understand it. Why change something that’s working? Why not just make it better? Why not put in place other policies that allow for that organization to keep on moving forward?
I have a question for the Senate. Is this the total Senate committee or just part of it? Are 50 per cent of you here?
Senator Mockler: More.
Senator Carignan: You have the best.
The Chair: We are 14.
Mr. Tuccaro: I thank you so much for coming up. You’re the old timers and we’re the old timers. We have experience. We have the experience required to move our younger generation forward. We can support them and help them. If the Senate Committee is not all here representing and looking to help this move forward, then we’re wasting our time.
Will you have teeth after this report is done? When it’s written, will you present it to Prime Minister Trudeau who will say, “Yeah, we support the Senate,” or are will just sit here and gum everything to death like what normally happens? Is that a no? Do you have teeth?
Senator Richards: I am hoping that doesn’t prove to be true, but God knows.
Mr. Tuccaro: Anyway, it’s a lot of time, effort and energy to try to make this right. I’ve been working with a group. Calvin Helin presented to you guys in Vancouver two days ago. We’ve been putting together a pipeline project that has been roadblocked every step of the way. People are thinking that Native people can’t or shouldn’t own a pipeline. The pipelines that were presented prior to that, the Northern Gateway and the Trans Mountain have had problems or issues because they were blocked by the Indigenous communities that were never involved. They never got a chance to say they approved or disapproved.
We did it the opposite way. We went to the communities first and told them what our proposal was and that we wanted them to own 51 per cent of this project. We’ll build it. We’ll manage it. We’ll make sure the environmental aspects are looked after. We’ll manage that as well. If there are any issues, we’ll be the guys that will be responsible for that. We got approvals from them.
After we got all their approvals, Bill C-48, the tanker moratorium, was put in place on any tankers coming into the Prince Rupert area. That kiboshed the whole project. Nobody is going to invest in something, knowing that they can’t even get their product out at the end of the day. That to me is really silly.
We’re starting to finally understand how to do business in the Canadian mainstream as Native people. By doing stuff like that, they are trying to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Are they more important than the human beings where tankers are coming down the St. Lawrence Seaway in Eastern Canada? Who is more important? Bears or human beings?
We have to get it straight here. We have to get it right. If you are to put a moratorium on Western Canada, then put a moratorium over there too. Meanwhile, you have Saudi Arabian oil coming down the river there and our oil here is curtailed. We can’t produce because we have no place to send it to. We can’t send it anywhere. It’s crazy. Meanwhile, the U.S. is laughing. Trump is just laughing away because he’s getting a subsidy from all our oil going down there. Where’s the sense in all that?
Anyway, I am just kind of ranting right now. That’s just the way I am. What I believe needs to happen with the National Energy Board is: keep it, don’t replace it, add to it, improve it, modernize it and make it better. Put an Indigenous person on that board to get that perspective. A lot of times when an application comes for approval to the government, you don’t have the perspective of the Indigenous community because you don’t have that person there.
I looked around the room today. There’s no Native senator here. I know there’s a couple on your committee. Why aren’t they here? Do you know what I mean? Perhaps this is important to you guys, this Bill C-69 I don’t know if you guys are for it from a Senate perspective or not. It should never matter. What needs to matter is to hell with the Liberals, the Conservatives or NDPers. We need to get stuff rolling in this region. We’re worried about 9,000 jobs lost in Montreal. We lost 120,000 jobs in Alberta. If that’s a crisis, then this must be a fricking — sorry about that; excuse me — tsunami plus a hurricane plus a tornado all coming at us at the same time.
I am just saying: Let’s do this right. You guys are in a place where you can do it. You guys are in a place where you can change it. Forget about the old ways of doing things. Now it’s time for thinking about it. The Indigenous community is alive and well and supports development. I know that. We talk to them. My chief was here this morning. He supports development, but he’s concerned about the environment. You have the oil industry that is dumping stuff in the river here. Also the Bennett Dam dried out the Athabasca Delta in Fort Chip. That’s where I am from.
I’ve been on both sides of the fence. At the same time we have kids that need to survive as well. We have to give them jobs. At the end of the day, what gives you the most dignity is a full-time job where you can pay your own stuff. That’s where the Indigenous community wants to be as well, and we never have in history.
Senator Sinclair just finished his report. He has all these action items. He’s also talking about economic prosperity in his action items. We’re here. We’ve done it. We know how to do it. We can own pipelines. We can own oil refineries, all that stuff.
That is my statement.
The Chair: Thank you so much.
Mr. Tuccaro: You can ask me any questions. I speak at a lot of universities. I don’t make any speeches. Those guys are smart enough to do their homework. You’d think an MBA student would anyway. I just sit down and say, “Hey, guys, ask me questions.” I do better that way.
The Chair: Thank you very much. It is the time for questions.
Senator MacDonald: I thank you both. My first discussion will be with Mr. Tuccaro. We had a little chat outside too, Dave, so it’s good to have you here at the table.
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes, welcome home.
Senator MacDonald: It’s great, it’s great.
You mentioned the National Energy Board. I want to put it on the record that just before the previous government was defeated, the transportation committee did a study on pipelines, and I had the opportunity to chair that. One of our recommendations was to put an Aboriginal on the National Energy Board so that this stuff could be discussed on the front end as opposed to after they had made a decision. To date the government hasn’t acted on that.
Obviously you have been in business for a long time, and you’ve seen a lot of changes.
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes.
Senator MacDonald: Eagle Spirit Route that you’re speaking about would be of great benefit to this country, to your community and to all communities along that line. You said you did some work with Mr. Helin. Could you tell us about the work that had to be done to bring all the communities together to support this proposal?
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes, we could do that. We went to every community. Our people were meeting our people and saying what we think we could do; but we are not going to do this if any one of those guys don’t want to get it done. We’ll walk away. We don’t need to spend our time doing that. We never got paid for it.
Originally the Aquilini group was supporting it, and they left because of the Bill C-48 proposal. Everyone kind of doesn’t want to do anything because there’s no surety. That’s what this whole Bill C-69 is about, with you guys going around the country trying to figure out how you get things moving forward.
Every community supported it, all the guys on this side. Alberta seems a little more advanced with experiencing resource development in our own regions. On the British Columbia side, they’re a bit more hesitant. They don’t have the experience. We convinced them that this is a good thing for them. They’re concerned that they’ll be spill in the rivers. Trans Mountain Pipeline is over 50 years old. Holy shit, like that’s ready to explode any time. You need another line that’s going to straighten that out. You need some new technology there.
We’re proposing a brand new pipeline. We have people that are old pipeline executives that want to come and help us. They’re retired now. They have all this experience. They want to come and help us build this pipeline, but nobody’s going to build a pipeline if you have a tanker moratorium at the other end.
Senator MacDonald: It could be the state of the art pipeline.
Mr. Tuccaro: Absolutely. It will be up to date. I can’t say you can detect a spill before it happens, but you can detect a spill and it shuts off right away by itself. You have all this new technology, but you guys are members of government. You bought Trans Mountain Pipeline. It’s over 50 years old. Like, we have to modernize that pipeline as well.
That’s what we did. We went out and got approval from the community first because that is where most of the prior proposals of Northern Gateway didn’t pass. They didn’t do it. They just thought they could build a pipeline and then go to talk to the Native people after. That’s what caused the whole shutdown of it. We did it the other way around where we got the approval first from them and then we kept on moving forward.
The oil companies want to support us. They want to ship their oil. They actually want to own a part of the pipeline. They’ll buy 2 per cent, 3 per cent or 5 per cent of the pipeline to guarantee that their product gets shipped down the line.
Senator MacDonald: That’s right.
Mr. Tuccaro: The financial side of it is not that hard. It’s getting the approvals that is the problem. The oil companies own it. We’ve had a meeting with the Japanese or the Chinese that have all kinds of money to invest in Indigenous communities. This is one example.
Senator MacDonald: I appreciate it very much. I have a question for Ms. Arnett. You have a unique perspective in that you work on pipelines on both sides of the border. That’s a unique experience to have. You talked about the regulatory processes on both sides and how they make decisions, but is there anything in particular that sticks out that the Americans do right that we don’t, or that we do wrong or that we are deficient in? Is there something in particular that we could put on the record here and apply it?
Ms. Arnett: I think there’s a great respect for energy independence in the United States. It’s fundamental to the country. There is a much more productive attitude. I primarily build non-FERC interstate lines, so the regulations vary by jurisdiction. Fundamentally, you only have to get on the FERC website to see the numerous approvals. The ability to fluidly respond to the economic needs of the country is working.
Senator Cordy: Thank you both for being here. Sometimes a rant is really good. It makes you feel really good, doesn’t it? In most of the cities in Canada and in the city I am from, Dartmouth, we have natural gas pipelines down many of the streets, with arteries going off into each house. Many of us have a propane tank in a yard so that we have propane for a fireplace or a stove or whatever.
How did it get to be that these types of small pipelines, if we can call them that, are very acceptable? People don’t vote on whether or not the natural gas pipelines are going into the cities. It just happens. Yet, the major oil pipelines are very controversial across the country, I would say. Maybe it is not in Alberta, but across the rest of the country. How did that happen?
Ms. Arnett: First, I didn’t know rants were acceptable. I might have changed it up a bit. Pipelines are out of sight and out of mind. Fundamentally the world trusts pipelines. It is the safest way to move our commodity. The small pipelines that are out of sight and out of mind are not under economic warfare.
Senator Cordy: How do we change it? How do you get people to understand?
Ms. Arnett: Principally we need to make sure that the people making decisions about our energy future are domestic stakeholders that don’t have misaligned interests in what we should be doing to create our economic policy in Canada.
Senator Cordy: Should industry do promotions as to the safety and necessity, all those kinds of things as well, or should it all just be governed?
Ms. Arnett: The industry has become quite active in educating the public. I refer you to the CEPA guides on energy. Our industry is collaborating as much as it ever has been to maintain the trust and social licence, but fundamentally I think this is about more than social licence.
Mr. Tuccaro: I just think it’s jurisdictional. To put a natural gas pipeline in a city, it’s just accepted.
Senator Cordy: Yes, it is. It’s one jurisdiction.
Mr. Tuccaro: If you want to get heat, you have to connect and you pay for it. When you start going through other jurisdictions such as traditional territories of the Indigenous communities, it’s different because no one has ever done it before. It’s not that the Indigenous populations don’t support it. They just don’t understand it.
Take the time to make them understand. Get them involved. I’ve been working here in the oil sands. I own seven companies here. Before the fire, I had over 600 employees. That was reduced down to 180 after the fire. We got whapped. We got whapped pretty good, but we’re still here. This is where we’re from. If I was to die in your city, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, somebody will find me and take me back to Fort Chip. That’s where I am from.
Senator Cordy: You hope, right?
Mr. Tuccaro: I think it’s jurisdictional. When we’re talking the pipeline that’s required to come out the oil sands, that’s huge. That’s a lot of impact on a lot of different communities and a lot of territories. In order to get that approved, you have to talk to them. Imagine you’re here in Fort McMurray, and somebody right now is in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, digging up your backyard. When you get home and there’s a big hole back there, what are you going to think? What are you going to do? You’re going to say, “Why the hell are you digging up my backyard?”
That’s what happens in many cases in the Indigenous communities. They just do it, and after a while say, “Oh, I am sorry.” It doesn’t happen that way. We’ve been winning many court cases. Supreme Court decisions support what we’ve been saying all along. Now we’re understanding how to play the game. We just want to be a part of that.
Senator Cordy: On your second bullet, Ms. Arnett, about sex or gender relevant to impact assessment, as a woman in the sector you prefer to participate based on merit than on quota. We had the Native Women’s Association appear before our committee. One of the witnesses said that when a project comes into a community they want jobs for women but need support like child care. If they’re working in the mine, that’s not between the hours of 7:00 and 6:00. That’s 24/7 because of the nature of the jobs. They also said that they were very pleased that this was the first time ever that gender-based analysis was in a bill. They felt that having this in the bill gave a voice to Indigenous women, which was sadly lacking in legislation related to energy.
What would you say to these women who are really pleased to see and to recognize that maybe they need a bit of endorsement within legislation things are different like 24-hour child care, for example?
Ms. Arnett: I would say that women contributing to pipeline projects is extremely important. Our industry is making great strides, especially since when I started in the industry. I strongly believe in government assistance programs like Women Building Futures. I don’t see its place in the evaluation of a project. I truly believe that it should be based on the best person for the job.
When I am employing and when I am asked to participate in things, I am very leery of being asked because I am a woman rather than because of my thoughts, ideas and diversity that I do bring. There’s absolutely place for legislation and government programs to assist women. I think that it is very confusing in the context of trying to evaluate the merit of a pipeline project.
Senator Simons: I want to say to Mr. Tuccaro that I am from Alberta. I am from Edmonton, from Treaty 6 territory. I know my colleague, Patti LaBoucane-Benson, who is our other Treaty 6 senator, she’s detained in Ottawa dealing with an Indigenous child welfare piece of legislation. She certainly wanted to be here. I also want to say I know Fort McMurray. You may have known my dad, Norman Simons, who was the first lawyer to open a practice.
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes, absolutely.
Senator Simons: You’re the first person I’ve met here who has been here long enough to remember my dad. I spent a lot of my childhood visiting in Fort McMurray, so I am very thrilled to be back. Having laid out my bona fides, I want to start my first question with you.
When your chief, Archie Waquan was here earlier this morning, he spoke quite passionately in defence of Bill C-69. You’ve offered us a very different perspective. Of course, not everybody who is a Mikisew Cree has to agree with everybody else who is Mikisew Cree. I don’t imagine that happens very often in fact.
Mr. Tuccaro: You guys are doing it right now with Trudeau, aren’t you?
Senator Simons: No, no. That’s what my teeth are for.
Mr. Tuccaro: That a girl.
Senator Simons: You know from your negotiating experience to get a pipeline done that there’s a lot of distrust on the other side of the border, especially in British Columbia where it’s largely unceded territory and very few people have treaty rights to their land. I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t know if you heard any of Chief Waquan’s testimony.
Mr. Tuccaro: I didn’t. Good for him, though.
Senator Simons: I think in the project of reconciliation we want legislation that is good for Indigenous people. It’s confusing to us when we hear many different perspectives. I don’t know what you learned in your experience in British Columbia that you think might be helpful more broadly to convince people of how we move forward with a regulatory thing that does respect Indigenous rights but doesn’t strangle all development.
Mr. Tuccaro: Your existing act right now allows anybody from anywhere, it could be from Timbuktu, to be an intervenor on a project. Like, it doesn’t make any sense. The impact on oil sands development is right here in Northern Alberta. It’s not in Timbuktu or San Francisco. It’s right here. We’re the biggest impacted communities. We should have a special access to ensure that we’re looked after because you can’t have an environmental organization out of San Francisco recommending a tanker moratorium in Prince Rupert because of their heart.
Senator Simons: Their hearts are with the bears.
Mr. Tuccaro: We’ve had all these actors come up to Fort McMurray to say, “The oil sands are no good. Look at all this tar sands over here.” They fly in on their jets and all that sort of thing. A year later we had this huge fire, and they’re not here. Where are they when we need the help? They’re willing to come up here and get some photo ops with the chief and do a cold water bucket fricking drench or whatever they used to do. I don’t know. Some of our chiefs aren’t that good neither. They get paid to sit beside them. It’s not right.
I understand your confusion. I understand that for sure. We have to get to the root of the issue and the problem. It’s not always the chiefs that are the guys. The communities are the ones at the end of the day that are going to allow you to go through their territories. The chief at the time might not be the right chief. He just got elected because he has more family members voting for him. All that stuff needs to be considered when you’re looking at applications to develop oil sands, to develop diamond mines and to develop nickel in Voisey Bay. That kind of stuff needs to be brought to the table, and you guys need to understand the implications of all that.
If you don’t have the right people sitting at the table when you’re making those decisions and discussing them, you’re never going to get them. Then you implement them, and now you have court cases coming at you with delays again. You have people that want to invest in oil sands saying, “Well, holy shit, these guys are crazy up there. We’re going to invest in Venezuela. It’s crazy there, but it’s crazier up there in Fort McMurray.” Do you know what I mean? We have to understand the totality of it.
Those communities in British Columbia have been so hard done by for so many years that they don’t trust anybody. It was the government that always came in and said, “I am going to look after you. I am going to look after you. I am going to look after you.” They just give you enough to be poor, and then they’re going to come now with a pipeline. They don’t trust you. You have to get to those people. How are you going to do that? You’re the senators. We’re all the old timers in this country. We have to get to that issue, those topics, and talk to those people on the ground.
Senator Richards: I was a bit upset with Prime Minister Trudeau when he mentioned the toxic males coming in and that’s why they needed a gender-based study. I didn’t get the idea of daycare in his statement. He was talking about toxic males, one being my son who was working out here when his wife was home pregnant. He didn’t talk about the guys going to McGill University. I am wondering if you share that sentiment.
Ms. Arnett: Frankly, I think it was insulting to the construction industry. I don’t think it was based in a deep-rooted understanding of current Canadian pipeline construction practices and is an antiquated notion. I have people in camps. A large portion of them are women as well. I just don’t have these social disorders coming out. The industry has strict policies and procedures, safety and harassment procedures. We’re not running a Mickey Mouse club. We’re contributing to very important infrastructure. Any situations that arise are disciplined accordingly. I just don’t see it being an issue.
Senator Richards: Mr. Tuccaro, I talked with Senator Sinclair a year ago about certain things. This is absolutely true. I’d love the First Nations to be autonomous in their own rights within our country. I’d love them to teach their children in their own language. I’d love to see all this, but it will not happen without financial independence. I think you answered this, but since I wrote down the question I am going to ask it again. I don’t see that happening with the way Bill C-69 is ordered.
Mr. Tuccaro: Like I said, some chiefs are going to support it and some are not. At the end of the day with the old act, you could have anybody present to you or anybody could be an intervenor. You have to get to the people that are actually impacted in those regions and in those communities. What do they want? You should take that. I don’t know if you take a scale of percentages, but 70 per cent of your time should be spent there and 20 somewhere else. I don’t know, but those are the people who will be impacted at the end of the day.
The oil sands have impacted all of Canada. We send tax revenues to Alberta and to Ottawa to build the oil sands. Not only that, a lot of guys are from Eastern Canada. You’re senators. You got relations here. Like I said, this is the second largest city in Newfoundland, Fort McMurray. We impact the whole Canadian economy.
I am going to go on a rant again. We need to have access. We need to have opportunity. We need to be recognized on the National Energy Board. There should be an Indigenous person on there. We should be focused on traditional rights. Also, treaties have been negotiated years ago. That’s what the Indigenous political leaders are concerned about. We’re finally getting there a bit.
I have a group of companies. I am okay. I don’t have to spend that much time chasing after the dollar anymore because I made a bit for myself. A lot of young kids are out there. We support that here in Fort McMurray. We have over 130 Native businesses in this region supplying goods and services to the oil sands industry. We pay our own way. We’re paying taxes. Why can’t we do that everywhere else in Canada?
The Senate could be a place where you start that. Shake these young politicians up. Their tail feathers are sticking straight in the air, thinking, “You insulted me; you insulted my heart.” Who gives a shit? Go out and fix the country.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We’re going to continue with Senator Carignan.
Senator Carignan: I have a few questions.
I imagine that Ms. Arnett is not the founding president of the company if the company is 60 years old.
For a number of years now, we’ve been building pipelines. For fun, I took a look at the pipeline map for my area. As someone who used to be the mayor of the town of Saint-Eustache, I know there’s a pipeline that cuts through the city from east to west over a distance of approximately 6 kilometres and another at the city’s far end. One of them is 50 feet away from a property of mine, and I had no idea. A third pipeline runs 500 feet away from my house, which I didn’t know either. From the map, I could see they all run through the Rivière des Mille-Îles near where I live. All that to say, they cut through rivers and residential areas, and there has never been a problem. Doesn’t the problem we are talking about today stem from the public’s lack of education about the high quality of pipelines and the extremely low risk of accidents?
Ms. Arnett: Thank you, senator. Yes, it was my grandfather who founded the company. Our pipelines are everywhere. There are more pipelines than roads and power lines combined, perhaps. It’s infrastructure that you don’t have to love, but everyone uses it. We’re not really conscious because of the engineering excellence that has been employed on our pipelines. They’re very safe. They have long lives if constructed, planned and designed properly.
They’re transporting a commodity that doesn’t have a lot of attention because everyone relies on it, and perhaps nobody cares because of not realizing how the system connects. I think maybe there’s a lot of wrong information being spread. Maybe the industry has fallen behind by never having to communicate it before because no one cared. When I grew up in the industry, no one really knew what my family did building pipelines. I never thought pipelines would be front-page news or as radical and sexy as they are today. Now it’s the most common tweet bite or sound bite. I don’t have a lot of explanation other than I think that there is a vested interest from energy haves around the world to keep our reserves in place.
Senator Carignan: Since we are talking about Bill C-69, should we be planning right-of-way corridors? Would that be conducive to pipeline building and transportation while limiting the number of areas affected? Should we hold consultations on right-of-way corridors? That would make for a much smoother process in terms of approving the building of a pipeline or hydro line in a right-of-way corridor and allow for such projects to be fast-tracked. Don’t you think?
Ms. Arnett: I think that one of the great things about Canada is that we have set aside rights-of-way corridors. There are lots of co-locations of utility assets within such. What seems simple from environmental and beautification perspectives can cause engineering challenges such as co-locating power lines and pipelines.
We are active in AC mitigation work. While it might minimize the geographic footprint, it actually causes quite a bit of chaos with corrosion issues and safety issues of the co-location of those assets. When minimizing the footprint, to responsible pipeline operators routing is always important planning and design consideration. There’s also pragmatics of where that pipeline is trying to go as well.
The Chair: We need to move to last questions with Senator Neufeld and Senator Mockler.
Senator Neufeld: You talk about Western Canada. I am from Western Canada. I am from Fort St. John. I am from British Columbia. I’ve been involved as a kid in the oil and gas industry and a lot of my political life has been in the oil and gas industry. When we talked about pipelines not being built in British Columbia, as we speak, there’s a 42-inch pipeline being built from just north of where I live over to the coast for an LNG plant. Right now they’re drilling under the Peace River. That will be a 56-inch drill, and it will take six or seven months to get that pipe across.
We’re used to pipelines, sir, where I come from. The southern part of the province is not as used to them as we are. Where Eagle Spirit was going through just north of Fort St. John. We don’t have a lot of oil in northeast B.C. We have a smaller amount of oil. You have the oil here. We in British Columbia have some of the largest reserves of natural gas in North America. We are trying to get that to the coast.
That pipeline went through the B.C. environmental process, not the federal process. One of the reasons it got through was because Shell did a good job in consulting with people. We should remember Trans Mountain. I’ve gone where that line is going to go. You talk about 50 feet. It’s right down the middle of the street in a city. I mean there are concerns. I can tell you there are concerns. People are not used to something that size. It is much bigger than the line that is there right now. Most people probably didn’t know the line was there unless they knew about the yellow strips down the road.
The environmental movement wants to shut down the oil sands.
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes, absolutely.
Senator Neufeld: They tackle the pipelines. They get in there. That is what they’ve done. That’s part of what’s happening. It’s unfortunate as heck. I’d rather see the pipeline go through. I am pro. I’d like to see it go through because I think we can do it in today’s world with the technology we have and how pipelines are built and maintained. There’s nothing wrong with the present line. It might be 50 years old, but they monitor that steadily and it’s working fine.
Mr. Tuccaro, you talked about standing. CEAA 2012 didn’t let everybody in the world in. With CEAA 2012 you had to be affected or an expert. They would take submissions from other people, but those were the main things. This bill we’re discussing now is the one that opens it up to the world. I am totally opposed to that, absolutely totally opposed. We shouldn’t be opening it up to the world. It’s fine to get expert opinions and all those kinds of things from other people or other areas, but the people directly affected are the ones we should be talking to.
When you said before that it was wide open, did you know that it wasn’t?
Mr. Tuccaro: Oh, no, I didn’t, but this bill is proposing to let people in.
Senator Neufeld: That is what this bill is proposing.
Mr. Tuccaro: Did you know that companies like the Koch brothers in the U.S. are funding environmental movements to come up here and disrupt oil development?
Senator Neufeld: Yes, because they want to shut down the oil sands.
Mr. Tuccaro: In a roundabout way they fund a foundation that funds a foundation that funds a foundation that pays young Native kids to hang off the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver. These young Native kids are broke. You give them 500 bucks, they’ll hang anywhere.
Senator Neufeld: It’s not just Native kids.
Mr. Tuccaro: No, it’s not just them. They’re getting young kids who have no money at all to go out there and protest. They chained themselves to a fricking shovel out here. I was talking to the guy from Shell. I said, “Where are you going?” He had bottles of water. He said, “I have to take them to the protestors.” I said, “To hell with them. The mosquitos will come out in an hour. They’ll fricking unchain themselves.”
Senator Neufeld: They will. If we had mosquitos, we would be able to export a few down there. I wanted to make that clarification.
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes. Thank you for that.
The Chair: Thank you, Senator Neufeld.
Senator Neufeld: We are a Treaty 8 territory. We are treaty wise. I just wanted to ask the question and put it on the record. If we had time, I would put more on the record.
Senator Mockler: I do not have a question, but I want to put a point of reference on the record. We are 14 senators on this committee. Two-thirds of the senators are here. For the public and the witnesses that heard the previous comments, two-thirds of the senators are here on the energy committee chaired by madam. The other parliamentarians or the other senators had obligations. They had to stay in Ottawa because the Senate is sitting.
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes.
Senator Mockler: You’ve also asked whether we had First Nations senators. Yes, we have two First Nations senators like me. By “like me,” I mean the senators around this table. We have Senator LaBoucane-Benson and Senator McCallum, and they have responsibilities in the Senate. I wanted to make this clear.
There’s another question that I was asked. Last night I was talking to Albertans from Saint Leonard, New Brunswick, where I come from. Our people who are working here call it Fort Mac. They asked, “Who’s the sponsor of the bill?” I can tell you it’s not any senators from New Brunswick. The sponsor of the bill, to the witnesses and to the public, is a senator from Alberta, Senator Grant Mitchell.
Before I talk about what a witness was telling us, maybe you should be talking to Senator Grant Mitchell. We had a witness tell us that in the last 8, 10 or 12 years the U.S. constructed 8 to 10 equivalent Keystone XLs. During that same time, we all remember what the Obama administration said about the Keystone Pipeline for Canada.
If we look at what they’ve built in the U.S., our biggest trading partner, they’ve built the equivalent of three pipelines starting at the Port of Halifax and ending at the Port of Vancouver. They built three pipelines that are approximately 6,500 kilometres long. In Canada, zilch or zero where I come from.
You are the professionals. I ask you: “What is wrong with Canada? What went wrong with Canada during that period of time?” I believe that what’s being proposed to you in Bill C-69 will be a killer of jobs. Not only can we use the word killer, but we are stopping our children and grandchildren from sharing in the wealth of Canada.
Mr. Tuccaro: Yes, and it’s all being shipped to the United States.
The Chair: No, I think the question was asked.
Senator Mockler: What do you think?
The Chair: Do you agree?
Ms. Arnett: There’s a graphic that CEPA has that is quite telling on the lines. Canada has one of the longest onshore pipeline networks in the world. CEPA has a graphic of one export line currently in the lower mainland where we export a very minimal amount. Then there’s the proposed LNG Canada project. That’s essentially it.
The U.S. has enormous reserves and does not need our commodity. We have failed to get our commodity to market. It’s as simple as that.
The Chair: With that, I have to close this panel. Thank you very much for your testimony.