Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Transport and Communications
Issue No. 3 - Evidence, May 3, 2016
OTTAWA, Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications met at 9:30
a.m. today, to continue its study on the development of a strategy to facilitate
the transport of crude oil to eastern Canadian refineries and to ports on the
East and West coasts of Canada.
Senator Dennis Dawson (Chair) in the chair.
Chair: Honourable senators, I declare this meeting of the Standing
Senate Committee on Transport and Communications open.
Today, the committee is continuing the review for the development of a
strategy to facilitate the transportation of crude oil to Eastern Canadian
refineries and to ports on the East and West Coasts of Canada.
One of the objectives of our public meetings is to examine how to best
distribute the risks and benefits across Canada.
I would like to welcome our witness today, Chris Bloomer, President and Chief
Executive Officer from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. Mr. Bloomer,
the floor is yours.
Chris Bloomer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Energy
Pipeline Association: Good morning and thank you. I want to thank everyone
for the opportunity to present here today on this subject, and I look forward to
the questions and a good discussion.
CEPA represents the 12 major transmission pipeline companies across Canada.
They transport 97 per cent of all the energy, natural gas and hydrocarbons
produced and moved within Canada and currently exporting into the United States.
The companies operate about 119,000 kilometres of pipeline, which is an enormous
number. To give you some perspective, that length of pipeline would probably go
three times around the world.
We operate a tremendous pipeline system and have for the past 60 years.
These energy highways enable economic growth and prosperity; I think we all
agree on that. In 2015 alone, transmission pipeline operations added $11.5
billion to Canada's gross domestic product, sustained an estimated 34,000
full-time jobs and generated about $2.9 billion in labour income. A conservative
estimate of the total GDP contribution over the next 30 years is $175 billion,
and that's just in the current pipeline system that is operating right now.
This is why the development of a strategy to facilitate the transport of
crude oil to eastern Canadian refineries and to ports on the east and west
coasts is critical to the economic well-being of Canadians. As a country, we
must ensure we are getting the best value for our natural resources and that
Canadians have access to a secure source of energy.
There are many issues that must be addressed in order to facilitate market
access, and we are confident that your committee will explore each of these
issues in depth. For our part, CEPA will focus our comments on three critical
components that must be met in order to build public confidence in pipeline
infrastructure: first, Canadians must have confidence in the regulatory
oversight of our pipeline networks; second, Canadians must have confidence that
our industry is meeting or exceeding regulatory requirements; and, third,
Canadians must have confidence that the regulatory oversight and industry
commitments are resulting in a level of safety and environmental performance
that assures Canadians that projects can proceed sustainably and with minimal
I will first talk about public confidence in the regulatory process. The
public must have confidence in the regulatory oversight of the pipeline
industry. Major projects will only be accepted by the public if the project has
been through a fair, science-based process that the public has confidence in.
In recent years, expectations from stakeholders and the public have grown. I
think we all see that. Stakeholders have rightfully sought assurances that
regulatory oversight is robust and thorough, and that their views will be
What often gets lost in this dialogue is that pipelines are by far the safest
and most efficient method of transportation. This is not only due to the
industry-wide commitments to improving safety and environmental performance, but
also due to the robust regulatory environment in which pipelines are approved
All aspects of the lifecycle of the pipeline — and it is important to view it
that way, because the way the industry views it is that there's a lifecycle to
these projects, and they are long-lived — from design and construction to
operation and abandonment, are subject to strict oversight from regulatory
agencies and government departments. Extensive federal and provincial regulation
assures that pipelines are safe and operate in the public interest.
For pipelines that cross provincial or federal boundaries, the National
Energy Board has been the primary regulator for almost 60 years. In this time,
it has overseen the approval of thousands of kilometres of pipelines in Canada
and overseen the lifecycle of every pipeline under its jurisdiction. In every
case, regulation is there to ensure that the highest standards for environmental
protection and human safety are met. The value of the institutional knowledge
and expertise found within this federal regulator should not be overlooked. The
board's comprehensive environmental assessment of large-scale projects, together
with its experience and expertise, make the NEB the best-placed regulator to
make decisions within a single process.
Many of the changes made to Canada's regulatory environment in 2012 made
improvements to the clarity, fairness and timeliness of the process, which
reduced inefficiency and risk while safeguarding environmental outcomes. These
new rules also improved coordination between the NEB and provincial processes;
reduced duplication and overlap; coordinated timely licensing and permitting;
and helped avoid unnecessary complexity, delays and uncertainty. Other
improvements made by these changes include clear compliance mechanisms and rules
that enable conservation through habitat banking, conservation agreements and
As the government reviews the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and
looks at modernizing the National Energy Board, we cannot lose sight of the need
to balance robust environmental oversight with regulatory certainty and
efficiency. To restore public confidence, we must get the right balance by
building upon what works well and improving what does not.
I will now move to what the industry is doing to go beyond regulatory
Although regulatory oversight of pipelines is already world-class, CEPA
members realize that in order to earn and maintain public confidence in their
own performance, they must strive to continuously improve and to go above and
beyond current regulatory requirements. In order to accomplish this, they also
realize that industry-wide collaboration is necessary.
This was the rationale behind the establishment of the CEPA Integrity First
program as a critical step for our industry. Through the Integrity First
program, pipeline companies are able to collaborate and determine the most
sensible method to achieve and exceed intended regulatory outcomes. The program
also pushes members to actively work together to define and implement industry
best practices to go beyond regulation and drive continuous improvement. This
avenue to continuous improvement is effective because it allows pipeline
companies that employ industry experts to make decisions on how to safely
operate their pipelines with the least amount of risk to workers, the public and
Our members have also come together to collaborate on a number of other
industry-leading practices and agreements that have contributed to the
continuous improvement of safety performance. One example of this is the Mutual
Emergency Assistance Agreement, signed by all CEPA members. The agreement
provides a framework that allows companies to call upon each other to help in
emergency response situations. Assistance can take many forms, such as
personnel, equipment, tools or specialized response advice. In the event of an
emergency, all CEPA members follow the standard ICS protocols in order to ensure
their response teams can demonstrate the interoperability that is crucial in
dynamic emergency situations.
On industry performance, all of these collaborative efforts, combined with
individual investments into safer operating practices and technologies, have
translated into a safety record that we as an industry are very proud of.
Approximately 53 natural gas and liquids releases were reported by CEPA
member companies in 2015, with 66 per cent coming within the confines of the
pipeline facilities, not the actual pipeline, and were minor in nature, some as
small as pinhole leaks, which pose very little risk to the public or the
environment. These incidents are extremely few, considering the time frame and
the volumes transported on the system. The volumes are approximately 1.2 billion
barrels a year of crude oil and about 3.4 Tcf of gas a year, which is tremendous
volume. In fact, 99.99 per cent of the volumes that went into the transmission
system were delivered safely to markets. The nature of the incidents was not
catastrophic, and only one significant event was reported with respect to its
impact on the environment.
Regardless of the severity of an incident, our members are willing and able
to respond in an efficient and effective manner to remediate any and all impacts
to the environment and the public. Despite this excellent track record, our duty
to excellence in performance and environmental protection is not taken lightly.
In fact, when it comes to safety and continuous improvement, member CEOs who
make up the CEPA board do not compete. To be clear, these companies do not
compete on safety. Safety is a priority for everyone. If someone has an
incident, they all have an incident. All pipeline integrity and maintenance
costs flow through the tolls charged to producers, meaning that there is no
competitive advantage to cutting corners on safety. In fact, more than $1.3
billion is spent annually on pipeline integrity measures.
In closing, CEPA and its members are encouraged by the committee's focus on
the development of a strategy to facilitate the transport of crude oil to
eastern Canadian refineries and to ports on the East and West Coasts. To get our
products across Canada and to the rest of the world, Canadians have always built
solid infrastructure. From the Canadian Pacific Railway to the St. Lawrence
Seaway, the Trans-Canada Highway and the TransCanada pipeline system, we have
built and maintained a great heritage of nation-building projects.
Infrastructure is the platform on which our prosperity is built, and
transmission pipelines are part of these essential public goods.
Thank you very much. I look forward to questions and discussion.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Bloomer. I know you are familiar with most
of the members of the committee, but I would like to introduce everyone for the
people following us on the Web. We have a senator from Halifax, Stephen Greene,
Senator Black from Alberta, Senator Eggleton from Toronto, Senator MacDonald
from Nova Scotia, Senator Unger from Alberta, and finally, Senator Doyle from
Newfoundland and Labrador, who will be the first person to question you this
Senator Doyle: Thank you, Mr. Bloomer, for your presentation. It was
very interesting. I have a couple of brief questions.
I noticed former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney recently made some comments on
the need to get Canada's natural resources to tidewater and into international
markets. He said maybe we should convene a federal-provincial- Aboriginal
national summit on the pipeline regulatory and approval process to see if we can
find some common ground to move forward. Do you see any merit to Mr. Mulroney's
suggestion of a national summit on this issue for an industry that is suffering
from all of these locally inflicted cuts that we are hearing about? Do you think
some progress could be made if we were to follow the route he is talking about?
Mr. Bloomer: It is an interesting point. I think lots of communication
is always important, and forums for national discussion are very important. I
think they can add to people's understanding and knowledge base and coming to
However, we do have a regulatory process now, and we are moving through that.
That regulatory process is not devoid of consultation. We have new interim rules
in place for two of the projects now to enhance consultation and have rolled in
an assessment of greenhouse gases. Those processes have extended the regulatory
I wouldn't want the convening of an international forum to supersede what is
already in place, but I think it can be helpful going forward in the future. I
think we need to see the outcomes of the current process.
Senator Doyle: The Ontario Energy Board stated in a 2015 report that
there is an imbalance between the economic and environmental risks of a project
like the Energy East Pipeline and the expected benefits for Ontarians. Do you
have any comment on that?
Mr. Bloomer: If you look at the economic benefits, both direct and
indirect and during construction and post- construction, across the province —
especially with Energy East, if you look from New Brunswick back to Alberta —
all the provinces benefit to a material degree, both in terms of the
construction period and the ongoing operations of the pipeline. There are
benefits right across the board.
With respect to relative risks, these pipelines are safe. They have a
tremendous track record. The issue is that we need to do more. I think the
education part of it is key to do more to educate people about these pipelines
and that they are safe.
Senator Black: Mr. Bloomer, thank you very much for being with us
today and thank you for the work you are doing on behalf of Canadians. I have
three questions, with the indulgence of the chair.
The first one is a general question arising from comments that were made last
week by the CEO of TransCanada Corporation, Mr. Girling. You would have noted
that he was observing as to whether or not there is any merit in having GHG
emissions from pipelines considered in the issue of pipeline approvals. Are you
able to comment on that?
Mr. Bloomer: It's CEPA's position and view that the inclusion of
greenhouse gas emissions in the evaluation of pipeline projects is not
appropriate. I think that's what Mr. Girling was getting at.
It's important to remember that the Canadian pipeline systems do not emit
even close to a material amount of greenhouse gas emissions and are probably one
of the most efficient in terms of managing greenhouse gas emissions of most
pipelines in the world. We have a great track record and it's not a big impact.
We don't think the decision to roll greenhouse gases into the evaluation of
the pipeline projects as the greenhouse gas emissions of projects is
appropriate. First, it is provincial jurisdiction and the rules are there for
that; and second, if those projects are approved to go, they have met the
environmental requirements of the producing region. Pipelines are there to serve
Senator Black: Thank you. My next question relates to the proposed
tanker moratorium on the West Coast of Canada. Are you able to provide us the
views of your association with regard to that issue?
Mr. Bloomer: I think the moratorium is just that, a moratorium; it's
not a permanent situation. I think a lot of discussion has to happen on that. We
would say that the marine movement of crude oil can be and is done safely
throughout the world. On the East Coast, it is happening today. So restricting
it in an area like that I think is not fair. There are some folks, certain First
Nations, who would not like to see that happen, either.
Senator Black: Thank you. My last question for you, Mr. Bloomer,
relates to your view as to the ramifications to Canada if pipelines to the East
and West Coasts should not be approved.
Mr. Bloomer: I think there are manifold consequences to that. One, we
would be locked into our current market and we would be damaging the Canadian
economy by not getting the best value for our products. That is in the order of
tens and hundreds of billions of dollars over time. We need to access other
markets to get the best value and to develop our resources.
I think the consequence of that would certainly send a financial message —
that Canada is not open for business in that regard. I think it would severely
limit our ability to attract capital to the energy sector. If we can't produce
and get to market, people will not put money into that sector. In the long term,
it would have a very harmful effect on the government and the people of Canada.
Probably the largest single investment out there right now is on these projects
and pipeline systems.
Senator Unger: The anti-fossil fuel organization has done a lot of
harm with their anti-oil message. In fact, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff
previously spoke many times about shutting down the hydrocarbon industry.
First of all, yes, I think mistakes were made by the oil industry or
government, which has given the anti-oil crowd a big boost. To what do you
attribute the rise in public support for their message?
Mr. Bloomer: That's a pretty deep and broad question. Over the past 10
years, these issues have risen to the fore. We have had major forces like social
media, climate change, the whole concept of the rise of renewable resources and
so on. The oil sands really attracted a lot of negative attention by these
groups. I think they were obviously funded from outside sources, and it has been
a real challenge to manage those things.
Part of the issue is that we — I will use the collective "we'' here — have
not educated ourselves about what the value of these resources is and what the
industry has been doing over a long period of time on innovation, development
and so on.
The biggest thing that has happened in the oil industry in the past five
years is multi-staged fracking. Like it or not, it has had a very significant
impact on energy supply globally, and that was the industries developing that
technology, which has had a major impact, along with the continuous improvement
in the oil sands business. If you look back 10 years, the way things are
operated then versus now, there has been a tremendous change in how those
operations are handled, developed and so on. Their efficiency is improving and
they are getting more competitive.
I think a lot of it is we need to educate ourselves better so that when
people come and try to present a position that we shouldn't be producing these
resources, we have the knowledge base to be able to counteract that.
Senator Unger: More than 10, I would say 15, years ago, I was on a
tour of the oil sands, and I was so impressed with the way that the holes were
dug and how carefully the layers of the earth underneath the top soil were set
aside, and then saw the finish, what it looked like when the hole was put back
in. Honestly, it looked like a park. You couldn't tell that the land had ever
been disturbed. Trees were growing; there were animals. It was just as if it had
never been touched.
I think that, first of all, the industry does need to do better, but I would
like to know how the industry will react now that you are playing catch up,
where facts don't matter, people don't bother to learn them and we are in this
Mr. Bloomer: I think, again, it's being able to tell the stories of
what we have accomplished and how far we have come. I have operated in situ oil
sands projects, and I know how strong the regulations are and what we do to
mitigate everything in terms of water use, in terms of units of energy that go
into production — all those things. We have to get the message out. It is the
trust component that we need to build, but we can only build the trust with
Senator Unger: What is the general mood of the industry? You
represent, basically, the industry at large. What is the feeling? Is it hope,
optimism, despair, or all of those?
Mr. Bloomer: First principles, people in the energy business are risk
takers. They accept that things go up and things go down. We have managed
through that and we develop, through technology, the means to compete. There is
always that optimism that we can and will compete. I will say there is resolve
in the face of crisis. The industry is in a crisis right now, and I think that
that is starting to hit home more and more as the situation continues. Unless we
can see a way to getting access to markets with our products and see that that
development will add value, I think that's going to be a big challenge. We need
to keep attracting capital to this country and to these industries. We have
resolve, but we're in crisis.
Senator Eggleton: You indicated — and it's quite obvious to all of us
— that you need to earn and maintain public confidence with respect to safety
and various other issues, and various communities and ndigenous peoples are all
involved in that particular endeavour.
Mr. Bloomer: Right.
Senator Eggleton: We had a witness who came and suggested that it is
really more than just education. It really means developing more of a
partnership than just considering people to be stakeholders or "we'' and "they''
kind of thing, do more to collaborate in a very total concept. Of course, that
has also raised the other phrase that we hear lately, and that is social
How do you think the industry should go further? What are your members
prepared to do to try to create more of an "us'' as opposed to a "we'' and
"they,'' more of a collaborative partnership with indigenous peoples and with
communities in general? The person that did talk about this, I think at our last
meeting, indicated that there were some successes in that regard, so it really
has a payback.
Mr. Bloomer: Absolutely. I'll give you three examples.
The first example is in the existing pipeline operations system. The
companies deal with communities and with First Nations communities every day.
They have agreements with them. They develop businesses. On the Kinder Morgan
line, for example, they have agreements with the First Nations where the
pipeline runs through. The First Nations are responsible for maintaining the
right-of-way and for emergency response and those kinds of things, so they have
a direct stake in the economic activity that is going on there, and that is
24-7. There is interaction and consultation and shared benefits around all of
Second, on new projects, there is a great deal of consultation and the same
kinds of agreements are reached. I think what you are looking for is a direct
stake in these pipelines, and there are examples where that can happen and those
discussions are going on. I don't know at what state they are, but that is
certainly something that is being talked about.
As the third example of how the industry can get more connected with
communities and see more than education, I will give you an example of what CEPA
is doing. CEPA has entered into an MOU with the Canadian Association of Fire
Chiefs, which includes First Nations fire chiefs, and that MOU encompasses
emergency response at a community level. We've had four pilot projects —
Hamilton, Kingston, Quebec City and Montreal — which involved fire chiefs,
politicians, first responders and other stakeholders, explaining what emergency
response is, how it works, what happens, what is the risk, all those kinds of
things. It was tremendously successful. People walked away from that feeling,
"Okay, I understand it now.'' Based on that success, we will start taking this
to communities across the country, and we'll be able to connect, I think, with
the fire chiefs, and that's obviously a credible and well-respected group of
people. I think we would all agree with that.
It's a partnership to both tell about pipelines and communicate with people
and say, "Here's the situation. Here's how we do things. This is what happens.
Here's the risk level,'' right down to who gets contacted and how they'll be
notified. That is a very constructive thing that I think will be education but
also a really good interaction., I think that will be very powerful even if you
want to take this to First Nations. The existing systems, the current regulatory
process and some of the things that industry is doing collectively, will help.
Senator Eggleton: Thank you for that.
One other thing is the question of the risk versus benefit factors in the
different provinces that are on the pipeline, particularly the east pipeline. I
think it was the energy board in Ontario that indicated that the benefits and
the risks didn't quite match or that the benefits weren't sufficient in terms of
the risk factor. What do you say to that?
Mr. Bloomer: I would say that the benefits, as I spoke about before,
both the direct and indirect benefits of construction and operation, are spread
pretty evenly across the country. In a report that we've had commissioned, we
see that, for the Trans Mountain and Energy East projects, the benefits are
spread: 20 per cent in Quebec; 23 per cent in New Brunswick; Ontario 16; Alberta
16, B.C. 14. These are direct GDP impacts in those regions. That's about as
equal as you can get across the piece, I would say. There are benefits long
The risks are very minimal. I think the way the risks are portrayed, they are
always are catastrophic risks, irredeemable risks, permanent risks. The
pipelines and industry operate from the perspective that they are prepared for
issues. Everybody has emergency response plans. Those are now published by the
NEB. That's a new thing for people to see. So the risks are small. They are
manageable. They are finite, and they are remediated.
I think part of the language around risks being catastrophic kind of
overwhelms the discussion of benefits. Billions of dollars of potential risk is
just not the case.
Senator Eggleton: Okay. Thank you.
Senator MacDonald: Thank you, Mr. Bloomer. It is good to see you
again. I have a couple of questions. One of the criticisms of the previous
government and perhaps this government is that we're a little too activist when
it comes to promoting pipelines. I'm of the view that we are not proactive
I see that we have all kinds of corridors in this country that infrastructure
is built on — the power corridors across the country, the pipeline corridors,
existing highway and railroad. Has the oil industry utilized pre-existing
corridors enough when it comes to promoting new lines and establishing new
routes for our petroleum?
Understandably, in some circumstances, people get concerned when we start
cutting lines through pristine, untouched land, even though I believe in the
safety of pipelines. These aren't concerns if you're using pre-existing
corridors to their maximum. Has the industry done enough in that regard to help
allay public concerns by using these corridors where the public can't complain
that we're using land that was not used before? The land is already in full use.
Mr. Bloomer: I would say that the first thing that any transportation
corridor looks at is: What is point A, and what is point B? What is the most
efficient way to get from point A to point B? Certainly, that is the first thing
you look at, so where pipelines get looped or expanded as opposed to building a
brand new pipeline, that's an example of using an existing pipeline corridor.
As for using railroad corridors or power corridors, those corridors are
specific to those particular industries. I think that they are moving it as
efficiently as they can, and the pipeline companies are moving it as efficiently
as they can.
You have to take into account where these delivery points are going to be,
especially offshore. They need new development because they are new facilities
for new markets.
But where you can use existing facilities, as in the case of Energy East in
New Brunswick, they are using that. I think that you should look at as much of
that as possible, and I think that's taken into consideration.
Senator MacDonald: Before my second question, I just want you to
clarify something: When it comes to Energy East, you said we're using existing
facilities in New Brunswick. What existing facilities would they be?
Mr. Bloomer: Tying into the Irving refinery in the Saint John area.
Senator MacDonald: Yes, but we have no assurance from Irving that they
are going to convert to bitumen.
Mr. Bloomer: I think they're going to take some; I think over time. If
that's the case, the rest will be exported.
Senator MacDonald: I guess that gets into my second question. As to
all the concern about moving oil through pipelines, I'm not concerned about it.
I believe in the safety of pipelines. I think the real risk with moving bitumen
is when you put it in the water, when you put it in a port or a ship's bottom. A
pipeline break can be stopped in a very short period of time and cleaned up. If
a large ship rolls over on the West Coast of Canada or in the Bay of Fundy, you
can have a real problem.
I guess that's where I find that so much of the public discussion about this
is about pipelines when I think all of the risk is in the water. I don't think
the pipeline industry grasps that the way I believe it should be grasped. I'm
just wondering what your views are on that. Is there a way we can deal with this
issue better? I think this issue is going to come up when we go to the East
Coast for hearings.
Mr. Bloomer: There is a two-part thing. You are moving oil to a point
where you are going to export it on a ship. That's the second part of it.
All of the regulatory requirements, the emergency response issues, will be
dealt with and are dealt with today. We are bringing very large crude carriers
into Irving today. At 2 million barrels a shot, those are big ships. That's
managed, and that is handled. It's a global business, with tens of millions of
barrels on the water every day. Just like we operate pipelines safely, the
marine component of that will be operated in as safe a manner as possible.
Senator MacDonald: Just one quick point: Again, when it comes to this
risk, Senator Eggleton mentioned going through Ontario and what was the benefit
for the risk. We have half a million barrels of petroleum going through Nova
Scotia's waters every day to refineries in New Brunswick and Quebec. We have all
the risk. We get no benefit. If bitumen is coming out of the Bay of Fundy, it
goes through Nova Scotia waters as well. We get no benefit, but we take all the
risk. These are the things, as a Nova Scotian, that I want addressed when it
comes to exporting petroleum to the East Coast of the country.
Senator Runciman: Thank you for being here. I was attracted to
something you said earlier, I think in response to Senator Unger and, in some
ways, to Senator Eggleton as well when he talked about social licence. You used
the term the collective "we.'' We have not educated ourselves; we need to
educate ourselves better. We have the knowledge-base to counteract negative
For many years, I've belong to an organization called Save the River. It's
based in Clayton, New York. The executive of that organization is populated, I
think to a person, with people who do not support — and the bulk of them are
American citizens, but there is Canadian representation on that board — oil
sands being transported by rail, by pipeline or through the Great Lakes. Keep it
in the ground. You know you're going to face organizations like that, some of
them through the Aboriginal communities that you have to deal with.
When you talk about the collective "we,'' just who are you talking about?
Mr. Bloomer: I use the collective "we'' to make the point that we all
have a stake in this. It's us in this room; it's our politicians; it's the
industry; it's associations. We have a responsibility to educate and communicate
Senator Runciman: We know the Prime Minister said he doesn't want to
be a cheerleader, but I guess he softened that somewhat with respect to the
economic importance of something happening here in a positive way. I just wonder
about something that I raised at our last meeting with respect to how the
industry is approaching this. Maybe I'm wrong, and you can correct me, but there
seems to be a piecemeal approach to this. I used the example of the free trade
debate, if you will, back in the 1980s. The only time I have seen Canadian
industry get together is when they recognized the importance to the long-term
economic well-being of this country, and they worked together and stood side by
side with the government to make the case.
I just wonder if the industry — the collective "we'' — has really approached
it on that basis and looked at what they can do to make that case to the
Canadian public and to assist the government. They have political implications
for any step they take, so I think you can help the government, help yourselves
and help this country in terms of its economic well-being by looking at a
communications strategy that involves all of you.
You can talk about what you're doing with the Aboriginal communities, but I
think you should be getting down into the weeds here in the sense of going into
campuses, for example. We're talking about jobs for these folks who will be
coming out of college and university. Where are the good jobs going to be? You
have to tie this in with the environmental issues as well — no doubt about that
— to counteract them, and you say you have the evidence to do that.
So there has to be a comprehensive strategy here and not just high-level
messages that this will have economic benefits, such as 16 per cent in Alberta.
Get down into the weeds here and say, "This will mean that your sons and
daughters will have a future in this country and in your community. They will
not have move out of here.'' And be able to back up that case and arguments with
Also, part and parcel of this strategy must have a more intensive effort with
Aboriginal communities. We had witnesses here earlier who were very pessimistic
about Energy East, primarily focused on New Brunswick and the Aboriginal
communities there. I think that they have my experience in Ontario with
Caledonia, for example. There was no land claim there. It was occupied. For 10
years now, there has been no resolution.
That's another issue, I think, in that it has to be part of an industry-wide
strategy in terms of how you comes to grips with that, because when there is no
real legal case to be made, it's a political mine field, and they've got to have
backup, support and facts behind them if they want to make decisions that are
going to be very difficult.
I made my case, I hope.
Mr. Bloomer: If I may, a concept that we need to consider, and I think
the Prime Minister said this recently, is that we're not going to get 100 per
cent consensus. Decisions will have to be made around these things, and that is
becoming apparent more and more as time goes on because the time to make
decisions is coming closer. So there is that pressure.
I agree with you. We as the industry do need to provide the information and
rationale so that, when the decisions are made, they have all of that at hand to
be considered. For example, one of the key things that we are all focused on is
innovation. Innovation is not a brand-new word; innovation has been involved in
the energy business and pipelines for 60 years. We need to show how innovation
is impacting the business going forward, and they want those stories. That's
part of what they want to see.
We can talk about jobs, capital spending and so on, but we need to have
people really understand and trust the industry, and that's kind of where trust
and social licence are mixed in together, along with the idea that we are not
going to get 100 per cent. There are those who are ardent "keep it in the
ground'' folks, and we will not convert those.
Approaching it from a pragmatic view of having the best information on the
table and communicating as close to communities as we can will help.
Senator Runciman: With the collective "we.''
Mr. Bloomer: We all have a stake in it.
Senator Runciman: If it's not coordinated, though, it will not have
the same impact. That's my view.
Senator Unger: Mr. Bloomer, you mentioned that CEPA has an MOU with
First Nations fire chiefs and first responders. This is sort of to Senator
Runciman's question. Is there a way to bring young people into this so they are
part of it and it would be part of an educational piece, as well? They need to
get involved for better understanding.
Senator MacDonald's point was about being worried about the water aspect of
it. These huge carriers are double hulled now, so that's an added measure of
What do you think the government could do to help change this false narrative
around the industry?
Mr. Bloomer: For one thing, the tone is evolving with the government.
I think it was Senator Eggleton who mentioned that the Prime Minister is
sounding a little bit more that we need these things, so the tone is changing,
which is very helpful.
There's also an issue of clarity in that we still have a lack of clarity
around the interim process on these pipelines as to what additional consultation
means, how it will be used and what the consideration of greenhouse gas
emissions is going to be. We have proposed rules as to how things will be
calculated and so on, but there are things within that which are still unclear.
When the NEB makes its recommendation, along with the greenhouse gas piece and
the additional consultation, it's not clear how that will all impact and what it
will look like. Clarity is really key in all of this, because, as I said, the
time for making decisions is getting closer and closer, and the longer there is
less clarity, it makes it more difficult for everyone.
Senator Unger: To invoke Senator Runciman, I really agree with his
comments about bringing this down to the grassroots or into the weeds — however
you want to call it. That's absolutely imperative.
My last question: Do you have any recommendations for our committee as to
what we should study around this issue of social licence?
Mr. Bloomer: I'll go back to the earlier point about getting young
folks involved. CEPA has what is called the CEPA Foundation. CEPA itself
represents all the operators. We also have the foundation, which is represented
by what I'll call a supply chain — all the folks involved in building pipelines
and so on. Within that, there is a group called Young Pipeliners Association of
Canada, which is now going to be the young pipeliners of the U.S. and Australia.
We are very much involved with those. There is that element of what we're doing.
Just to clarify on the MOUs with the fire chiefs of Canada, which includes
the First Nations fire chiefs, yes, my desire is to use that as a means to
educate people and also attract people to the industry. If you're talking about
first response and the skills training you need to have and what you need to do,
obviously we will encourage young folks to get involved in that at all levels.
It's an opportunity to communicate, just on your point, with new generations.
I would recommend for this committee to advocate for clarity on process and
understand that we're not going to get perfect consensus and that we are going
to continually improve.
We haven't talked about the NEB a lot in these questions, but I think the NEB
plays a vital role as an independent, quasi-judicial body that has been in place
and working effectively for 60 years.
I'll go back to what Senator Runciman said about free trade. At the time of
the free trade discussions, I was involved in that gas deregulation, and we
wanted to access markets and it was all market driven, but we didn't have the
great debate of climate change at that point in time. Now it's a manifold issue
and there are more social issues around these things, and now we have social
media that drives things and can grab the megaphone, so it's a different world
I do think it's important to maintain the NEB as the institution that it is.
Modernize it, for sure. We are engaged with the NEB on processes and management
systems and so on . Our Integrity First program is a way to push more
performance-based regulation into the NEB. We would like to see the auto process
revamped because it's not working for the NEB and it's not working for the
pipelines to the degree it should be.
There are things, but it does not mean that the institution or that body
should not remain in place. I would recommend that this committee address that
and address the fact that the NEB has been effective. There is a little bit of a
myth out there that pipelines have not been built in the past 10 years, but they
have, and the NEB has approved them: Line 9 expansion, Keystone, the first part
of Keystone. A number of pipelines have been approved over the past 10 years to
allow the industry to grow and access markets into the U.S. We need to keep that
going, and everything needs to improve. I need to improve, all the time. That
should be the focus of how we deal with the NEB I think.
Senator Unger: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you Mr. Bloomer. I would like to thank you for your
participation. The committee appreciates the time you took to share your views.
We will have a small procedural motion. On the table in front of you, for
information purposes, we have the first report of the Subcommittee on Agenda and
Procedure. I would like the clerk to explain why we are doing that.
Daniel Charbonneau, Clerk of the Committee: During the organizational
meeting, the committee passed a motion to authorize the subcommittee to
designate a member of the committee to be on official business if they are
attending a meeting related to the work of the committee, and that the
subcommittee will report at the earliest opportunity this designation. Senator
MacDonald attended the National Privacy & Data Governance Congress in Calgary,
which had symposium on self-driving cars and the privacy issues related to that.
The subcommittee has authorized that he be listed as on official committee
business during that time.
The Chair: There is no budgetary item. We didn't spend money. He spent
money as a senator travelling. You can imagine in 10 years, if we have an
Auditor General coming back, we will know on that trip Senator MacDonald had the
approval of the subcommittee.
Senator Eggleton: Did he get into a self-driving car?
Senator MacDonald: Not yet.
Senator Unger: With regard to this official Senate business, should
prior approval not be received rather than after the fact?
The Chair: We are just basically trying now to anticipate what would
happen if an Auditor General were — Senator MacDonald was at a conference where
cars were discussed.
Senator MacDonald: I received an invitation to go to a conference. Jim
Cowan was speaking at the conference, and they were looking at the issue of
privacy and these driverless vehicles, these automated vehicles, so I called him
up and found out what the conference was about. It was a week before. I didn't
have time to go to the committee. I just went out and then let the committee
know I was going, and they decided to follow it up with some paperwork.
Senator Unger: Thank you.
The Chair: Tomorrow evening we will hear from Michael Bourke,
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Railway Association of Canada; and
from Mr. Glen Wilson, Vice-President, Safety and Environment and Regulatory
Affairs of the Canadian Pacific Railway on the study of transport of crude oil
At that same meeting, we will also be hearing from the Minister of
Infrastructure and Communities and officials on the study of the emerging issues
relating to his ministerial mandate letter.