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TRCM - Standing Committee

Transport and Communications


Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Transport and Communications

Issue No. 7 - Evidence, October 19, 2016

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick, Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications met this day, at 1:02 p.m. to study 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 Michael L. MacDonald (Deputy Chair) in the chair.


The Deputy Chair: Honourable senators, this afternoon the committee is continuing 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 coast of Canada.

I would like to introduce our first witnesses this afternoon, from the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce, Dick Daigle, Chairman, and David Duplisea, Chief Executive Officer.

I invite the witnesses to being their presentations and afterwards the senators will have questions.

Dick Daigle, Chairman, Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce: Good afternoon. My name is Dick Daigle. I'm the chair for the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce.

I'd like to begin by thanking the Senate Standing Committee for selecting the Chamber of Commerce and our membership to speak on this important topic. I would also like to thank all of the people and organizations who have given their time and efforts in order to participate and share their views with the rest of the country.

Accompanying me here today is, as mentioned, David Duplisea, our CEO.

We are the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce. We've been advocating on behalf of our members since 1819 and are one of the first business associations or Chambers of Commerce in the whole country. We were created through the merger of four Chambers of Commerce and business associations and represent close to 800 companies representing upwards of 35,000 employees. Our membership is 85 per cent small- to medium-sized businesses and through surveys they have indicated that advocacy on their behalf is the top reason for their membership.

As part of the recent NEB process, we were selected as an intervenor on the economic impacts of the pipeline. Our presentation this morning will concentrate on that context.

The sources for our data and economic analysis are our yearly membership surveys, the Conference Board of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, TransCanada and the 2014 imports data from the National Energy Board, Irving Oil and the New Brunswick Building Trades Unions.

Support for Energy East pipeline has been identified as the top issue for our membership, and support has been consistent, in excess of 90 per cent over the last three years. Our membership is supportive because they recognize and understand the benefits that can come to a country and our region because of this pipeline.

The pipeline will result in a much-needed $15.7 billion investment into our economy, which is the equivalent of $55 billion in GDP growth for Canada and will add $6.5 billion in GDP to the New Brunswick economy over 20 years. This represents $853 million in government tax revenues to the Province of New Brunswick.

Already, we have seen $40 million invested by TransCanada and more than 300 contractors and businesses in this province have already registered to become potential suppliers to this project.

The spinoff effects of this project are important to our region and affect all of our members, ranging from restaurants, hotels, retail stores, trucks and automobiles, to name a few. In addition, the pipeline will decrease our reliance on foreign oil, from regional and national perspectives, and in fact Canada imports $26 billion worth of oil every year. In a region hard hit by unemployment and a large portion of our workforce forced to travel to other provinces for work, this pipeline will have a tremendous effect on employment, not only in New Brunswick but in the whole country.

Our New Brunswick Building Trades Union represents 18 local unions with 8,700 members province-wide, including 7,000 journey persons and 1,700 apprentices. Our workforce is accustomed to having to leave and travel as there is little industrial work other than short-term maintenance work, and this creates a challenge for our apprentices looking to complete their apprenticeships. The average completion of these apprenticeships is five to seven years and many often have to leave the trades and/or our province due to lack of work.

This pipeline will provide approximately 14,000 jobs in Canada during the development phase and will include 3,123 direct and 648 indirect jobs during construction. During operations there will be 132 direct and 129 indirect jobs. According to an in-house survey, the New Brunswick Building Trades Union reports that 60 per cent to 70 per cent of their members are available for work, so clearly we have the capacity.

As well, in our discussions with TransCanada and Energy East we've concentrated on three main items with them. Number one: the process and policies in place to ensure maximization of local workforce and supply chain; second, what TransCanada has undertaken so far to ensure readiness of local participation and qualifications; and third, plans for a workforce development strategy that includes apprentice ratios, journey person development and ongoing promotions of the skilled trades from construction through to the maintenance phase.

As I mentioned a few moments ago, the pipeline will also result in numerous spinoffs and related supply chain investments. These are pipeline-enabled projects. One such example is from a valued member of our organization of the Chamber of Commerce for decades, Irving Oil.

As a related project, Irving Oil is looking to invest upwards of $300 million for the expansion of a marine terminal. The development phase alone could result in an increase of $32 million to our GDP over six years and translate into some 203 jobs.

During the operation phase estimated at 25 years, there's a $17 million increase to our GDP and approximately 90 jobs, so, as you can appreciate, the potential for additional investment enabled by this pipeline is tremendous.

In conclusion, the pipeline is a critical piece of our national energy strategy and energy infrastructure. It's a nation- building opportunity and it benefits all of Canada. We must not be deterred by interprovincial politics.

During the 2016 Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting held in September 18 through 19 in Regina, Saskatchewan, the consensus view of business leaders from all regions was that the continued viability of Canada's oil and gas sector is a priority to enable all Canadians long-term prosperity.

Natural Resources Canada estimates Canada's energy sector contributed 7.2 per cent to the national GDP in 2015 and directly or indirectly accounted for 1.75 million jobs across this country.

Approximately 33 per cent of all 2015 non-residential capital investment in Canada came from the oil and gas energy sector. This economic activity contributes to government tax revenues, which support social programs and federal transfer programs. Continued contribution of oil and gas to Canadian standard of living depends on building this critical infrastructure needed to transport our products to markets that will pay top dollar for them.

I thank the committee for the opportunity to speak to you today and I wish you all success.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you, Mr. Daigle.

Our first questioner is Senator Mercer.

Senator Mercer: Thank you, gentlemen, and good to see you.

You said that the New Brunswick Building Trades Union reports that 60 to 70 per cent of their members are available for work. Are they here in New Brunswick now?

David Duplisea, Chief Executive Officer, Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce: A lot of them are back here now. Most of them were working out West in Alberta. The majority of them are coming back now because of the slowdowns happening in Alberta, so most of them are back in the province now.

Senator Mercer: You said what TransCanada has undertaken so far to ensure the readiness of local participation and qualifications. That was in your discussion with TransCanada and Energy East. Tell me about TransCanada's undertaking, what they've undertaken so far to ensure readiness, and could you start by telling me when this began?

Mr. Duplisea: We've been working with TransCanada for a number of years now.

Senator Mercer: What's a number of years?

Mr. Duplisea: Three. The number one goal was that we wanted to ensure the maximization of New Brunswick content and New Brunswick labour, New Brunswick supply chain. As well, we wanted to maximize the opportunity for supply chain opportunities as well moving through there, so that has always been front and foremost in our discussions with TransCanada. How are they going to ensure local capacity and how are they going to ensure sustainability to the building trades as well?

The TransCanada, one of the proponents, as well as Irving Oil have worked very diligently with us in terms of understanding the local supply chain. They've had supplier sessions; they've had open houses. We've worked with them to include all of our membership as well as suppliers in the province so that they're ready for the project; they understand what kind of training requirements are going to be necessary, that they have the mechanisms in place for their organizations to take advantage of anything that's out there now for certifications as well as training and working through ourselves and the trades unions as well to understand the capacity that we have here, what would be local, what would not be local.

Senator Mercer: They've worked with the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce?

Mr. Duplisea: Yes.

Senator Mercer: They've worked with business in building some capacity with you and your membership. Have they gone beyond that and reached out and started to build a relationship with the public in New Brunswick?

Mr. Duplisea: Absolutely. There have been a number of sessions not only in New Brunswick but across the country as well. In terms of open houses, there have been information sessions throughout the region as well, not only in the Saint John area, but a number of sessions. There's lot of opportunity for the public to engage with TransCanada. These sessions are well advertised; they're well promoted. We ourselves promote them as well and we encourage the general public to come and learn through these open houses and sessions.

I know that TransCanada as well has worked with a number of special interest groups in our region to understand their concerns and to help alleviate them. As well, just because of public involvement in the process, I believe that TransCanada has already altered the route twice at the request of special interest groups that had concerns about the designed route.

Is there more that we can do? Absolutely, there is more that we need to do and we need to continue to be aware that the public needs more information in order to make informed decisions. So we'll continue to work with not only our membership, but with TransCanada, Irving Oil as well, the project proponents, to ensure that there are many opportunities for the public to be engaged.

Senator Mercer: The one thing that's missing from the presentation and from your answer, has there been a positive engagement with First Nations people in New Brunswick, because it's likely that the pipeline would have to cross some of their lands. As we know, the definitions of lands that are Aboriginal are broad and extensive in Canada. As a matter of fact, I saw a news story this week where the federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the minister responsible for indigenous affairs in Ontario signed a document ceding the location of Parliament Hill to the Algonquin Nation. When I go to work in the morning in Ottawa I'm going to be on Algonquin lands and I need to show some respect to that and honour that. What have they done to enhance their chances of getting support from the Aboriginal community?

Mr. Duplisea: I think TransCanada is in the best position to answer that.

Senator Mercer: I'm going to ask them, but I wanted your opinion.

Mr. Duplisea: Yes. We have been at a number of information sessions where the First Nations have been included, and they have been in attendance at some of the ones that I have been at, so from a personal perspective I have seen First Nations in attendance at those information sessions. We have reached out to the First Nations as well. But in terms of any other initiatives that have happened, I think TransCanada is probably the best to speak on that.

Senator Mockler: We hear the comments made by New Brunswickers, Canadians, that there needs to be from elected officials, parliamentarians, a social licence. How would you define "social licence'' when we look at such projects as nation building, like you've said in your presentation?

Mr. Duplisea: I think one of the challenges we all face here is that the term "social licence'' or "social acceptance,'' "social acceptability,'' is undefined. We don't know what the benchmarks are. We don't know necessarily what the definitions of social acceptance would be or if we would even know when we've arrived at that. If you ask five people what their definition of social acceptance would be, you probably would get five different answers. As we know, the pipeline is going to cross multiple provinces. Does that mean if we get five out of six approving it, that is social licence? If we get four out of five, where are the thresholds and where are the definitions?

I believe it's the role of government to help define that so that we are well aware, because currently there is no standard definition of what social acceptance would be and it's the squeaky wheel gets the grease type of thing at this point and I think that government needs to take a leadership role in defining exactly what that is, what are the benchmarks and how will we know when we've got there.

Senator Mockler: I'll come back to that point as time permits, Mr. Chair.


We often hear people saying that the National Energy Board should be left with the responsibility of deciding on recommendations on Energy East or other projects across Canada. Witnesses have told us — and I'd like to have your opinion on the subject, given that you represent a Canada-wide organization — that only the National Energy Board, not the federal government or cabinet, should be responsible for the final approval of a project like Energy East, or a pipeline going to Saint John, New Brunswick or to the Atlantic region. Given we are being told that it should be the National Energy Board, it then calls the roles and responsibilities of the federal government and the Prime Minister into question, because we are in a democracy and mechanisms are in place.


With a Westminster system of government, you can voice your opposition and also hear the pros and cons of it. My question is this: Should we just say to Canadians that only the National Energy Board will decide and we're watching the train go by?

Mr. Duplisea: You've raised some very interesting topics there on where the issue of leadership would reside. I think that as Canadians, number one, we have to have faith in the process. If the process as defined by government is that the National Energy Board shall be the body that makes the recommendation then we have to have faith in the NEB process and we have to have faith in the NEB to make that decision and to recommend to government. I think that's where the breakdown has happened. I'm not sure that all Canadians have faith in that process. At which time, once the process breaks down, then government needs to play a leadership role in helping to get that back on track. What is it going to take for the Canadian public to have faith in the NEB and in the NEB process and how does government in turn make sure that those mechanisms are in place so that the Canadian public can have faith in the process? We've seen what happens when there is a loss of faith in that.

Given the fact that Parliament and government have dictated or indicated that the NEB shall be the body that will recommend whether this pipeline goes ahead, then I think government needs to understand they still play a role to make sure that the NEB has the tools as well as the capability of making an informed decision that the public can have faith in the decision as well as the process.


Senator Mockler: If I may, Mr. Chair and my fellow senator from Quebec, the crucial question is this: Does the federal government, do governments, have a role to play, yes or no? Then, do you have any other comments?


Mr. Duplisea: Yes.

Senator Mockler: Mr. Chairman, one more?

The Deputy Chair: You've got an answer.

Senator Mockler: Then I'll go to the next question, but I'd like to come back to this, if time permits, on a second round, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

I'm a parliamentarian and my life has been 32-plus years to work with communities, local governments, regional governments, provincial governments and federal governments, and to permit also people who are against projects to be heard and people who are for projects to be heard, then there has to be a decision. I'm trying to find out what that social licence is that we need. When I see former premiers of New Brunswick, and I'll name them — Premier McKenna, Premier Lord, Premier Theriault, Premier Alward, Premier Graham — and also the premier of the day supporting such a project, in my book as a parliamentarian in the Westminster style of governing, which is democracy, I think that's quite a social licence. Do you have any comments on that?

Mr. Duplisea: I think that we have to be careful in the components of the social licence and agreement. For example, the former politicians, existing politicians, that's one piece of it. That's one demographic. Those are not necessarily the people who will look out their window and see the pipeline going through their backyard or the construction on that. So there needs to be the general public portion of it. There needs to be not just the talking heads that represent a political standpoint on this.

Businesses have to be involved in this as well. Business has to be a part of that social licence, our general public, the business, politicians, not just necessarily one single component; so I think in defining what that looks like you have to recognize that there are multiple voices, there are multiple special interest groups and there are multiple components and demographics to that. There needs to be buy-ins from each one of those.

Senator Mockler: Thank you.


Senator Boisvenu: I echo the thanks of my colleagues for the welcome that you have given us this morning at this working meeting with the Chamber of Commerce and the business people of APEGA. It really has been very interesting.

I am going to try to give you a definition of "social licence''. It is when all politicians, or the majority of local, provincial and federal politicians, are not afraid to defend a project in public, even though it is not popular. For me, that is what it is. When no politicians are prepared to stand up and defend a project, we then have a problem of social acceptance, because, as has been mentioned, politicians need to be re-elected. That's not the case for us as senators. They make a public commitment when they know that they will not be under threat in three or four years. I am thinking about what is going on in Quebec. I feel there is a strictly political vision there, whereas our approach should be one of education and information, because there is a lot of misinformation attached to this project. Mr. Chair, I hope that a lot of Quebecers are listening to our discussions, because they are very instructive.

So, where do you stand in this education and awareness role, not only in your province but also in the other provinces? As you said, 70 per cent of the people in your region agree with the project. Convincing people in this region is easy. What is going to be difficult is to come and convince people in Quebec, where about 50 per cent of the people are opposed to the project for various reasons. I listed them this morning: poor information, misinformation from so- called environmental groups, and I feel that there is also a lot of "magical thinking'' about green energy, as it is called. There are people who feel that, tomorrow morning, there will be no more oil development, and that we will be able to keep ourselves warm with wind and solar power. Some people think like that. People write to me on Facebook and tell me that we should be using that kind of energy for our needs, even though it does not make up even one per cent of Canada's energy production. So what role are you going to play to bring Canadians on board with this project, a project that seems to me to be essential for Canada's economic development?


Mr. Duplisea: Thank you, Senator Boisvenu, for your question. I think that it raises an interesting topic: Whose role is it and who takes leadership in that role?

As a Chamber of Commerce, our primary responsibility is to our membership. Our membership has indicated that they are in favour so our role changes in terms of an education and awareness component to it. How do I give my membership the information that they need in order to support or not support? So working with the proponents, working with some of the research institutes, providing evidence-based, fact-based research to our membership is one way that we can help with that, just from educating, doing an advocacy towards the membership as well.

That then extends further out into the general public, so we do have a responsibility to the general public as well since it affects all of them. From our membership we educate and we will provide the components they need, then towards the general public, although it's not our primary mission, the general public; but to your point, I think that we cannot look at it as a black and white any longer and we do have to go perhaps out of our comfort zone and perhaps out of what would be normally my wheelhouse.

We have worked with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec, for example. Last year in Ottawa we presented a motion to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce delegation to support from a policy initiative that the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommend support for the Energy East pipeline. In writing that motion to present to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to bring in all of our sister chambers across the country, we worked with the federation of Quebec, which was fairly historical, too, and I believe it's one of the first times that the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec has worked with, for example, another Chamber of Commerce in other provinces to move that needle and to present in front of the Canadian Chambers.

To bring the federation from Quebec onside with us at a time when it wasn't necessarily politically expedient to do so is telling that the Chamber movement does have some credibility in this area. So the next stage in how to bring in the general public was working through our other organizations, the other Chambers of Commerce. So all of the hundreds of Chambers of Commerce across the country could then begin their own membership education awareness, then general public.

What we're starting now, from our perspective, is to work with the Energy East Partners' Forum, which is another group whose role is primarily public advocacy, and then we will be taking that to the rest of the country. We'll be starting in the next few weeks an information campaign to membership that we're going to encourage to spread to their contact base and we're also going to reach out to the other Chambers of Commerce with templates and things like that to start to build somewhat of a nationwide support as well. But it starts local and then spreads on a national basis.


Senator Boisvenu: I am convinced that, if the information comes from the provinces, such as the Maritime provinces, it will have more credibility than if it comes from Ottawa, because you are closer to the project. I feel that the actions you are going to take will be more laudable and that you will have an important role to play in making Quebecers aware of this issue. I prefer people like you to come to talk to Quebecers rather than people from Ottawa. There is always some mistrust, and I think that you can do good work there. I feel that Quebecers also like people from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, but especially people from your province. I feel that you have a role to play in making people aware of the economic benefits.


The Deputy Chair: Thank you, Senator Boisvenu.

Before we go to the second round, I have a couple of questions for both of you gentlemen.

You mentioned the number of New Brunswickers who work in the oil patch. A lot of Atlantic Canadians work in the oil patch and there's been a lot of dislocation. Do you have any idea of how much revenue that New Brunswickers are annually bringing back to New Brunswick, those who worked in the oil patch and commuted? Do you have any numbers on that?

Mr. Duplisea: I don't have that number in front of me but I absolutely can access it relatively quickly.

The Deputy Chair: In regard to the people coming home, one would assume that there's a large reservoir there of relatively skilled people in pipeline and oil patch industry. Do you have any idea of the actual numbers of people who are coming back home and who are going to be looking for work and that could possibly work on this pipeline?

Mr. Duplisea: I do have a number here. Let me just find it.

Yes, it's in the presentation here. I know that 65 per cent of them are back, so let's find the number here.

Yes, 8,700 members province-wide is what the building trades people have. I know it's 70 per cent of them are back but I can confirm whether that's 70 per cent of the 8,700 or if it's 70 per cent of another number.

Mr. Daigle: If I'm reading it correctly, there are 8,700 members under their organization. We don't have the number of them that have actually returned, but we do know there's capacity of 60 to 70 per cent of them, is what we're being told by that association, so that capacity is accessible. We don't have the exact number on the numbers home.

The Deputy Chair: One more question in that regard and we'll go to the second round.

Has the Chamber of Commerce done any assessment of the relative skill sets they're bringing back that could be applied to the pipeline development?

Mr. Duplisea: We do have that information. I don't have it here. We have the numbers of boilermakers, journeymen, trades apprentices, but I just don't have access to it right here.

The Deputy Chair: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. On the second round, Senator Mercer.

Senator Mercer: I'm going to continue on the same line of questions, chair. I want to relate this story because it really plays into this. A few years ago the federal government awarded Irving shipyards in Halifax the major contract to build Canadian warships and offshore vessels. It's a 30-year contact, very unusual, but it's the largest military procurement contract in the history of the country.

The next day, or maybe even that day, but the next day at least, the board of directors at the Nova Scotia Community College immediately went to work to review their plan to train young people in various jobs. One of the major requirements for shipbuilding and also for pipelines is welding. They had softened their training in welders because the market in Nova Scotia didn't demand a lot of welders. Well, they've retooled that now and welding is a focal point of some of the efforts at Nova Scotia community colleges. I visited the Irving shipyards last week and it's quite obvious a lot of welding goes on as they're ramping up. This is, as I say, a 30-year contract and some of these young people will be able to go to work there in their first job and retire from that same job if all goes well.

Have you consulted with the community colleges in New Brunswick to make sure that they have a proper focus on what will be needed if Energy East is approved to make sure that, even though you talk about the large retuning numbers of journeymen, they're not all going to do the same job and some of them are going to continue to do what they're doing? Have there been any efforts to work with community colleges to make sure they're ready?

Mr. Duplisea: Yes, Senator Mercer. We currently work with the New Brunswick Community College as well as Eastern College, which are the two organizations in our region that train in the trades as well. They themselves are going through somewhat of a reinvention process, of which we're a part, from a consulting or a supportive standpoint. They're looking at now aligning their curriculums with jobs a little more closely than previously, because we were having boom and bust cycles, and in order to alleviate that there is a lot of discussion going on as to how to bring those a little closer so that the job requirements and the job trainings are better aligned.

Is it perfect yet? No, it's not, but we are invited to the table with the Community College and Eastern trades and there is movement on that front to try to tighten that gap.

Senator Mercer: Yes. It was also said in Halifax the day after the announcement on the contract, the day after the announcement of the Community College, that pickup truck sales went through the roof in Nova Scotia.

I have been listening to this constant debate about social licence so I thought I would do what everybody else does in this world: I went to Google and I googled for a definition of social licence. The interesting people that they quote in the number one definition is the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture says:

Social license is a term that can be difficult to define, as it often consists of different concepts depending on industry, sector and commodity. Generally, social license can be defined as the ongoing level of stakeholder acceptance and approval for a particular project or industry to conduct operations.

That's my contribution to the cause this afternoon. As the Deputy Chair of the Agriculture Committee, I want you to know that I have brought agriculture and transportation communications together to define social licence. I encourage you to go to Google if you want to get some more information.

I'm going to be asking these questions of industry later on today, but I am concerned, as you have probably detected, about the activity of industry coming late to the game here. You said three years, I think, that they've been active. Three years is not a long time to build up trust in a community that you've not been active in before for an industry that's changing and wanting to do something as major as a pipeline. Besides the political people that Senator Mockler talked about, have they been able to recruit supporters that are local in nature, other than the many people who have a vested interest in this? Trade unions have a vested interest. Their members are going to work. If I were to sit in a coffee shop anywhere in New Brunswick today and brought up the subject of Energy East, what would the person sitting at the next table say to me?

Mr. Duplisea: Of course, it depends on who you're sitting next to, but for the most part, jobs are top of mind, especially coming from an area where jobs are somewhat scarce at times. Jobs are obviously top of mind with that and those that are directly affected from an employment standpoint tend to be more supportive, obviously.

But to your question on what work has been done with other organizations that are not the easy 20 per cent that are going to be supportive, organizations like the fire department, like the emergency preparedness, like Port Saint John, like the Coast Guard, those are organizations from our region that have real skin in the game as well because they're the organizations that will be responsible for disaster relief plans, emergency plans, evacuation plans, what to do in the event of a spill or those kinds of things.

I think TransCanada has worked very hard to bring those organizations to the table to understand their concerns and help them to develop the strategies necessary in place for risk management from that perspective. Those are some of the outsides groups.

I know that TransCanada works with other organizations like the Conservation Council, like the indigenous peoples organizations. They are probably the best ones to speak on how well those discussions are going or if, in fact, they've been able to gain support or if there's any movement there. They're the best to comment on that, but from our perspective we've been working with the project proponents, as I said, for about three years. That's not to say that they haven't been working with other organizations prior to that. My experience is just in the three years. But from citizens organizations as well as environmental groups, I think they continue to work with those. They're, again, the best people to speak on how well that's going. From our perspective, in terms of mitigating the risk, involving the business community and the social community, it's an ongoing process and they're continuing to work there.

Senator Mercer: Is the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce a membership-based organization?

Mr. Duplisea: Yes.

Senator Mercer: Is TransCanada a member?

Mr. Duplisea: Yes, they are.

Senator Mercer: Thank you.

Senator Mockler: The people that I talk to are stakeholders and/or even opponents. I want to be crystal clear: decisions should be made on scientific data, not on hearsay or rumours. So that said, I believe that there's some education in this process that we need. I believe there's some additional consultation, and if I listen carefully to what Senator Mercer has said on the Google definition of social licence, there's certainly a link, and what I mean by link, there's certainly a beginning of a definition, and people have their right to be heard. That's number one.

Number two: I also believe, Mr. Chair, that Canada's wealth has to be shared from coast to coast. That said, the wealth that we have here in Atlantic Canada has to be shared coast to coast. That's why I welcome the NEB and/or other proponents, and listen to Fred and Martha, the taxpayers of Canada, to be heard. That's the process.

When I look at building wealth and creating wealth and when I look at this project, and I want you to tell me if I'm on the right track or not, as a parliamentarian, and sometimes I'll be accused of supporting this or supporting that, I want a process. I think there is a process, Mr. Chair, and that's why I thanked you this morning with the order of reference that you have from the Senate of Canada on pipelines that you're here; because this project, Energy East, is as important to Canadians as nation-building, and you made reference with that. But it is as important as 150 years ago when we talked about building the railroad; building the Trans-Canada Highway, of which when I was Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chair, that was part of my responsibilities. The St. Lawrence Seaway is another project we can mark; air transportation. I would go on today by saying that the Internet broadband from coast to coast is also one of those projects.

If we are going to build wealth, create jobs, have better communities and work with our people, is Canada Energy East the right project for us?

Mr. Duplisea: You've raised some very interesting points, Senator Mockler, and I agree with you a thousand per cent.

We are a federation, and as a federation there are rights of each province to be able to get their goods and services and their products to market. Alberta has a right to be able to get their oil to tidewater. As a federation, no one province has the right to interfere with another province's ability to create economic wealth.

As well, because we're a federation, the wealth is shared through transfer payments, or call it whatever you wish. That's the way that we distribute on an equitable basis our social programs and the results of economic prosperity throughout the nation. So it is nation-building. I think that that's one of the pieces that perhaps could be missing from the education and awareness component, just how important the energy sector is to that to be nationally distributive wealth and how important the concept of a federation is as well. It is a nation-building project. It affects everyone from British Columbia all the way to Newfoundland and maybe that's part of the education processes as well, that Canadians understand that sometimes we have to put "What's in it for me? What's it for me?'' on the back burner and say, "This is good for the whole country,'' this is good for the whole country as the railway was, as was the Trans- Canada Highway, as was the St. Lawrence Seaway. This is one of those initiatives and projects as well, and we have to make sure that that's well understood throughout the country.

Senator Mockler: I'd like to state something for the record in front of the Chamber of Commerce, if you permit me, and will follow with a short question.

Our Saint John refinery, Canaport Terminal and East Saint John Terminal each have onsite emergency response teams with a total of over 200 members.

That's the research that we have and I verified that and I have talked to some. To share this information with you:

Approximately 26 members are on duty per shift, and are fully equipped with an onsite "fast attack'' truck, fire truck, incident command vehicle and other vehicles to respond to a variety of emergencies, including fire, leaks, spills or medical incidents.

I'd like to bring to your attention, because we've had witnesses that brought to our attention, the Bay of Fundy.

The entire Bay of Fundy is covered by ALERT, which is Atlantic Emergency Response Team. It was established in 1991 and licensed under the Canada Shipping Act to handle environmental emergencies. Every tanker that enters the Bay of Fundy must have a contract with ALERT. Do you think that's enough or should we do more and, if so, what do you recommend?

Mr. Duplisea: I think that as an organization whose responsibility it is to ensure the safety of the traffic in and out of the Bay of Fundy, I believe that our safety record in the Bay of Fundy somewhat speaks for itself, and knock on wood, there have been few instances of disasters or of mishaps in the Bay of Fundy. So the mechanisms in place that we have appear to be working. Can they be improved upon? Always they can be improved upon.

As well, I should mention that the tanker traffic, even when it gets to the maximum tanker traffic with the pipeline, will still only reach the levels that we had in and out of our port from 10 to 12 years ago and still only comes up to about two days of traffic; our whole year's traffic is equal to two days through the English Channel. So it's not an overwhelming amount of tanker traffic comparatively to some of the other jurisdictions as well. I refer you to the safety record of those organizations in the Bay of Fundy to date.

Mr. Daigle: Realistically, our organization can't bring an expert opinion to that question, but what I would suggest is, these are the types of conversations that you would be having with the emergency response people like the meeting we had this morning. The fire chief was there. They need to understand what this all entails and then they bring that type of expertise to the table so that we ensure that we do have the best systems in place.

My understanding is the systems we have in place now are excellent, that there's capacity in the Bay of Fundy to handle this, but by all means, safety is paramount so experts will be brought in to discuss this. The Chamber of Commerce may have an opinion, but I don't think we can definitively define your question.

Senator Mocker: Thank you.

The Deputy Chair: Gentlemen, there are no more questions. On behalf of the committee, I'd like to thank both of you for participating today.

Mr. Duplisea: I'd like to thank everyone.

Mr. Daigle: Thank you.

The Deputy Chair: Honourable senators, I wish to welcome our next witnesses, from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Lois Corbett, Executive Director, and Matt Abbott, Marine Program Coordinator.

I ask you both to begin your presentations and afterward the senators will have questions. Thank you.

Lois Corbett, Executive Director, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: Honourable Senators, it's great to catch up and see some of you again and meet some of you for the first time.

My name is Lois Corbett. I'm Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. Our main office is in Fredericton and that's where I work out of, but Matt, as our marine programmer, works out of our other office, which is in Saint Andrews.

It's a privilege and an honour to be here today to share some of our top line concerns about the impact of potential oil spills. I brought Matt along because he is our boots on the ground, if you could use that metaphor when you talk about somebody's who on a boat in the Bay of Fundy.

With your permission, I'd like to have Matt go through the rest of our presentation and then both of us will be here to help answer any questions that you have.

The Deputy Chair: Sure. Go ahead, Matt.

Matt Abbott, Marine Program Coordinator, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: Thanks very much for having us, and thank you, Lois.

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick, or CCNB, has a lengthy history of working to preserve and promote environmental and social health and sustainability.

Briefly, CCNB was established in 1969 and is one of Canada's oldest environmental organizations. We have, and continue to run, a number of programs that coincide or overlap with issues you're considering here today. Just to provide some context to help give you a sense of where some of our knowledge and expertise lies, our programs include a freshwater protection program that promotes watershed management among other efforts; a forestry preservation program; a biodiversity program that includes species at risk; a contaminants and human health program with an emphasis on air contaminants; a climate and energy solutions program that has long been a leader in efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in New Brunswick and Canada and globally; and the program I run, a marine program, includes Fundy Baykeeper. My other title is Fundy Baykeeper, the purpose of which is to promote protection of the Bay of Fundy marine ecosystem. As the Fundy Baykeeper, I operate a vessel, searching for and documenting pollution and other environmental issues in the Bay of Fundy. Also as the Baykeeper, I work closely with First Nations, with fishermen, with tourism operators and other members of the bay's coastal communities in a variety of efforts to safeguard the bay's ecological integrity.

It will likely come as no surprise to many of you that CCNB has deep concerns about the potential environmental, social and economic consequences of major oil export projects, such as the proposed Energy East pipeline.

We have conducted extensive research into various impacts of the proposal, with special emphasis on risks to fresh water in New Brunswick and the impact of increased tanker traffic and oil spill risk on the Bay of Fundy.

As an organization, we have also put a lot of thought into what efforts are needed in an era of severe climate change, and have put forward proposals that would allow New Brunswick to meaningfully address climate change while creating jobs and a great deal of economic opportunity.

It is our position that Energy East will severely hamper our efforts to combat climate change both by facilitating ongoing and expanded fossil fuel use and by investing available expertise and capital in fossil fuel expansion instead of committing fully to the hard, rewarding work of transitioning away from fossil fuel dependence.

If you allow me, I wish to paint a picture for you of the marine waters we sit beside today. Understanding the ecology and economies of the Bay of Fundy is critical in efforts to weigh risks versus benefits of a project like Energy East, whose export facility is proposed to be right here in Saint John, as you all know.

Twice every day, 160 billion tonnes of seawater rushes into and back out of the Bay of Fundy, creating the largest tides in the world. These dramatic tides drive a unique and diverse ecosystem. The Bay of Fundy is exceptionally biologically productive, attracting several species of large whales, porpoise, dolphins, seals and many kinds of fish, birds, scallops, clams and crustaceans such as lobster and krill. I hope you have the opportunity to sample some of our seafood while you're here. It's delicious.

The Bay of Fundy has supported thriving human as well as animal communities for millennia. The archeological record shows that indigenous people have lived on the shores of the Bay of Fundy for at least 13,000 years. The Passamaquoddy, Mi'kmaq and Maliseet people still rely on the Bay of Fundy for food. The Bay of Fundy also supports at least 5,000 fishing families to this day, in addition to supporting a thriving tourism industry.

Impacts on marine communities is a very important matter to us. I say that personally, as well, as someone who lives in a coastal community that I love. We must consider the jobs put at risk by this project, Energy East, not just the jobs it might create.

I know that you are hearing from Chief Ron Tremblay today, but I believe you will not be hearing from tourism and fisheries representatives. I'd encourage you to seek out those voices if you have opportunity in the future.

Let me make a personal offer to each of you. If you'd like to see the outer Bay of Fundy and what makes it special, you're welcome aboard the Fundy Baykeeper vessel with me anytime.

We believe the Energy East pipeline should cause concern for those who love and rely on the Bay of Fundy. While already under significant stress from existing industrial activity, climate change and instability in fish and other animal populations, the Bay of Fundy remains a dynamic marine ecosystem which supports vibrant coastal communities.

It is essential that highly productive regions like the Bay of Fundy be protected from additional stress so they can be strong enough to withstand environmental change and continue to support communities well into the future.

Here, I'll just pause to remind you that when we look at changing levels of use of the Bay of Fundy, we'll be adding stress to the Bay of Fundy of today, not the Bay of Fundy of the past. The Gulf of Maine, which the Bay of Fundy is part of, is one of the fastest warming water bodies in world. We really are in the target sights of climate change here. So when we look at adding industrial activity here on the Bay of Fundy, we have to remember it's the Bay of Fundy as we have it now, not as we had it in the past.

I'll move on. In preparing to speak to you today, we reviewed the questions guiding your study. Here, we offer brief replies and expect we'll get into more details during questions.

You ask how the federal government could help facilitate social licence for crude oil transportation and infrastructure projects such as this pipeline. That's the first question we were given, guiding your study here today.

We believe it's not the role of the federal government to facilitate social licence. The federal government must ensure a credible and robust regulatory process. Social licence comes not from increased public relations efforts but from credible processes where real risks are taken into account. I hope that the federal government accepts that social licence on a project like Energy East might never be granted.

We must not forget that projects like Energy East lock us into decades of ongoing and expanded fossil fuel use.

This leads to your second question, regarding how to improve public confidence in the pipeline review process. I may have already answered this question, but I will just emphasize that in a credible process, "no'' must at least be possible. If a "yes'' to a project like this is guaranteed in effect or in perception, then I expect public confidence in any given process will not be forthcoming.

I have a few more comments here. Sorry if I've gone over time.

You also ask how to facilitate the involvement of indigenous peoples in decisions related to crude oil transport. We could, of course, leave this to the diverse indigenous nations themselves to answer. I believe and hope you've had ample opportunity to hear from different perspectives within First Nations communities.

Your final question asks whether a national strategy is needed and what the key elements are. We would answer yes, a national strategy is needed. We think that national strategy should focus on transitioning away from fossil fuel dependence and seizing opportunities to become leaders in a low-carbon economy.

We will conclude our comments here. Our comments have remained fairly general to give you a sense of our areas of expertise, to assist you in your deliberations on this matter. We look forward to getting into more details during questions. Thank you very much for your time today.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you for your presentation.

We will begin questions with Senator Boisvenu.


Senator Boisvenu: Thank you very much for being here. I had several questions, for clarification. Yesterday, we had a presentation from Irving on certain aspects of their development; one of the aspects they pointed out to us was the growth in the whale population. According to the statistics they and other organizations took about a decade ago, there was a right whale population of about 250, and today the number is more than 525. But in your magazine, which I have just become aware of, you say that the right whale population is in decline. On page 14, you say that, this year, it seems that the right whales generally seen in Hudson's Bay are changing their route and that the right whale population is in decline. You say so in the title. But another organization states that the population has doubled in 10 years. I am trying to understand which story is true.

Mr. Abbott: Perhaps it is a translation issue, or perhaps a mistake has been made. I do not have it here. Are we talking about the right whale, the baleine noire? Okay, we are. So, thank you very much for your question.


If we say it's in decline then that is an editorial mistake. But what I will say is, it definitely is endangered and the population remains very sensitive.


Senator Boisvenu: Do you agree with the figures we have been given by...


Mr. Abbott: Yes, absolutely. I'll be the first to say we really should give all the parties that have helped in the recovery of the right whale, and that would include Irving, who is a big proponent, helped moved the shipping lane, which has been a big factor in helping to restore the right whale population. We should absolutely give credit.

I think a number of threats remain to the right whale population. We've seen a number of mortalities, even this year. Most of those are from entanglement with fishing gear. So I'd say that's one of the primary risks right now.

We do know from research in other regions that in areas with a lot of marine noise, the ability of right whales to communicate with each other has been reduced by a significant amount. From studies in the Bay of Fundy, we've seen that when there isn't tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy, stress hormones in right whales plummets. There are high stress hormone levels.

They actually conducted a study right after the tragic events of 9/11 in New York when marine shipping around the world stopped. They had a unique opportunity to compare shipping and no shipping stress levels in whales. We know that shipping traffic causes stress for whales. We don't know how much noise is too much noise.

I would just go back to my earlier comment saying that the Bay of Fundy has changed. We've seen additional stress from climate change and other factors. We have to be very careful.

I'm not trying to dodge your question at all. If we've said that their populations are declining, then I'm happy to own that mistake. I should have caught that. They are still an endangered population.


Senator Boisvenu: In the other argument you put forward, you say that marine traffic will increase. A decade or so ago, it came to about 1,000 vessels per year. There has been a significant decline. Now, the estimate is about 800 vessels per year, and, with the platform that will be constructed, it will go back to about 1,000 vessels per year. That's about one more ship every two days.

Mr. Abbott: Yes.

Senator Boisvenu: And on that basis you state that there will be a significant increase in marine traffic?


Mr. Abbott: Well, we do feel, based on our research and discussions with scientists looking at marine noise and other issues, that it is a significant increase. I think this is a key point that's often a sticking point on this, that we have to remember that the Bay of Fundy we have today is not the Bay of Fundy in the past.

What I see as the heart of my job is to do everything I can to make sure that the Bay of Fundy can withstand the changes it's facing. Those include climate change, climate change being the primary one. I do believe that if we make the right decisions around the Bay of Fundy, we can see it weather these significant changes that it faces.

We need to manage the pressures. I would say that the projected 281 tankers from Energy East do represent a significant increase. Yes, it brings us to historic levels but the Bay of Fundy, even if it's only 15 years ago, with the rates of change we're seeing associated with climate change and what we expect in the future, that increase back up to those levels from 10 or 15 years ago should cause us concern.

I'm not at all trying to dodge your question. I think it's an excellent question and you're really getting to the key points, but I think that key piece is that the Bay of Fundy is changing and that we have to look at the Bay of Fundy as it is now, not as it was in the past and as we can project it to be in the future.


Senator Boisvenu: The debate over projects of this nature is often very difficult and very emotional. That is why we have to maintain a certain level of language that corresponds to reality. When you have titles as alarming as: "Right whale population in decline,'' when that is not true, and when you say that there will be a significant increase in marine traffic when that is not exactly the case, do you not think that statements of that nature harm the dialogue between those promoting major projects and those standing up for environmental values? It is perfectly laudable to advocate for environmental protection; however, that kind of statement can lead to misinformation. When I read that, I tell myself that there is a problem, but when I talk to other people, there is no problem. The whale population has doubled. So I wonder whether it is possible for environmental groups to engage in a discourse that corresponds to reality rather than to the objectives that you want to achieve by being a little alarmist.


Mr. Abbott: An excellent question. I think the quality of the discourse is very important. While I don't have it in front of me, I accept that we may have made a mistake in that one headline, but I would say that raising concern about right whales is entirely legitimate. Noise is one of the keys factors. There is an increased risk of ship strike with increases. I think the movement of the shipping lane was important and remains important, but the whales we see are still passing back and forth through the shipping lanes.

I would say I do have concern with the level of discourse at times. There may be statements on all sides that concern me. I really question some of the statements around the numbers of jobs we might see associated with this project, especially when it doesn't take into account some of the jobs at risk, which we can discuss in more detail later and that I've referenced briefly.

There are promises being made to local communities. I've spoken to mayors and others who've been told that supporting this pipeline will reduce or eliminate the rail traffic they're seeing that really concerns them. We know that's not necessarily the case. Even before the National Energy Board, the proponents of the pipeline made it very clear that they don't know if it's going to significantly reduce rail traffic. I think it's important to look at what's said on the record like that.

I think you're right to say that maybe there are issues with the level of discourse. I think there are things said by many individuals that don't necessarily help move us forward. I would really encourage you to look at claims that are made around numbers of jobs, claims that are made around the displacement of rail, issues that are really of deep concern to people. I agree with you. I certainly strive to be entirely factual and I work on issues that I think merit our efforts.

I appreciate the close look through our newsletter. I'm going to look into that as soon as I leave. If you've caught something, then I very much appreciate that.

Senator Boisvenu: Thank you.

The Deputy Chair: Senator Mercer?

Senator Mercer: I'm a little confused, and not for the first time in my life. You've talked about the federal government not having a role in this process, shouldn't be involved. Nation-building is a responsibility of the Government of Canada. If we didn't have federal governments involved in nation-building in the past, Sir John A. Macdonald wouldn't have built railways across the country. We wouldn't have built the St. Lawrence Seaway. We wouldn't have had an airport development program to provide airports in most major cities across the country. We wouldn't have had the Trans-Canada Highway.

This country doesn't make any sense east-west if you look at it historically. It's been built east-west and survived as an independent country because someone has had the foresight to be involved in nation-building, Sir John A. Macdonald on up to current day.

I'm kind of curious. Should the federal government not have been involved in designing a national health care plan that is the envy of many other countries because they took they took the issue and they got involved in an area that is actually a provincial responsibility, but they got involved in nation-building by providing this? Where is the line that we draw on nation-building here? I'm concerned that you're saying that the government shouldn't have any role to play, period.

Ms. Corbett: Senator, with respect, I think that's a very good question.

Senator Mercer: All of our questions have been.

Ms. Corbett: Of course, they're always all good. I know. I should have said that at the beginning.

We had and have conducted nation-building exercises like you mentioned with medicare. We have conducted nation-building exercises with old age pensions, with family allowances, with the maple leaf. There is no doubt in my mind that everyone in Canada understands the importance, not just of your institution but of our federal government when it involves itself in a nation-building exercise.

But we did not build those programs solely to profit private business. Fair enough? We built those programs to fulfill a social need.

I really like your transportation examples and I get them: the canal, the seaway, the railway. Those are binds that I think tie us from east to west, north to south. What I am concerned about is that we need to be quite careful about where we're taking our country on our nation-building exercises.

It would be, like Matt referenced earlier, an outrageous — and I would challenge you — challenging and fun nation- building exercise to develop the transition to clean fuel and the green economy. I would love to see your efforts on that nation-building exercise.

Senator Mercer: Let's go to what may be a direct conflict with Matt's role as the Fundy Baykeeper.

I've from Nova Scotia. Half of that bay is ours.

Mr. Abbott: I'm getting scared.

Senator Mercer: So we have some skin in this game. What's your opinion on tidal power? If you want us to move away from hydrocarbons, what about tidal power, where we have industry putting turbines in the Bay of Fundy and using the highest tides in the world to generate electricity?

Mr. Abbott: I'd like to say I fully understand the character of the Bay of Fundy and have spent time in Nova Scotia meeting with fisheries and tourism operatives in this and other issues because I recognize, even though my work limits itself to New Brunswick, that many issues we work on are bay-wide. I want to hear those voices.

On the question of tidal, I think that's why we need the broad strategy. We really need a plan that lets us make smart decisions going forward. We need infrastructure in place so that we can have a variety of renewable energy sources. There may well be places where tidal is appropriate. There may be places where it isn't.

Senator Mercer: Is the Bay of Fundy one of them?

Mr. Abbott: There may be locations in the Bay of Fundy where it can be done appropriately. I think there are some pretty big outstanding questions in terms of — we want to have a really good handle on the impacts because I'd hate to see some renewable energy project go in that really disrupts, for instance, the run of alewife or gaspereau on the St. Croix River, which is in a pretty significant and exciting restoration right now, down from historic lows of 900, moving their way back up towards the historic highs of a couple of million. There have been proposals in the region where I live, but we don't have a good handle on how that might affect other important environmental and really economic opportunities.

There may well be a role for tidal. There may be the right sites in the Bay of Fundy. I'm excited about the research happening into that. I think we have to start at the right scale and we have to really put the time in on the front end on research to make sure we can do it responsibility. It's definitely part of the suite of options.

Senator Mercer: You've talked about the right whale issue and you've talked specifically about some of the difficulties right whales have had recently, and it's been fishing-gear related. Should we ban fishing in the bay?

Mr. Abbott: I speak with the fishery about this all the time. I work collaboratively with an organization, Fundy North Fishermen's Association, on the removal of large debris from the bottom. They've brought up more than a thousand lost lobster traps that have been lost through being cut by gear from other boats, some perhaps fishing boats but from other industries as well. They've been working really hard at removing lost gear from the water.

The fishing industry has worked on mapping, when their gear is in the water when the whales are present, to try and understand where the interactions between whales and gear might be and devise ways to limit those.

I know there have been experiments with different kinds of gear in Maine to limit risks. So that's a huge issue. I'd say it absolutely is. I see really significant activity happening in the fishery. The fishery has shown its preparedness to work on this and they're mitigating risks and they're working quite proactively on this.

I understand the comparison you're making. If you'll allow me to speculate that you might then compare to, "Well, can't we do tanker traffic well if you think we're prepared to do fishing well?'' What I'm saying is that we're looking at a pretty significant increase in tanker traffic on an area where we know noise is one of those primary issues. We don't want to get the Bay of Fundy to the point where it's not welcoming for a variety of marine animals.

Senator Mercer: I'm kind of curious. You specifically referred to lobster gear and it being lost at the bottom of the bay. Then you talked about some right whales being lost because of accidents involved fishing gear. Lobster traps and lobster lines have killed right whales?

Mr. Abbott: Entanglements in fishing gear have been a primary issue.

Senator Mercer: Lobster gear?

Mr. Abbott: Very likely. Once a line's on a whale, the priority is to get the line off. So we don't know always exactly which gear was once attached to that line. You may be able to find others who can answer that question more specifically. Certainly lobster, and any line in the water, especially if it's attached to something heavy or attached to something on bottom, which is one of the reasons we're working collaboratively with fishing industry, with provincial and federal government and with the aquaculture industry. We've mapped submerged marine debris. We're starting in the outer Bay of Fundy as a pilot program, and we're focusing especially on marine debris that has rope attached to it because you can imagine that if the tide is rising and a whale entangles in rope that's attached to bottom, that's a very dangerous situation.

We're working proactively with many sectors to try and eliminate the risk or reduce the risk where it exists. So any rope in the water, but certainly lobster gear is one of the issues.

I'll say that when a whale is found dead we can't always point to exactly one cause, but if there are scars on its body from entanglement in some kind of gear, if the gear is not there we won't necessarily know what that gear was. But we will be able to presume that it was a contributing factor, even though there could have been other factors.

Senator Mercer: I'm very supportive of right whales and making sure that we do what we can to protect them. I'm a little more supportive of lobster fishermen and fishermen in general than I am on the right whale. I'm concerned we've confused the issues here.

Ms. Corbett: I need to be very clear that we are 182 per cent in favour of the lobster and lobster fishermen. We work very closely, Matt works very closely with the fishermen in lobster and in other very vital fisheries.

I am reminded, because of your question, of something that Thomas Berger said when he was first examining this huge question of whether or not to build the Mackenzie oil pipeline. Remember that? Way, way long ago.

He said, "Some folks have made an argument to me that perhaps we should just take the entire North of Canada and make one big pristine national park and I chose not to do that.''

We are not advocating taking the Bay of Fundy and making it some museum for 500 right whales. We see the people, the fisheries, the boats, the tourist operators, the economy as a fishery of the Bay of Fundy as absolutely vital to New Brunswickers and to the Nova Scotia side that we share our bay with.

You reminded me of that Berger comment from way back, and I appreciate that, Senator Mercer.

Senator Mercer: Of all the things you mentioned, none of those were industries that were — you mentioned fisheries, you mentioned tourism. You didn't mention any of the large shipping, which has been part of the history of the Bay of Fundy for years. There used to be a large shipbuilding area at the end of the bay in Advocate, Nova Scotia, many, many years ago. The history of this bay has been built around shipping, whether it be the fisheries or large transportation. We've been moving products through this bay a long time in large vessels at the time that they were moving. Vessels have changed.

Thank you, chair.

The Deputy Chair: Before we go on to our second round, I have a few questions for our witnesses.

I want to make one point, because you both brought this up, about transitioning to a low-carbon economy or a non- carbon economy.

I'm a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, and we're studying that right now. But the second thing, I have to make this point: That's not our mandate here, to study the transfer to a low-carbon economy.

Mr. Abbott, I have great sympathy for your position in regards to the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy is one of the unique marine ecosystems in the world; not only the highest and lowest, but the strongest tides in the world. We have to be very careful of the way we handle this. But you've extended that into what appeared to me to be basically an argument against the importation of oil itself from the West.

We're bringing in sweet crude from Saudi Arabia or from the U.S. in ships' bottoms. All that goes through Nova Scotia's water. I would like the opportunity, as a Nova Scotian, for that to come through pipeline and take those ships' bottoms out of the water with the oil.

Right now, petroleum can go across any province by tanker car or come into any waterway on the east coast by ship, or it can go by truck, as far as that goes. There is some coming by pipeline now from the U.S., being redirected.

Why do you think we're better off as Canadians bringing in oil from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. than bringing in our own?

Mr. Abbott: Sure. In a column in I believe the Financial Post, potentially National Post, Irving did make it clear that they didn't plan on reducing their shipments from Saudi Arabia, that they planned to continue to receive those boats. I think it likely had to do with the quality of the product and how that suits their refinery process.

So I think a fundamental question is, and something we've been thinking a lot about since this pipeline was proposed, are we really displacing other sources of oil or is this, at its root, an export project?

Based on the analysis we've participated in and a close look at various sources of information, not all from groups that agree with us, I'll tell you, we're very much concerned that we're not likely to see a reduction in the shipping traffic we're seeing now. We're likely to see an additional. So we're seeing a fair bit of import. We're likely to see comparable levels of import with some export added on top.

The Deputy Chair: Okay. That's fair enough. But, of course, Irving is not the only refinery in this country.

Mr. Abbott: No.

The Deputy Chair: There are refineries in Ontario and Quebec that will all have access to this. You have to work that into the equation as well.

The other thing I want to make a point of, we talk about the evolution of a country in nation-building, and you mentioned, rightly so, family allowances, pensions, medicare. These all depend on huge injections of revenue, almost all from the federal government. You mentioned we shouldn't be obsessed, and I agree with you, about just private companies creating profit. But the oil patch in Alberta has had more to do with the ability of the federal government to fund these projects than probably any other source of revenue. We have to create wealth in the country.

In the last 15 years the Alberta oil patch has transferred $200 billion to the federal government, $200 billion. As you know, and I know as a Nova Scotian, we are all debtor provinces. We depend on transfers. We depend on equalization. The Province of Quebec has gotten about $100 billion of that $200 billion to support social programs.

You have to create wealth. You have to create revenue to maintain this lifestyle we have. I've said to people, "This is not my grandparents' Canada.'' Governments used to do nothing for people but now they do a lot. But you have to have revenue.

If you're not going to get the revenue from the ability to raise royalties in provinces like Alberta or the creation of tax revenue for the Government of Canada, where's the revenue going to come from?

Ms. Corbett: I think that's why you're a senator and I'm an executive director. That's a tough question. I'm being quite sincere and I'm not being disingenuous. I don't have a good answer for you because I don't think that there is such a thing as a good dollar and a bad dollar, either. I think there's a dollar, senator.

I appreciate, though, and would say with respect that this project that we're trying to talk about today, the Energy East project, was designed in a time and in a year when the market was quite different. The market and the price of oil are not the same as when you first started your endeavours, nor when the Energy East pipeline was first proposed.

Do we all need to figure out how to diversify our provincial and national economies? Of course, we do. Should we be looking towards accelerating profit-making capacities in solar firms, in tidal firms, with respect to Senator Mercer's question, with installations? Absolutely, yes.

As you know, senator, the installations of solar worldwide are just starting to peak now and the price of installing solar has dropped dramatically just over the two years. I know it sounds like a sort of crazy, environmentalist idea from the 1980s. That's not true. Now it is modern, clean tech and profitable.

I appreciate the position that we're all in and that you, as a senator from Nova Scotia, and me, as a citizen of New Brunswick, are all in: this dicey place where we depend on federal transfers of revenue made on the back of hard- working people in the private sector. I think we all need to invest in tomorrow's industry, as well as support the workers in today's industry.

Remember, there are a lot of New Brunswickers and Nova Scotians in Fort McMurray, as you know. We've all got cousins, uncles, nieces and nephews there. We know people there. They are our families.

The Deputy Chair: I think I would be fair in saying that they would probably all support the Energy East pipeline for the most part. They need that. They see the need for it.

Senator Mockler?

Senator Mockler: I'm somewhat puzzled, and that wouldn't be the first time. That's why you're here.


When Senator Boisvenu read the publication you submitted to us, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick's EcoAlert, he came across two statements on page 14 that were not true.

However, when you talk about electricity and NB Power, I would like to encourage you to come to make a presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on the matters you told us about at the beginning of your statement. I say that because I am also a member of the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. When the vice-president of the New Brunswick Energy Board came to see us, he was asked, if New Brunswick were to stop producing electricity with coal tomorrow morning — we know that it will not be tomorrow morning — whether there would be an effect on the consumer. If the coal-fired generating plant were closed, what impact could that have on New Brunswick families?


Mr. Abbott: Thank you very much for that question. I'll let Lois answer it in more detail. I like to be knee-deep in rockweed so I do think about these a fair bit.

We have never proposed an immediate end. We've always proposed a transition. Over the years, we've put out several ideas, several plans on how we could go about that. I think Lois can add to this, but of course we propose a transition but it needs to be a well-thought-out transition, but an active one and a quick one.

Of course, we would never advocate flipping the switch tomorrow because we need the infrastructure in place. People need their houses. I certainly want a warm house. I'd like to have lights when I get home tonight and I'd like to keep my food cool.

So just saying that we've always advocated a transition and there are many opportunities for that.

Lois has had her head in some of these issues a little more deeply than mine.

Ms. Corbett: Thank you for your question, senator. Matt is absolutely right. Planning to stop burning coal, and we use that as a concrete example, takes a lot of time. I think even if you were to look at the Ontario experience, from the point of the decision until its final phase-out was about 17 years.

We can talk about the phase-out of coal today with an understanding that we need to plan for that transition, for the Belledune plant in northern New Brunswick, over that period of time.

The same thing with our dependence on fossil fuels for transportation. It will take some time and it will take a lot of heavy lifting on everybody's part.

What's interesting is that, as you probably would know, senator, years ago, you probably wouldn't hear an environmentalist talking about,''We're going to need to electrify everything.'' Nowadays we are, but it's about where our source of electricity comes from; whether it's from solar, renewable or hydro more, so that we can power our transportation system with electricity as well.

I'm thinking forward and thinking about a just transition.

Senator Mockler: I want to share with you that two weeks ago the Energy Committee — and I don't want to divert from the order of reference that you have, Mr. Chair, that we have with Transport with this pipeline, so I'm going to come back immediately to pipelines.

I just came from Western Canada. We visited B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. CO2 capture; I'm sure that you have knowledge of that. You can look at electric vehicles, new ways of using hydrogen cells, new ways of innovation from the forest industry. I don't want to go there with the forest industry because as former chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, we had some specific recommendations to governments on this.

I think we have a common denominator, the council and me or us. I'll say as a New Brunswick senator, we have a common denominator. It's to find the best way to have better economic activities and better social programs, infrastructure in place that will create and sustain our economy. Do we agree on that?

Ms. Corbett: Yes, we do. Absolutely.

Senator Mockler: Okay. Therefore, I'll go to the next level, which is energy.

Ms. Corbett and Mr. Abbott, you've alluded to also how important it is, and the chair mentioned it, when we look at projects such as nation-building projects. I see that seven out of ten New Brunswickers, regardless where they live, support Energy East.

If that's the case, and if that is not the case, what is your opinion on that? Our format is to permit you, and as a parliamentarian of 32 years plus, I think I've always vouched to make sure that all the Freds and Marthas, the taxpayers of New Brunswick, taxpayers of the people that I represent, could be heard. That's what you're here today.

I'm disturbed when I look at the document that you presented to us and it's not quite factual. Do you believe that decisions should be based on science-based data and analysis when we embark on any such projects when we deal with natural resources?

Mr. Abbott: There is a variety of sources of information that are absolutely critical. I'm based in Saint Andrews where we have the St. Andrews Biological Station, the oldest marine research centre in Canada. If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend you visit it. They do very impressive work there.

I work very closely with the science community across the province and especially in Saint Andrews, and connected with some of the universities that come and work with us down there.

Of course, scientific information plays a critical role. That's a lot of what we've been calling for. When we talk about some of the risks with marine noise, for instance, we're saying we don't know what the threshold is. We don't know how much is too much. These are questions we need to at least look into, even if we can't have a conclusive answer.

We can't always have the absolute answer. Sometimes things are just too complex. We need to look more deeply and get a better handle on this so that we can make good decisions. We certainly advocate that.

I would also say that in the realm of public discourse, when I travel around and speak to people they're very moved by a hope that Energy East will eliminate oil train traffic. That's a primary concern. What I hear, when TransCanada is asked on the record whether Energy East will reduce oil train traffic, is they say, "Essentially we hope so.'' I have brought the quotations from the NEB panel sessions with me because I thought this might come up.

Good information has to be out there and we need to take the time to do the good research. I'd say that when proponents for this project are relying on people's hope that it will eliminate the risk from oil trains when we certainly don't know if that's going to be the case, that really concerns me. That's one of the reasons I think it's important that we and many others communicate with the public. Sometimes we do that very well and sometimes, as you've discovered today, we have hiccups.

Senator Mockler: That's right. So the council presented this to us.

Can I ask you, Mr. Abbott, have you read it before presenting it to us?

Mr. Abbott: I've reviewed drafts of it and I have a copy at home, and I've read portions of it. Sometimes this happens to me, when I read things many times it gets stuck in my head and I miss something. So I think that's a question of just needing a close copy editor.

I know that right whales aren't on the decline. I can quote you the various numbers and I'm very interested. They're still very threatened. Five hundred isn't enough to secure the population. I think it's critical that we continue to take action and continue to work collaboratively to help this population continue to grow. There are a lot of people, a lot of hands on deck on that already and I applaud them all.

I have reviewed that, but sometimes when you read things many times you miss something.

Senator Mockler: Believe you me, we're all human.

Mr. Abbott: So I hold that. I think you can predict what I'll be doing the minute I leave this room.

Senator Mockler: In the same event, when you look at it again, if there are some corrections that have to be made, please send them to the chair so that we can make corrections. It happened to me and I'll share this with you. It happened to me when I was in B.C. with the Pembina Group. All the information was not that accurate. So I understand. You came to the committee. I respect that.

The last comment and question I have is, I recognize that it has to be based on science and that's factual. I look at the Bay of Fundy, and I want to share this with you and I'd like to have your comments on it. It's not a matter of me against you. I want to do my job as a parliamentarian and God permit, I will continue to do it. But in the meantime, I think it's very important that we look at the facts and that we can hear the pros and cons.

I personally think that you've got a vehicle here to share that information with, in a case of time, that we will make recommendations to the federal government through the Senate chamber.

When I look at the entire Bay of Fundy, it is covered, and I'll quote, by ALERT, Atlantic Emergency Response Team. It was established in 1991 and licensed under the Canada Shipping Act to handle environmental emergencies. Every tanker that enters the Bay of Fundy must have a contract with ALERT.

I don't want to ask questions on contracts, because Senator Boisvenu touched on that earlier.

Then it says:

Our Saint John Refinery, Canaport Terminal and East Saint John Terminal each have onsite emergency response teams, with a total of over 200 members.

. . . Approximately 26 members are on duty per shift, and are fully equipped with an onsite "fast attack'' truck, fire truck, incident command vehicle and other vehicles to respond to a variety of emergencies, including fire, leaks, spills or medical incidents.

My question to you is this: Is there something in addition to that that we can do to appease the mind and to demonstrate that we're trying to find solutions to the concerns of Canadians?

Mr. Abbott: I've toured the ALERT facility on several occasions. I'm very envious of many of their boats. I would like to have most of them. I would gladly trade, but I don't think they will. I'm impressed with the amount of equipment they have.

But what I've also done is I've looked into historical instances of oil spills in the Bay of Fundy, to give us a sense of what we're dealing with. We haven't had major, major spills, but we've had some. That's why I bring out a page from a report we wrote a little over a year ago. They have a lot of equipment, a lot of expertise. They can't manage fog with that expertise and equipment. In 2007, we lost a relatively small spill in the fog. There are real conditions.

As we've mentioned, we have one of the highest tidal current regimes in the world. We have extremely high tides. The history of oil spills tells us that oil moves fast; it moves far. We've had oil out in the bay for quite some time that then has hit the coast up from Digby on the Nova Scotia side. We haven't seen major cleanups at sea of many of these instances because they simply couldn't be accessed.

Another component that changes with Energy East is that we know that bitumen does behave differently at times than some oils. I know in some conditions it can be similar. The Bay of Fundy has turbid water, meaning there's a lot of sediment and a lot of stuff in the water, as you can imagine, with all that coming and going. We also have a heavy current and wave regime.

Much of the equipment ALERT has relies on relatively calm seas. There are many conditions that are hard to impossible to do an oil spill in.

I offered you all a boat ride. My boat is 20 feet long. I suggest you check the wind forecast before you take me up on that. I certainly will.

I know that there are many conditions in which an oil spill can't effectively be cleaned up because it's the Bay of Fundy. Spend some time in Saint John and you'll be well acquainted with fog, as well.

I have met with ALERT and they've told me that bitumen won't sink; it won't behave differently in the Bay of Fundy. When I read research coming out of Environment Canada, when I look at research from the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S. and other bodies, highly credible bodies, I do worry that bitumen won't behave like conventional oil does. When I hear the response organization tell me that it's going to behave like conventional oil will, that really worries me.

A number of times they've just said they have models that say the bitumen won't sink and it won't be a problem. That really needs to be re-examined because the really credible science that's being done, good work often by the federal government, which should be commended for it, tells us that it's different once we have large quantities of bitumen being shipped.

I hope I've answered your question directly. That was my intent, but I gave a little context as well.

Senator Mockler: Thank you.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you very much for your presentations.

Ms. Corbett: I just want to, if it's okay through you, Mr. Chair, echo the sentiment of a great N.B. senator.

We've started a conversation here. If you need more information from us, we are available. We will make the correction. You'll see it on our website right away. If you want more, let's stay in touch.

I appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you very much.

I wish to welcome our next witnesses. From the Maliseet Grand Council, Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of Wolastoq, and Alma Brooks, a grandmother.

Please begin your presentations and then the senators will have questions.

Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of Wolastoq, Maliseet Grand Council: I'll be saying a welcoming in my language, the language of this land, pre-contact. I will then translate what I'm saying.

[Editor's Note: The witness spoke in his native language.]

Now I'll translate.

I welcome you to the homeland of the Wolastoq and Maliseet people. My traditional name is Morningstar-burning and I represent the clan totems of the crow and the wolf.

I am the Grand Chief of the Maliseet Grand Council. This place we are today is called Menahqesk. "Mena'' refers to gentle and slow flowing of the river, and "qesk'' refers to the entering of a large opening to the ocean.

My people lived here by the ocean and upriver since the beginning of time. We still own our homeland and our ancestors never surrendered any piece of the land. Our language is important, as well as our treaties.

I speak on behalf of the animals, fish, birds, insects, waterways and all of the Maliseet territory and all of the extended families that we represent. This is the truth. Let it be so.

I have brought with me here today how our ancestors once connected with the first colonizers here, and we used wampum through treaties. And I brought three wampum belts with me. Later on, I will speak on one of them.

Also, I brought our Wolastoq nation flag. Our grandmother will hold up the flag while I describe the flag.

The Wolastoq woman and man canoeing are following our totem, muskrat. Muskrat provides our people with food, fur and guides us to medicine. The woman, man, muskrat, canoe are in red. It signifies our relationship to Mother Earth and all our ancestors.

The yellow sun represents our eldest grandfather, who rises in the east and reminds us of our connection to the Wabanaki, People of the Dawn. The blue signifies water, giver and provider of all life, and the green indicates all vegetation in the plant world. The red on the bottom is our ancestors, who are the roots that keep our nation grounded and reminds us of our responsibility to protect our homeland, Wolastokuk.

I'm here today as Grand Chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council. Our people have deep, deep concerns about the condition of our homeland.

Today, it's been, I hate to use the harsh word of "raped,'' but it's been raped. It's been clear cut; it's been sprayed; it's been dammed without our permission. And through our Peace and Friendship Treaties with the past colonial governments, our lifelong chiefs that signed those treaties put their marks on those documents, never surrendered a piece of land.

Here we are today, facing another devastation, a proposed devastation that's going to cross our sacred waters, and we look at our waters and our earth as sacred. I'm not sure if you can process that, but when we do ceremonies we go out into our woods, we fast, we sacrifice ourselves and we thank all life.

When we do ceremony, we thank all living things. We thank, we start with the centre of the earth, the core of Mother Earth, where that fire is. Eventually, we thank all the levels going up, all the aquifers that give us the pure water, the life, all the insects and all the animals who live in the ground. We thank them for their life.

And at the surface, we thank all the living things that live from the surface up: the trees, the plants, the food, the medicines, the animals, the birds, all of life form that connects us all to life.

We don't separate ourselves from the insects. We don't separate ourselves from all the vegetation. We are part of them. When we look up, we thank our eldest grandfather, the sun. As Wabanaki, we call ourselves, we're part of the Wabanaki Confederacy. We are connected to that first light that comes up in the east. We do ceremony, thanking that light. That light gives this warmth to the earth. In science, this is the only part of science that I'll be speaking about, but the science of this whole process of getting life through sun, through water, through the vegetation, through food, through medicines, that's all part of science that keeps us alive, that keeps us going, that keeps us, as human beings, still walking upright.

So when we look up in the morning and give thanks, we thank that sun; we thank our grandmother, the moon; we thank father, the sky, and all our sisters and brothers, the stars. That's what we're thankful for. And that's who we are, Wabanaki.

This past summer, MP Romeo Saganash came to visit us in our territory. He brought forth a bill, Bill C-262. I hope you're all familiar with that bill that he put forward. This bill is asking all elected representatives to approve the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

May I remind you, when the opposition was in, it was the Liberal Party who put forward the same bill, the same exact bill. Now they're in power and now it's in question.

It's too difficult to work. It's too difficult to put into or through the Constitution as law. So is a human right too hard? Is our human right as human beings too hard?

I commend Romeo for putting this bill forward. I recommend that you, as the Senate, go back and pressure the present government to please sign that bill. Give us the human right, as human beings, that we can live, nation to nation.

May I remind you that I was present this spring, on May 10, 2016, at the fifteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City. I was sitting a little back from Minister Carolyn Bennett when she received a standing ovation. I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist; I'm a realist; so I didn't stand up because, to me, words mean nothing. Words mean nothing to me. Actions.

She read this marvellous, uplifting speech how Canada will support and honour, without qualifications. Qualifications means requirements, conditions, limitations, modifications, tampering. So this document that Canada approved was without qualification, but here we are today, still pushing for Canada to sign on and to respect the UNDRIP document.

May I share a few quotations that Minister Bennett put forward within her speech? "No one left behind.'' She kind of yelled that out after she talked about how they're going to pursue this.

The Prime Minister wrote to every minister and indicated in their mandate letters:

No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co- operation, and partnership.

As the Senate, I hope you know this, too. There are over 160 boiling water conditions in First Nation communities, even still today, a year after the Liberal Party got in. Still. There's one community, they've been boiling water for over 19 freaking years, and I'll watch my language. Nineteen years. Could you imagine? Could you imagine having to boil your water for 19 years?

I'm just going to read a few more of what Mrs. Bennett had said:

We intend nothing less than to adopt and implement the Declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution. . . .

By adopting and implementing the Declaration, we are excited that we are breathing life into Section 35 and recognizing it now as a full box of rights for Indigenous peoples in Canada. Canada believes that our constitutional obligations serve to fulfil all of the principles of the declaration, including "free, prior and informed consent.''

What Patrick Lacroix is here for is to promote the pipeline.

According to this document and according to this section of the UNDRIP, we need to have free, prior and informed consent before anything moves forward. This is not with our colonized brothers and sisters who own consultation or consultant firms through our lands, because we know who they are. We have the Phil Fontaines; we have the Roger Augustines; we have the Dave Pauls. We know who they are, and that's who government will talk to, is them, because it's in it for them. They will make the money, not our people, not the ones under boiling water conditions, not the poverty within our communities.

We have the highest rate of suicides, of addictions, of adoptions leading our communities, of abuses, the highest rate in all of Canada, and we still have an act that controls us, controls our people. You call our communities First Nations. They're not First Nations — they're communities; they're reserves. The people belong to a nation. They are not First Nations. And those communities are managed by the government; they're controlled.

What does this mean for Canada now? It means nothing less than a full engagement and how to move forward with adoption and implementation done in full partnership with First Nations, the Métis Nations and Inuit peoples. It will also include Canada's provinces and territories, whose cooperation and support is essential in this work. . . .

Canada has already begun making real the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Our government believes that a nation-to-nation and Inuit-to-Crown relationship with Indigenous peoples means partnership on the world stage. . . .

Let's be honest, implementing UNDRIP should not be scary. . . .

This is according to Minister Bennett; it should not be scary.

Friends, this is an exciting time. This conversation has begun. From coast to coast to coast, Canadians are embarking on a journey of reconciliation. The calls to action of our Truth and Reconciliation Commission have helped shed light on a dark chapter of Canada's history of colonization and residential schools, and on the impact of its sad legacy.

We believe the calls to action have also informed the path forward. What is needed is fundamental change. = It's about righting historical wrongs. It's about shedding our colonial past. It's about writing the next chapter together as partners. I firmly believe that once you know the truth, you cannot unknow the truth. . . .

That's what she said.

We now know the truth. We know the reality of our shared reality with Indigenous people in Canada. We now need all Canadians to embark on the journey of reconciliation.

Chief Ray Jones told us of a phrase, "The canoe must be uprighted.'' With our commitment to full adoption and implementation of the declaration today, we are continuing the vital work of reconciliation and working to upright that canoe.

And may I share a quote from Charmaine White Face? Her question from one of her books was:

Will the Human Rights of Indigenous People ever be upheld? Yes, but not by words or paper. When a system such as the one that dominates the globe today is allowed to run rampant over human beings, over natural resources, and over virtually every piece of matter on the Earth, and that system is destined to fall and eventually will fall. The time left for this current system, which includes the North America, is very very short. Cause and effect is the Natural Law that will prevail.

I'm going to stop reading now. I'm going to share with you this wampum belt. I'm not sure if you're familiar with this belt but this came from our brothers and sisters, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, better known as the Iroquois Confederacy. When they were being invaded in their territory, they approached the colonial government and created this wampum belt and they included all of us.

This two-row wampum belt signifies two rows, of which one is of the colonizer and the other is the indigenous peoples. We are in our canoe and the colonizers are in their boat, and by the creation of this wampum belt, they said, "We will never cross paths. We will respect your lifestyle as long as you respect our lifestyle. Don't cross into our canoe path and we will not cross into your ship path.'' But as we know, throughout the past, this canoe had crossed paths with the ship. Here we are today, still battling, trying to stay in our canoes. As one of my brothers said, "You cannot put one foot in a canoe and try to put the other foot on top of the ship. It's impossible.''

We struggle today in keeping the identity of our peoples because, as I mentioned before, of the high cases of abuses that occur within our communities, and by pushing forward and agreeing to this proposed pipeline will only create more destruction within our homeland, within our peoples. Jobs are not going to cure our people. This pipeline is not going to solve our people's woes. We need access to our own lands again, our non-ceded lands that we've never surrendered.

We have to be secure within our food. We have to grow our own food again. We have to protect our waters. We have to guarantee a future for our children. As we always said, the next seven generations. The next seven generations, we always think ahead.

As you see in your package, there was a document entitled "1721,'' when the Wabanaki leaders sent a letter to the Massachusetts Governor Shute, signing it with their signatures. If you go down and you see all the signatories, they put the symbol of their totems of the clans there. They're asking to stop moving into their lands, stop invading their territories. We never gave up our lands. We want to live in peace. That was the reasoning here.

Still today, we don't live in peace. May I remind you of what's going on at Standing Rock. You have thousands of indigenous people there, trying to preserve their sacred lands and their waters. This could be your next Standing Rock. Is this the legacy that the Senate and this government and these corporations want to live with?

These people are protecting their land, their sacred lands. They bulldozed over their sacred sites, their burial sites. This will occur here. All these things will occur here.

This pipeline is proposed over, I believe, 200 and some waterways just in New Brunswick. You may have the safest regulations out there, but anything man-made will fail. Anything. That's why our laws that we follow are natural laws, natural laws from the great mysteries, our connection to spirit, to the identity of our people. That's what we follow.

You are, right now, sitting on our sacred land. This is not Saint John. This ain't New Brunswick.

[Editor's Note: The witness spoke in his native language.]

This is our sacred lands.

I urge you, Senate, please don't make this just a formality, that you'll listen. You have a token native leader come and spill his guts out. I'm not here begging you; I'm here discussing with you. This ain't consultation; this is discussion. I want to make sure of that. This ain't a form of consultation. This nation-to-nation building should start here, this nation-to-nation building, in discussion, not consultation.

I have included in the package the water treaty from our nation. I'm not going to read it. I'll let you take your time and read that. Also, our Grand Council developed this water treaty. In fact, this water treaty was read here at Red Head with the members, because the members from Red Head are on our sacred lands, and we said, "We will help you protect the water.'' Also, we have a Wolastoq Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. We developed a document a year ago that was represented in a press release. You can read that on your own. But we are very serious about this. We look at the land and Mother Earth as a living being. We look at everything that's on her and around her as living.

I want to thank you for your time. You will also see the place names that are listed. There are 62, and there's more, 62 place names of rivers, tributaries and sacred lands in our people, and you can see that they all mean something. These words are verbs. They're alive.

Also, below that, from the place names, you'll see the Wabanaki wampum, our wampum belt that was designed that represents the four first Wabanaki nations and the important terms relating to our nation: the Great Peace Treaty, kinship, confederacy, customs and so on.

This is our watershed, this is our territory, and that's where the proposed pipeline is supposed to be going, all through our territory except for maybe a small part that crosses the Mi'kmaq.

So who will be the people who will have to face destruction when there are spills — not if — when the woods are all cut because of the pipeline? The animals will lose their home, the fish, the amphibians who will suffer. This is where we were born. We can't move. We can't move nowhere. This is our bloodline. That's why, in that flag, the bottom is red. This is our ancestors' blood.

All the rest of you, you can move, because your original home is not here. We are from here.

[Editor's Note: The witness spoke in his native language.]

I want to thank you for taking time. I know this is a little unconventional presentation. I think it was very important for you to know who we are, as the Wolastoq Grand Council. Thank you.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you, Chief Tremblay.

We'll now go to questions from the senators. Senator Mockler?

Senator Mockler: That's a powerful presentation. I have a few questions for you, chief.

Have you been consulted on the route of the pipeline?

Mr. Tremblay: No. I was at a TransCanada open house here in Saint John two years ago. In fact, Patrick was there. I talked to Patrick and I talked to some people, I think it was a guy from Calgary who was one of the reps, and he said he would get back to me and we would be in conversation, but that never occurred. I've given them my personal emails and contacts; nothing back from them.

Who they're dealing with is the Indian Act chiefs. Not to discredit who they are, but their only responsibility is in their communities. As Grand Council, we represent all our lands, all the unceded territory that we see here.

Alma Brooks, Maliseet Grand Council: Can I say something first?

Senator Mockler: Can I say, "Yes, grandmother''?

Ms. Brooks: Yes, you can. Thank you.

The Indian Act applies only on the reserves, and within that Indian Act it's the council, it's the majority of the council that are the decision-makers. Therefore, the INAC chiefs are basically chairpersons. In fact, I think they vote. Within their own respective reserves they're basically tiebreakers.

Our right under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is that we have the right to choose who speaks for us. We have never been given that opportunity. I can tell you now that the majority of our people have not been consulted.

In fact, the consultation process, we were not involved even in the decision of what that is. I don't know who made the decision about the process for consultation. I don't know where that came from. It was just sort of dropped. As far as I know, the government is supposed to consult with its own citizens, its own members.

Our right is free, prior and informed consent until such time that there might be a settlement of the land or when unfinished business is taken care of, our treaties, our pre-Confederation treaties. There's much left undone. You can't sit down with somebody from out West or somebody who belongs to a different nation of people and then apply it to us here. We have the right to be involved in the decisions, any decisions that are made that are going to impact on our future and our children and so on. That would be the fair thing to do.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People took 25 years to come up with that. Even in that process, a lot of our rights have been watered down already. The United Nations Declaration ended up with something; it's better than nothing. Now, Canada wants to come up with a Canadian version of what that's going to mean or interpret it without our participation and without our knowledge and without our consent. It's not fair.

That is the reason why it is imperative to us, and we ask you senators to go back and get after the Liberal government to support Bill C-262, the United Nations Declaration, so that we can begin discussions and negotiations.

As far as the pipeline, you see the route there, right through our territory. That really concerns me because our territory is a watershed. Most of our territory is a complete watershed. I was talking to a gentleman from Nebraska who fought the XL pipeline, and he told us that in the first year there were 21 leaks. Brand new pipeline, 21 leaks. So it's not if, it's when there's a leak.

With bitumen, I understand that it's very dangerous because it's so laced with chemicals. It's so laced with chemicals and very toxic that if it touches water, it evaporates into a very toxic gas. They can't clean it because it sinks to the bottom and sticks to everything. So you can just imagine. What he told us was that it's the small leaks that are the most dangerous, not the big blowouts, but the small leaks, because it will leak for months and they might not even know.

We educated ourselves a lot about the pipeline. We're very, very concerned. The health and well-being of my people doesn't depend on jobs, jobs, jobs at any cost. Sure, everybody wants jobs, but not at any cost. Our health and welfare depend on the health and welfare of the environment within our territory.

Senator Mockler: Thank you. I have a few other questions.

I have to go back. I've just asked for our researchers from the Parliament of Canada. They say it's the best in the G20 countries.

I just asked, Chief Tremblay, our researcher to look at Bill C-262. So the process of Bill C-262, it's a private member's bill.

Ms. Brooks: Yes, it is.

Senator Mockler: By the fact that it is a private member's bill and democracy, I don't want to make an argument, but the fact of the Westminster democratic system is we can have a private member's bill in the House of Commons. We have not received it yet, because you asked, and, chair, I'd like to relay to the chief and grandmother that this is not yet in our chamber. But it is, upon the instruction of the government agenda in the House of Commons, to see where and when this Bill C-262 will be and when it will come in to be debated and sent to committee. But I want to open this with a question, Mr. Chair.

You have an ally.

Senators, we have an ally in the Senate presently and his name is Senator Murray Sinclair. Senator Murray Sinclair is a new Canadian senator, a former judge, First Nations lawyer, who was the chair of the residential schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As a matter of fact, he was the first Aboriginal judge appointed in Manitoba.

Do you intend to bring this to the attention of Senator Sinclair in such a way that Senator Sinclair can talk to proper government leaders to redirect the agenda insofar that they could reconsider Bill C-262 and that will then come to the Senate? I just wanted to clarify a bit, what is the process of the legislative agenda and our democratic system. I don't want to go with the comments you've made because I know you have a lot of challenges when we look at the social side of our First Nations. I'll have the opportunity, believe you me, if the Chair gives me permission, within the next 15 minutes to ask that question to Mr. Patrick Lacroix, why he did not come back to you, or if he has, if there is a representative of the company that works with First Nations, because it's important that you be consulted.

That's my comment. Do you intend to bring this to the attention of Senator Sinclair?

Mr. Tremblay: Yes, we do. Thank you for reminding me that he holds such a great position now. I met him once and he was such a dynamic speaker. Yes, I have met him.

I've been to the United Nations this last three years to watch what's going on worldwide to all indigenous people. All these resource developments across the world are forcing their way through indigenous lands, murdering indigenous men, young boys, for the sake of research development. A lot of companies come from Canada. That's a sad, sad thing to swallow, how Canada marvels at its human rights, but what they're doing back of the scene. I was born at night but my mother said, "You weren't born last night.''

Senator Mockler: Thank you.


Senator Boisvenu: Welcome, Ms. Brooks. Thank you very much for being here.

Listen, I have a few questions. The first question is that I am trying to understand your position on the project. Is it a blanket no, or a conditional no?


Mr. Tremblay: Where we sit in this position, we know that there's no 100 per cent guarantee, that there will be malfunctions through this pipeline. I remember as a little boy standing next to the river with my grandfather. I was maybe seven or eight years old. He looked down at the river and he said, "Across there, I used to pick medicine. I used to pick this, I used to pick that,'' he told me all in our language. He said, "And then those damn dams came.'' He said, "Now I cannot pick no medicine because of those dams.'' That's when I became an environmentalist, at the age of six, because of my grandfather.


Senator Boisvenu: But, Grand Chief, you know that the James Bay Cree are very happy that dams were built.


Mr. Tremblay: Well, it's just them. But, for us, we have six dams up and down our rivers. Now we have no salmon, and salmon was our lifeline. But there's no guarantee that these pipelines won't leak. Our land and our water have been damaged enough, and it has to be stopped.


Senator Boisvenu: If you look at railway use, it gives you even fewer guarantees about safety because all the scientists are telling us that the pipeline is safe to about 99.9 per cent, which is not the case with the railway. In addition, if you take the view that transporting crude oil by rail is going to almost double in the next 10 years, we basically have to choose our problem: the pipeline, with a risk factor of about 0.01 per cent, or the railway. We saw the major accident that happened in Lac-Mégantic. So, is your contrary position strictly a matter of safety, in terms of wildlife and spills, or are other factors involved?

Let me remind you that, in 2014, I had the opportunity to visit some northern communities where, as you know, there is a lot of mining development, a lot of natural resource development. In a number of those communities, the companies are stakeholders in the economic development, which has fostered a form of wealth, an inflow of money, which has allowed some communities to improve their social standing, in terms of education, health care and living conditions. In that light, if your community were more involved in the economic development, could the pipeline not be an opportunity for your community, a way to improve the life of the members of your community socially, educationally, and so on?


Ms. Brooks: We prefer that you would move in the direction of alternative energy, something that sustains life, not destroys it.

I work with some of the women up in the North that you're referring to, up in the northern communities, and they tell me that they're supporting mining up there now because after they did away with the seal hunt they have no economy. They don't have anything else. They're quite desperate, so they're saying to China now, yes, okay, you can bring mining in here.

But here in our territory, and we only speak for our own territory, we would prefer that the country go in another direction for climate change. Climate change is here. It's not "if it's going to be here,'' it's here now. We have to look at the future. What's going to be here for our children, your children, your grandchildren? What are we going to leave for them, a mess?

With this pipeline in our territory, you might create 100 jobs, but if there's a spill in the Bay of Fundy, you're going to destroy 500 jobs, where people are down there fishing lobster and scallops and stuff like that. The oil is not going to stop at the county line. If there's a spill upriver, it's going to flow down. It could contaminate the entire Saint John River watershed. It all depends on where those leaks happen. Like I said before, it's not if, it's when.

We would prefer that you move the economy; there's a world movement, there's a worldwide movement happening. Why are we stuck in this? You talked earlier about the wealth of the province. The wealth of this province was hauled out of here down to the Bahamas. For four generations, the wealth has been taken out of here and taken from resources that didn't belong to them, without our consent.


Senator Boisvenu: Do we agree with the statement that there is a global consensus to develop alternative energy, such as in the automotive sector?


Ms. Brooks: Yes.


Senator Boisvenu: I feel that there is a global consensus. But we know that, realistically, it will not happen in a decade. The conversion will take two or three decades. Could there not be specific joint ventures that could be done with those using fossil fuels — by which I mean oil companies — so that they could invest in new forms of energy using the revenues they have, thereby increasing the pace of the transformation process?


Ms. Brooks: They already have the technology to move into alternative energy. They already have the technology to do that.

It's just that there are some that are clinging on and they don't want to move. Sure, there's going to be a transitional period, yes, but it shouldn't be that long.


Senator Boisvenu: At the moment, so-called green energy, such as wind, solar and thermal energy, represents less than 1 per cent of Canada's energy needs. Less than 1 per cent. To get to 100 per cent, do we agree that we are talking about several decades?


Ms. Brooks: At the present, you mean?

Senator Boisvenu: Yes.

Ms. Brooks: It won't take centuries, no.


Senator Boisvenu: If we want to speed up the process...


Ms. Brooks: We don't have centuries.


Senator Boisvenu: No, I am talking about decades, not centuries. I am talking about 10 to 20 years. I am not talking about centuries, Ms. Brooks.


Ms. Brooks: I don't think we have that long.

Mr. Tremblay: A few years back in the early 1990s, I had the honour of sitting in front of an elder. His name was William Commanda; he was from Maniwaki. He was the last living person who read the old wampum belts, and these are wampum belts. He had one that was 25 feet long, a wampum belt, and it was a foot wide. That was our prophecy belt, he called it.

This prophecy belt, it took him around two and a half hours to read through the belt, and he came to this section where there was a crossroad. He told me, "Young man,'' I was young back in 1991; now I'm not so young, "Young man, you will see this in your lifetime.'' He said, "There's a black snake,'' and these were his words in 1991, "a black snake coming from west to east. You have to cut the head of the black snake off where it's starting.''

This was 1991; we weren't talking about Energy East pipeline in 1991. And he said, "If that snake comes through, our life as we know it is going to be finished. All life forms in our territories will be finished.'' I didn't know what he meant until a few years ago when I heard this pipeline proposal. It was shocking to me that — he was probably 79 years old around at the time, he passed away three, four years ago, but he said, "You must stop that snake. Cut it off at the source. If not, life is done. Life is done as we know it.'' Maybe not in my lifetime, but I want to make you stop and think and put all this, jobs and economy and all this infrastructure, aside. What are we going to leave for our next seven generations? That's how we think, and we urge you to adopt that philosophy.

What are you going to leave for your grandchildren? What kind of lifestyle? What kind of lifestyle are your grandchildren going to have to live? Are they going to blame us or are they going to praise us?

I go to bed at night and I do my ceremonies, praying for all of you guys to have a conscious about our life, about your grandchildren. I pray for your grandchildren.

Senator Boisvenu: Thank you, chief.

The Deputy Chair: We're almost at the end of our time. I have one question, chief, before we finish.

You were talking about consultation and having the opportunity to speak. Have you proposed to make a presentation to the National Energy Board?

Mr. Tremblay: Yes.

The Deputy Chair: That's the more appropriate place to make that presentation.

Mr. Tremblay: Yes.

Ms. Brooks: We have.

Mr. Tremblay: Yes, we have.

The Deputy Chair: So you will be making a presentation?

Mr. Tremblay: Yes, we have.

The Deputy Chair: All right. The presentation you gave today, with all respect, you have to understand, we're not the Aboriginal Committee or the Environment Committee, which I'm on. This is the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, so we really don't have the mandate to look at this, but we will pass it on to the Aboriginal Committee and to other committees that it may be more appropriate for.

Mr. Tremblay: The unfortunate thing about living in this province is that the provincial government doesn't recognize us here because they know our stand and our views on protecting our territory. I'm sure that they've been informing people like Patrick not to have contact with us, because we've attempted meetings with the premier, with different members of the Liberal Party here, and they refuse to meet with us.

I want to thank you guys for giving us this time and this opportunity to speak.

Ms. Brooks: Yes, thank you very much.

Mr. Tremblay: I will keep you guys in my thoughts, in my ceremonies, and for your grandchildren.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you both for your presentations.

I'd like to welcome our final witnesses in Saint John for the day. I welcome from TransCanada, Patrick Lacroix, Manager, Stakeholder Relations New Brunswick, Energy East, and Christian Matossian, Manager, Indigenous Relations, Energy East.

Gentlemen, please begin your presentation and afterwards the senators will have questions.

Patrick Lacroix, Manager, Stakeholder Relations New Brunswick, Energy East, TransCanada: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Good afternoon, everyone.

On behalf of Energy East I'd like to thank the Senate of Canada and the members of the standing committee for hosting this meeting here in Saint John and taking the time to visit New Brunswick.

I'd like to thank all the witnesses who are here today as well as those who presented previously for taking the time to participate in this process.


Today, I want to introduce you to the Energy East project: I want to tell you about TransCanada, the promoter of the project, and to emphasize the importance we have given to planning for emergencies, and to our relationships with indigenous communities and with others involved. I will conclude by highlighting some of the benefits that the project can provide to this region and to Canada.


With more than 64 years of experience, TransCanada is a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure. TransCanada operates a network of natural gas pipeline that extends to more than 90,000 kilometres across North America. That includes our recent acquisition of Columbia Pipeline.

TransCanada currently owns or has interest in over 10,000 megawatts of power generation in Canada and the United States. Over one third of that comes from emission-less sources like solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. TransCanada is also the developer and operator of one of North America's leading liquids pipeline systems, which extends over 4,300 kilometres, connecting growing continental oil supplies to market and refineries.

Beyond all the numbers, TransCanada is a values-driven organization. Our values guide how we work, how we treat one another, and how we've operated at TransCanada every single day for more than 65 years. Our values are integrity, responsibility, collaboration and innovation, but we summarize it simply as doing what's right.

Let me talk to you a little bit about Energy East. The highlight of our proposed project to transport crude oil from Western Canada to the Atlantic coast, Energy East is a $15.7 billion, 100 per cent privately financed project that will span a total of 4,500 kilometres from Alberta to Saint John, New Brunswick. A unique feature of this pipeline is that 3,000 kilometres of it, from the Alberta-Saskatchewan border to Eastern Ontario, is an existing natural gas pipeline that will be repurposed and thus significantly reduce its environmental impact. In Western Canada, crude oil will enter the pipeline in two places: in Hardisty, Alberta and Moosomin in eastern Saskatchewan.

Moving to the east, Energy East will deliver crude oil to two refineries in Quebec, one in Montreal and one near Quebec City, and the Irving Oil Refinery here in Saint John, which you had a chance to visit yesterday, as I understand.

The marine terminal in Saint John, a joint venture with Irving Oil, will allow for a portion of the crude transported on Energy East to be exported to international markets.

The pipeline will transport all types of crude oil produced in Western Canada, both light and heavy, produced from conventional reservoir and from the oil sands.


So, why have we proposed the Energy East project? One of the reasons is that, apart from rail, there are currently no other ways to move crude oil from Western Canada to the Atlantic.


Further to that, the National Energy Board's recent report called Canada's Energy Future 2016 describes a constrained oil pipeline capacity scenario where by 2040 the requirement for rail transportation will be about 1.2 million barrels per day. Energy East is the safest, most environmentally responsible way to get Western Canadian crude oil to Eastern Canadian and export markets. This is supported by a 2015 Fraser Institute study that concludes the pipelines are four and a half times safer than rail to carry crude over long distances. Pipeline transportation also produces less greenhouse gas than other methods.

In 2015 the refineries in Quebec and Atlantic Canada imported an average of 566,000 barrels of oil a day from countries such as the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. At last year's average oil price, this is $35 million per day leaving the Canadian economy that could be staying home.

I'll ask my colleague Christian to discuss our stakeholder and Aboriginal engagement strategies.

Christian Matossian, Manager, Indigenous Relations, Energy East, TransCanada: Thank you, Patrick. Thank you, senators, for having us.

What we've done and will continue to do since the embryonic stages of the project is to engage with indigenous and non-indigenous communities across the project, particularly those potentially affected by the project. We do that with the goal of sharing information, obviously with the objective of ensuring that all parties have the ability to make informed decisions. We do that to identify issues, concerns, potential effects and to understand them and to address them.

On an Aboriginal engagement side, we've been engaging with 167 communities and indigenous organizations across seven provinces, including Nova Scotia. We have here in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with 21 communities and organizations. We have committed to provide resources and support to those communities to enable them to engage with us effectively and to identify the potential effects on their traditional rights.

We do that through engagement frameworks or engagement agreements that really tell us and set an agreed stage for how we're to conduct that engagement. We have 68 of those in place across the project. We have also traditional knowledge studies that we're supporting that enable communities to assess how the project affects traditional land and resource use. We have 74 of those ongoing across the project.

With non-indigenous communities and municipalities, we are engaging with 45 municipalities in New Brunswick and close to 500 meetings with those communities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with 291 landowners in New Brunswick alone along the proposed route. There's a suite of engagement tools that are listed in our application but some of the key ones are what have been mentioned earlier as open houses. We've had over a hundred open houses across the project, 19 of those here in New Brunswick, including safety days, which is a focus on pipeline safety and emergency response, where we've welcomed alone in New Brunswick over about 3,000 participants.

I think those are good for highlights for the moment. I'll pass it back to Patrick.

Mr. Lacroix: Thank you, Christian.

Energy East will design safety in every aspect of the project. That said, we need to be prepared to respond to an emergency anywhere along the entire pipeline project, and we need to plan for the worst-case scenario, however unlikely.

Energy East will be fully accountable for all aspects and responsible for all of the costs of emergency preparedness and response, including all remediation and restoration activities and all associated damages.

Energy East is committed to complete its emergency response plan in close collaboration with all local first responders and other emergency services groups in alignment with the regulatory review process, ensuring plans are in place for all aspects of the project well before in-service dates.

Continuous improvement is achieved by practising our skill. In 2015 alone TransCanada invested over a billion dollars in preventative maintenance and conducted a total of 125 emergency response exercises.

So a little bit on the economic benefit. In order to get a sense of the overall economic benefit we could expect to come from the Energy East project, TransCanada turns to the Conference Board of Canada. Let me just highlight some of the benefits for New Brunswick alone.

During the development period it will be over 3,500 jobs, direct and indirect, with a peak construction job level of over 10,000 workers. There are 261 jobs annually during the first 20 years of operation, direct and indirect.

In tax revenue alone for the provincial and federal governments from assets and activities in New Brunswick, there will be $853 million of additional tax revenue, and have an overall impact on the GDP in New Brunswick of $6.5 billion.


To conclude, I would like to reiterate our conviction that Energy East is the safest and most environmentally respectful way to transport crude oil from west to east. We are committed to providing this product safely, responsibly and reliably, and our goal is to have zero incidents.


Energy East will provide Eastern Canadian refineries the opportunity to displace the foreign source crude they currently import to meet their needs. This will have a significant impact in improving overall safety and economic benefit to the country. As Christian mentioned, we've engaged extensively for over three years along the pipeline route since the project was announced and we will continue to actively and openly engage our communities and indigenous groups.

There have been over 700 pipeline route changes that have been made based on the engagement and the feedback and the issues and concerns identified from the initial application in 2013.

We're committed to take the input that we receive and listen in a true two-way engagement. We submit that moving forward with the Energy East project is in the best interest of the country.

I'd like to thank you all for your attention.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you for your presentations.

I will start with questions. Senator Mercer.

Senator Mercer: Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. I'll move to the questions quickly.

You said $15.7 billion. Has funding been secured for this?

Mr. Lacroix: The pipeline project in 2013 had an open season that determines the commercial interest in the project, and it's fully commercially backed, yes.

Senator Mercer: So you could start tomorrow and the money could flow?

Mr. Lacroix: Yes, the financing is secure.

Senator Mercer: I want to change subjects entirely. Senator MacDonald and I are both from Nova Scotia. A simple question: Why stop here in Saint John? It's important to be close to the Irving refinery here, I appreciate that, but you've also heard some opposition here today in testimony to using the Bay of Fundy. Why not continue to the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia where we have the large terminals now where we're importing oil, where we're on the Atlantic Ocean with an ice-free harbour and a little closer to the markets so you don't have to worry about the right whales that are sensitive here in the Bay of Fundy? Why not go to the Strait of Canso? It's puts you closer to the market, whichever or wherever the market might be.

Mr. Lacroix: Thanks for the question. It's a very good question.

There has been a lot of interest in Nova Scotia for that extension. You might remember that in 2013 the project was not coming to New Brunswick, and it's when there's a commercial interest to bring the pipeline to Saint John that TransCanada Energy East added a line to Saint John and an export terminal.

There's no plan at this point to reach to Nova Scotia, but there have been communities that have expressed support, resolution of support, and there is a lot of interest from Nova Scotia businesses and New Brunswick businesses as well.

Senator Mercer: There is a pipeline from Nova Scotia that comes up through New Brunswick for natural gas, so we already have a line that's doing that. I don't know enough about the mechanics of it, but I suspect that the pipeline is not compatible to do what you want to do. But you've already got the line; you've already got the route.

Mr. Lacroix: I think you mean the Maritime Northeast from Sable Island. That's a gas line.

Senator Mercer: Yes, and I appreciate that, but you have the route. It seems to me that all of the approvals that went into putting in the gas there, it would seem to be a little easier to get —

An Hon. Senator: TransCanada is a mixed line as well.

Mr. Lacroix: Absolutely, 90,000 kilometres of gas pipeline. Like I say, it would have to be backed by the desire of shippers to transport oil to Nova Scotia.

Senator Mercer: We're not talking about transporting it to Nova Scotia for refining it, we're talking about getting to tidewater, and tidewater that is not as environmentally sensitive as the Bay of Fundy. We're talking about going to the Atlantic Ocean and we're talking about getting there quickly in ice-free conditions. I don't understand why you haven't considered that more seriously.

Mr. Lacroix: You do a very good job of presenting the case, but I guess at this point the application is in front of the NEB.

Senator Mercer: Okay. You talked about since the embryonic stage of the project. When did this embryonic stage start?

Mr. Lacroix: I think the first time the idea was floated for a pipeline going west to east was in 2012. I believe Energy East filed a project description in 2013. I'd have to double-check the exact date that a project description was filed with the NEB, but our formal application was tabled in October 2014.

Senator Mercer: Did the company not think at some point in time in looking at the world market and looking at how you get your product to market that maybe you should have been thinking about this before 2012?

Mr. Lacroix: It's a good question. I can't answer to the genesis of the project, but the big advantage for the project is the underutilized gas line that leaves Alberta to the eastern Ontario border. That was predicated by the development of gas projects in the U.S., so marcellus shale and all that. That's a fairly recent development. The project is economically feasible thanks to that conversion of an existing gas line.

Senator Mercer: You talked about conversion of a gas line. I also talked about the conversion of an existing gas line because, according to our information, the Sable Island field will run out of gas relatively soon, certainly by the time you're ready to start pumping bitumen from Alberta and Saskatchewan. It seems to me that it could be vital.

I'm going to change topics for a moment and go to safety. This is a big pipeline; it's long. People are concerned about leaks. How frequent along the line would there be alarms?

Mr. Lacroix: How frequent? I'd just be guessing, but I can talk about the methods of detection.

Senator Mercer: When I say alarms, something that somewhere in the system a light would go off saying we've got a problem over here in field number whatever. You don't know how often that would be?

Mr. Lacroix: I would just be speculating.

Senator Mercer: It would seem to me, with today's technology, and all of the global positioning systems that are around, that somewhere in the system a light would go off that in a field in northern New Brunswick a leak has been detected and it goes off immediately. It would seem to me that the technology should be there that someone says, "We've got a problem in northern New Brunswick.'' Bang, we shut the system down right there.

Mr. Lacroix: We do have a control centre in Calgary and there's a redundant control centre in case that centre is rendered ineffective or it can't be used, and that monitors our entire network of pipeline 24/7.

Senator Mercer: How quickly can they shut down? I'm sitting there. I'm the technician sitting there. There's a big panel, and a red light comes on that says we've got a problem here. How quickly can I shut it down?

Mr. Lacroix: The basic principle is that anybody in that control room has the ability to shut it down. Nobody needs to find a senior person or the president of the company. They have the authority to close it. If they immediately detect a significant failure, they will shut it down immediately.

Senator Mercer: What does "immediately'' mean?

Mr. Lacroix: Well, immediately is, depending on where the potential incident would be, then they would start closing valves. You can't just close the hose like you'd have a hose in your backyard. Those valves need to close in a sequential manner and would isolate that incident. Immediately, a local person would be dispatched to investigate that incident.

Senator Mercer: I appreciate what you've said, but I would advise you to get a better story. I would advise you to get a better description of what happens and then advise it to be a little more immediate, because that's what people are going to want to know.

Mr. Lacroix: You talk about the potential risk of an incident, but like I said during the presentation, TransCanada spends over a billion dollars a year doing preventative maintenance. We fly over the line every two weeks. We put smart PIGs, pipeline inspection gauges, at regular intervals and they can be inserted at multiple places on the project.

Senator Mercer: Are you using drones then?

Mr. Lacroix: I don't know about drones. I think it's manned aircraft. But the smart PIG is a multi-sensored tool that travels with the oil in the pipeline and it can detect any thin like hairline potential defect in the pipe. So those are two things. But there's a balancing monitoring so the volume between various valves and pump stations is all monitored. There are multiple sensors that are all on — it's a bit like a control tower, this control centre in Calgary, that if any of those things trigger a questioning from the operator, they immediately have to investigate it.

Mr. Matossian: I pull this from presentations from our leak detection specialists who have come into the field to make these presentations. Based on the operations from our Keystone oil pipeline, they shut it down all the time. You know, shut down first, ask questions later. If there are anomalies in the system, they have a 10-minute rule. You can shut it down right away; you don't need to wait 10 minutes. But after 10 minutes, if you haven't ruled out that this is categorically some sort of anomaly that has a reason, it gets shut down.

I don't have the exact statistics, but talking anywhere between to 50 to 100 times a year the pipeline gets shut down. The time for the stop of a flow can range between 10 and 13 minutes, I believe.

Senator Mercer: That's a better explanation.

My final comment, chair, is to steal a phrase from the Prime Minister. This is 2016 and you're not talking about using drones?

Mr. Lacroix: Do you mean drones to monitor the route?

Senator Mercer: Yes. It seems to me that in today's world you've got kids in the neighbourhood flying drones. You have baseball pitchers cutting their fingers because they're playing with drones. It seems to me that you've got technology. You need to do some work on reassuring Canadians that you've got your act together here, and modernize it.

I would have thought that at each major welding spot in the line that there would be some alarm right there telling me if there's a problem. You've told me an alarm will go off in Calgary and there's a 10-minute rule. I like a 10-minute rule. I'd like to have a five-minute rule, but I appreciate the problem. You're talking about inspecting by airlines but not using other, and by the way cheaper, technology of drones. I didn't start out to try to save you money but that may indeed do that. If you don't know how to operate it yourself, hire a 16-year-old. He'll get it done for you.

Mr. Matossian: Just one response for you there. I again have the benefit of knowing from colleagues who have come on the road with us that the leak detection system that we have in place uses proven technologies. That's because we know they're dependable.

That being said, the company is looking at all kinds of new technologies that are out there as part of continuous improvement. I don't know for sure whether drones are among those. They're probably being investigated along with a suite of other range of technologies that are in-line inspection tools, aerial inspection tools.

Senator Mercer: I would have thought you would have known that.

Mr. Matossian: I'm not the R&D guy; I'm the Aboriginal relations guy.

Senator Mercer: But everybody in the company is in the sales business. You're trying to sell this to Canadians.

Mr. Matossian: At the moment, the most reliable and dependable mode of aerial inspection for us is by aviation.

Senator Mercer: Thank you.

The Deputy Chair: Senator Mockler?

Senator Mockler: I said the earliest opportunity I would have I would ask a question of Mr. Lacroix, and this was when Grand Chief Tremblay was present and made his presentation. Before I ask the question, I know for a fact and I've been witness as a parliamentarian that Patrick Lacroix returns his calls, Patrick Lacroix likes to talk to people and Patrick Lacroix is a great organizer. I don't always agree with him, but that's fine.

Why did you not return the call to the Grand Chief and, if so, are you satisfied, and Mr. Matossian, that the First Nations are well-consulted?

Mr. Lacroix: I'll just start off by saying what Grand Chief Tremblay said, that we had met at an open house, is factual, but I'll ask Christian to explain our response to Mr. Tremblay, because we did get back to Mr. Tremblay.

Mr. Matossian: I think it's important to define a few things. Our Aboriginal engagement approach is to engage directly with rights-bearing communities and to rely on the elected leaders of those communities to provide us with guidance on how that engagement process is going to achieve the objectives or satisfy the principles of being inclusive, of being proactive and of being ultimately very informative and to gather the input as well.

We have, as I mentioned, engaged with 167 communities and organizations across the pipeline, and we rely on them to tell us what that engagement looks like. It looks different. There is a diversity of perspectives on what that looks like across the country. Between the conversion aspects, between the new-build aspects, between urban aspects, between peri-urban and rural aspects, it's very, very different. But the key is that engagement has to be respectful and culturally appropriate, and we need guidance on how that is to look.

We have had some information exchange with the Wolastoq Grand Council, and I have evidenced in my own engagement the participation of elders, of traditional leaders in those engagement processes through a variety of means, participation in meetings, community information sessions, participation in even leadership meetings where there may not even be an elected chief or councillor, in the Indian Act sense, but are there as respected elders and leaders of the community. We, as I mentioned, are supporting traditional knowledge studies, or traditional land and resource use studies, which the communities are defining how they will conduct those on their own. Those engage with elders, with land users, with harvesters, and pull not only information as to where those resources are and how they're using the lands and how they're exercising their constitutionally-protected rights, but have also pulled issues and concerns with the project. Those studies are ongoing, a lot of them.

In New Brunswick, we hope to get the Maliseet First Nation study soon. I know it's ongoing and I know it's very comprehensive. The Mi'kmaqs of New Brunswick are also in a process of conducting their studies, and we're in discussions with the Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative in Nova Scotia following their Mi'kmaq ecological knowledge study protocol. We're again respecting the way that they want these activities to be conducted, so we're discussing with them how to get information with respect to the land and resource use and marine use within the Bay of Fundy for Nova Scotia First Nations.

Senator Mockler: Thank you. I know it's not always possible when there's a new process and I'm satisfied with what I've heard. But I think it's important and incumbent to follow up with what Senator Mercer did mention about the timing of talking to people and preparing the documents in order to go forward and come to a final decision.

I'm a firm believer, and you tell me if I'm wrong on this, that decisions must be made on science-based data.

As an Atlantic Canadian, I will support any project that will better the economic future of our people going forward. But I'd just like to state my position, as a senator of New Brunswick, that we must be very careful that we don't try to look at other areas in Atlantic Canada if it's not part of our order of reference.


When we talk about Saint John, New Brunswick, or even Canso, it is important to let the business community make these decisions because I would not want to give the impression that we are recommending other locations. We have enough difficulty in implementing a mechanism to be heard, so if people start hearing that there are other regions and the door is open to other regions, there is the risk of being told one day that the Energy East project will not be considered.


I want to say to Energy East that I hope that you will let the business community decide, but be mindful that if there are other opportunities and you move on other opportunities, as long as scientific-based data will permit it in order to secure our people.


Mr. Lacroix: Thank you for the question. No, absolutely. As was said earlier, there was an open period to enable people to provide an expression of interest.


Because it's take or pay, people needed to take space on the pipeline in order for us to move ahead with the project so it's fully commercially backed and the project as it is defined today.

When you talk about the business community, there is a lot of interest across the country, there is a lot of interest in Atlantic Canada to become a supplier to Energy East. Energy East in New Brunswick, in the past three years, has already invested over $42 million in businesses, not only businesses here but in doing geological survey, doing engagement, doing translation. We already have invested a significant amount of dollars in the province here.

We're careful not to do too much too early, but over 300 companies in New Brunswick alone have registered to do work on Energy East, and that's on top of companies in Quebec. There's a lot of interest for the project going forward. I won't repeat the economic benefits, I think they are well known, but it was a question that was asked of another intervener earlier today, but we've also set up a workforce development initiative with all the unions, community colleges, private colleges in New Brunswick, because in Western Canada and Central Canada there is a history of building pipeline, either gas or oil pipeline, but in New Brunswick, apart from Maritimes & Northeast and Brunswick Pipeline, there isn't a stable, permanent employment infrastructure. We have engaged with all the unions that could potentially work on the project and they're engaged, they're interested, and we're going to pursue that as we go through the various regulatory steps.

Senator Mockler: Thank you.


Senator Boisvenu: Good afternoon. I have several questions.

The first, did you read the poll that was published in the media yesterday on the support of Canadians for the pipeline and on natural resources development?

Mr. Lacroix: I am not sure of that one in particular, but there have been several in the last six months. I know that there was one published this morning by Abacus, I think, but I will hear what you have to say.

Senator Boisvenu: No, I wanted to know whether you had read it, and if so, what your reaction was.

Mr. Matossian: Which one was it? Abacus?

Senator Boisvenu: I was sure that you had heard about it.

Mr. Lacroix: I think that there was a poll even today in New Brunswick that indicated a 70 per cent support rate in favour of the project, that polled all New Brunswickers. Now, we have directed our efforts mainly toward the communities that are potentially affected by the project, so it is encouraging to see that there is a lot of support in New Brunswick. Not everyone supports the project, and as my colleague explained, our work for three years has been to identify worries and concerns in the field of landowners, communities, mayors and first responders, and to respond to them. As I said, we have made over 700 changes to the route since the 2014 proposal, and the figures fluctuate across the country, as well as how the question is asked but, since then, there were polls in February and March indicating that a majority of Canadians were in favour of the project.

Senator Boisvenu: I will sort of guide you to the problem of Quebec, because I think that is where resistance will be high. Quebec is certainly still traumatized by the incident in Lac-Mégantic. There is great confusion between the development and transportation of the raw material itself. There are not many Quebec politicians who have come out publicly in support of your project. I would even say that, ultimately, the signals that Quebec politicians are giving is that they are not very much in favour of the development because there was a step backward in terms of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a step backward regarding shale gas, and a step backward after the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. Quebec revisits development a lot. So the signals that Quebec is giving to people against the pipeline mean that much more visibility is given to those who oppose it than those who support it.

When we were in Montreal a few days ago, some representatives criticized your approach to Quebec fairly harshly. I think of the senator, my neighbour, who is sort of comparing you to a dancer who arrives quite late and who, five minutes before the end of the evening, asks the prettiest girl to dance, thinking that there is no one else. People are sort of comparing your approach to that, to Quebec, in the sense that few explanations have been given on the public aspect. There has not been much agreement, not to misrepresent, I don't think, but to focus your work on the disinformation that occurred. There has been a lot of disinformation by certain environmental groups, and much use is essentially being made of the pipeline project to support objectives connected more to development issues.

Quebec is still at the centre of this project because, for instance, they have refused the storage in the Lower St. Lawrence. The decision was made to turn to New Brunswick. So what will your strategy be to ensure that the obstacles that might be encountered in Quebec are ironed out?

Mr. Lacroix: First of all, we have a new vice president in Quebec, Louis Bergeron. He was responsible for the construction of Saint-Laurent pipeline, and therefore acquired experience in leading a gas or oil pipeline project, in meeting with communities and in doing the necessary work on the ground. We still have a lot of work to do in Quebec, a lot of work and a full agenda, but the company is committed to doing it and to working closely with stakeholders and communities. It is the communities that are potentially affected by TransCanada's objective. I know that, for a good year and a half, there were many meetings with the municipalities, and we are continuing to do the background work. It is not finished, and we will continue to do it. We have held two weeks of hearings here, in New Brunswick, that went well, and stakeholders had the opportunity to ask questions publicly. Really, the National Energy Board process aims to provide a forum for these big questions and, unfortunately, it ended in August. However, there is a commitment to do the background work in Quebec to change the tone somewhat.

Senator Boisvenu: That is a comment I made. I have a feeling that if we do not remove the existing confusion between development and transportation, I do not see how the challenge can be met. Your job is to transport oil, not to develop it.

Mr. Lacroix: Yes.

Senator Boisvenu: I do not think that developers in Western Canada will come to Quebec to explain the process, and we are not seeing much political government leadership in Quebec on this. The federal government is also quite shy. So we do not really know who will get the ball rolling to demystify the complex and erroneous elements of this project.

Mr. Lacroix: That is a very valid question. I would not say that there is a clear and specific answer to your question. There are many stakeholders, as you say, the oil sands developers, but there are examples of projects that went forward, like Enbridge's line 9 in Montreal, and the Saint-Laurent pipeline. So for us, we are committed to identifying the issues and concerns, and to working face-to-face with municipal elected officials and with citizens. We are confident that the National Energy Board process will make it possible to hear the concerns and advantages related to our project, through the scientific evidence, engineering analyses and environmental impact studies we have done.

Senator Boisvenu: I have one last question, but you do not have to answer it. Do you have a specific strategy in terms of Mr. Coderre?

Mr. Lacroix: It is the same strategy we have for all the communities where the project is proposed, be it Saint John, Edmundston or even the smaller communities. We want to be present; we want to have an open relationship, a two- way commitment and communication. That is how we want to work across the country.

Senator Boisvenu: Well, good luck.


The Deputy Chair: Before we go to the second round, I have a few questions I'd like to run by both of you.

The first is in regard to the use of the pipeline for moving the petroleum east. You talked about delivery coming from two sources, one in Hardisty and one in Saskatchewan, and delivering the petroleum to refineries in Quebec and one here in New Brunswick. Is there any opportunity to provide petroleum to the refineries in Ontario, or are they too far off the beaten track?

Mr. Lacroix: I'm not aware. Our project, as it stands, has connectivity to those three refineries.

The Deputy Chair: In that regard, and I'm sure you're aware, the different viscosity of different liquids going through these pipelines with the use of PIGs, they can drive all different types of petroleum through the pipeline. I was under the impression, when this Energy East was first announced, that we were talking about sending bitumen to these refineries, which would require, I think, these refineries to be upgraded at a substantial cost. Are we looking at providing upgraded, like syncrude, upgraded petroleum to these refineries?

Mr. Lacroix: The oil will travel in the pipeline in batches, so 300,000 barrels, 20,000 barrels, 30,000 barrels, 50,000 barrels, all types of crude produced in Western Canada and north in the U.S., and those batches of crudes include conventional oil and diluted bitumen.

The Deputy Chair: But will the bitumen be going to be used in these refineries or will it just be exported?

Mr. Lacroix: Just because I've done a lot of engagement in partnership with Irving Oil, I've heard their response to that question, that they do have the capacity to refine the types of crude carried by Energy East, including diluted bitumen.

The Deputy Chair: Do you know if any contracts have been signed at this moment and what volumes they would have been signed for by these refineries with TransCanada for the delivery of this product?

Mr. Lacroix: I would have hoped they would have answered that question when you met with them yesterday, but Irving Oil has divulged the volume in a BAPE hearing in Quebec, I believe. I'm not sure if I should be the one, but they have made public the volume of the contract that they've signed with TransCanada to take space on the pipe.

The Deputy Chair: Have they signed a contract to that effect, do you know?

Mr. Lacroix: With Irving Oil?

The Deputy Chair: Yes.

Mr. Lacroix: Yes, they are a contracted shipper, yes.

The Deputy Chair: Yes, all right.

The second round, Senator Mercer?

Senator Mercer: I want to go back to my questions about Nova Scotia. Sorry, I didn't do the linkage in my first round.

You've mentioned Nova Scotia at least five times this afternoon. You've mentioned consulting Aboriginal people in Nova Scotia; you've talked about communities in Nova Scotia. You're talking to all these Nova Scotians, but you have no interest in going to the Strait of Canso. I don't get it. Why do you talk to people who you're not interested in doing business with, that you have no interest in putting a pipeline over their land? You're talking to the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia. You're talking to these people.

Mr. Lacroix: I like your persistence, but the issue is, as was mentioned earlier, that the Bay of Fundy is shared.

Senator Mercer: I told people earlier that the Bay of Fundy is partially ours. Don't you forget it, Senator Mockler.

Mr. Lacroix: Our desire, as much for indigenous communities as for non-indigenous communities, communities like Digby, Nova Scotia, fishermen's groups, tourism associations, so we've done engagement on both sides of the bay for individuals, elected officials and owner-operators to be aware of the project. That's why we've done the engagement in Nova Scotia.

Senator Mercer: Go ahead.

Mr. Lacroix: No, I'll stop there.

Senator Mercer: I'm from north end Halifax and it takes a lot to snowball me, but I think that may have been it.

Thank you, chair.

The Deputy Chair: I will finish up with Senator Mockler.

Senator Mockler: I'd like to remind my friend from Nova Scotia that when Maritimes & Northeast passed through New Brunswick to go to the U.S. market, northern New Brunswick tried heavily to have a base load to justify such an extension, and the business community was not there to link to it. But I'm glad that they're negotiating in the business sense of this equation. It would be based on the communities that are ready, and that is necessarily good to what they're doing.

I have a final question. I asked a question about carbon reduction when we were in Alberta, but I don't want to talk about carbon reduction. You've said, and you're right, that CO2 emissions are less by using pipelines; that's factual. Pipelines are still the most secure in the world when we bring in oil. But on May 17 of this year, Natural Resources Canada announced the names of three individuals who would be looking at what they call the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, what they call the project ministerial panel, which has been tasked with engaging communities and local indigenous groups and reviewing public feedbacks submitted online.

With the experience that you have across Canada and across our provinces, would such a panel, if it is struck by the federal government, be duplicating the work undertaken by the National Energy Board, not to say Natural Resources Canada?

Mr. Lacroix: It's a good question and I don't know enough about the panel and the reference to the project that you mentioned to venture a response to that. We'd have to look at its role and I'd rather not speculate on the validity of it.

Senator Mockler: No, I think that's very fair.

My little comment, chair, is, thank you very much for bringing the committee here to New Brunswick and I applaud that, and merci beaucoup.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you, Senator Mockler. It's our pleasure to be here. I'd like to thank the witnesses for their presentations.

We have three other people who want to make a presentation: Gordon Dalzell, Paula Tippett and David Thompson. We're out of time for today. We are going to set them up for a video conference during our next meeting in Ottawa in a week or so. We appreciate their interest and we will make sure that they are accommodated.

Honourable senators, we have completed our hearings for today. I would like to thank our witnesses for their participation, for their input into the study. It was a productive day here in New Brunswick. We will take back all the information we received here for the production of our recommendations to the Government of Canada in the very near future.

(The committee adjourned.)

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