Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
Issue No. 57 - Evidence - March 21, 2019
March 21, 2019
Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, to which was
referred Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the
Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to
make consequential amendments to other Acts, met this day at 8:02 a.m. to
give consideration to the bill; and, in camera, for the consideration of a draft
agenda (future business).
Galvez (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Good morning and welcome to this meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.
My name is Rosa
Galvez, a senator from Quebec and chair of this committee.
I would like to
ask the senators who are around the table to introduce themselves, starting with
the deputy chair, to my right.
MacDonald: Michael MacDonald, Nova Scotia.
McCallum: Mary Jane McCallum, Treaty 10, Manitoba region.
Mitchell: Grant Mitchell, Alberta, Treaty 6 territory.
Pratte: Good morning. André Pratte from Quebec.
Massicotte: Paul J. Massicotte from Quebec.
Senator Woo: Yuen Pau Woo, British Columbia.
Simons: Paula Simons, Alberta, Treaty 6 territory.
LaBoucane-Benson: Patti LaBoucane-Benson, Alberta, Treaty 6 territory.
Seidman: Judith Seidman, Montreal, Quebec.
Senator Smith: Larry Smith, Quebec.
The Chair: I want to take the opportunity to introduce the clerk of the committee,
Mr. Maxime Fortin, and to my right Mr. Jesse Good, Analyst, Library of
from B.C. just arrived. Good morning, senator.
we are continuing our study of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact
Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation
Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Today we
welcome, from the Railway Association of Canada, Mr. Marc Brazeau,
President and Chief Executive Officer; Rachel Heft, Legal Counsel, CN; and, from
the Canadian Ferry Association, Mr. Serge A. Buy, Chief Executive
Thank you very
much for joining us. I will invite each of you to give your opening statements.
After that, we will proceed with some questions and answers. Who is going to
President and Chief Executive Officer, Railway Association of Canada: It is
my pleasure to be here today on behalf our 50-plus freight and passenger railway
members. I am also pleased to be joined by Rachel Heft, legal counsel with
industry is concerned with several aspects of Bill C-69. Prior to providing
you with our comments, however, I would like to take a minute to frame the
context that railways operate within on a daily basis.
railway network consists of more than 42,000 route kilometres. That’s a third
larger than the national highway transportation system in Canada. Each year our
members move approximately $300 billion worth of goods and more than
50 per cent of our country’s goods destined for export while 80
million passenger trips allow Canadians to leave their cars at home and use
trains as a safe and emission-friendly mode of transportation.
sector is well positioned to support the government’s commitment to fight
climate change and reduce emissions. Moreover, both the Pan-Canadian Framework
on Clean Growth and Climate Change and the Transportation 2030 program insist on
the need to transport merchandise and passengers by rail in order to reduce
emissions in Canada. Rail transport is four times more efficient than road
transport. A single freight train removes approximately 300 trucks from the
country’s congested roads and highways. A resilient rail network is a
prerequisite to economic growth and trade diversification. The government is
continuing to work on new trade agreements and new export opportunities, and
that is why the transport supply chain in Canada must have the capacity to meet
the growing and evolving demands of the Canadian economy. We feel it is crucial
that the bill establish a balance between environmental protection objectives
and the railways’ obligation to be at the service of the Canadian economy.
Let me explain.
Canada’s railways are designated federal undertakings which are obliged to grow
their networks in concert with the needs of the Canadian economy. This mandate
is referenced in Canada’s national transportation policy and the railway
sector’s common carrier obligations that are enshrined in the Canada
Railways have a
legislative responsibility to make a reasonable effort to accept all traffic
offered to them and are obliged to provide facilities such as rail yards and
track to accommodate that traffic. This, as you can imagine, means that railways
must be able to swiftly make additions to their network to meet shippers’ and
the economy’s needs. Our industry is also required to undertake work, often
under urgent circumstances, to ensure the efficiency and safety of our rail
network across the country.
As a means to
providing their shippers with an efficient, low-cost and safe service, railways
annually invest substantive amounts of their revenues to operate, maintain and
ultimately grow their networks. In fact, last year alone, our members invested
more than $5 billion to allow businesses to access markets and capitalize on
Our industry is
concerned that Bill C-69 does not take into account the railway industry’s
obligations to respond to shippers’ demands by expanding swiftly, operating
efficiently and, most importantly, safely.
components to the competitiveness of the Canadian economy, railway projects need
to be subject to an improved and more efficient review process.
We are proposing
a specific set of amendments to this bill. The package we have provided each of
you today asks to you strengthen the Canadian Navigable Waters Act by clarifying
the type of work subject to ministerial approval and to differentiate the
permitting and approval requirements for work conducted on existing
infrastructure. The key word is “existing.”
We propose that
you amend the bill to create a streamlined process for work to be completed on
existing infrastructure and to extend emergency approvals to apply in response
to social disruption or a breakdown in the flow of essential goods, services or
believe these amendments are necessary to be consistent with the Canada
Transportation Act and to ensure that railways can continue to invest and
maintain their networks so they remain safe and responsive to the needs of the
We also believe
the impact assessment act can be strengthened by reducing the timelines to
complete an impact assessment by the agency to 14 months and by a review panel
to 23 months; ensuring that the significance tests remain central to determining
adverse effects; and, finally, addressing the potential veto powers that the
minister would hold over a decision statement without due process or
consultation with a proponent.
I invite you once
again to acquaint yourselves with the amendments in your information package,
and I also want to take this opportunity to underscore the fact that our
recommendation on reducing the time spent on assessments is in keeping with the
government’s intention to establish a more effective approval process in Canada.
The Railway Association of Canada believes that all of Canada will benefit from
an environmental assessment process that is credible, inspires trust and will
assist in timely, informed decision-making.
We feel it is
important to create good conditions to stimulate investment and growth, and not
impose constraints on the dynamic rail sector. We look forward to your
questions. Thank you.
Serge A. Buy,
Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Ferry Association: Thank you, senators,
for allowing the Canadian Ferry Association to present on Bill C-69. The
Canadian Ferry Association represents ferry owners, operators and industry
suppliers. Ferries in Canada transport over 55 million people, 21 million
vehicles and billions of dollars of goods. Ferries enable people to go to
school, work or attend medical appointments. They help deliver goods to remote
regions. They are often the only linkage to remote communities.
include eight provincial governments, two Crown corporations, municipal
governments small and large, including Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver,
Indigenous organizations and private corporations.
are often forgotten in policies and legislation. If the late John Candy was
still with us today, we would send him a letter to complain: the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles did not include ferries and it made it
easy for some to ignore a Canadian reality. Ferries are a crucial part of our
This leads me to
raise our concerns about Bill C-69. Some of our members operate cable
ferries. Usually, those cable ferries operate across rivers and lakes, although
one is now in coastal waters in British Columbia. Bill C-69 will impact
Just to give you
a better sense, those operations are located in Saskatchewan, in northern
regions, serving Indigenous communities in some regions or just crossing large
rivers; in Manitoba it is the same thing, as well as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
British Columbia and other places.
We have two main
concerns. The first relates to major work orders. We were surprised to learn
that cable ferries would be included in the list of projects that could be
subject to a new major work order. Other examples included in the list are dams
There is a major
difference, senators, between a cable ferry and a dam. The inclusion of cable
ferries in the list does not reflect the realities of the sector. It will make
cable ferry operation costlier and more burdensome.
differ in terms of the length of the cable, the waterways served, the
communities where they’re located, et cetera. They share one
characteristic: They have a minimum impact on land, water and navigation.
where the cable is underwater, it only rises from the bottom when the ferry is
in operation, which basically has the same impact on navigation as any other
vessel that would cross. When the cable is overhead, there is even less
have been in use in Canada for over 200 years and have a long history of safe
operation. The sector is already heavily regulated in the Canadian Shipping Act
and other legislation, and while we welcome scrutiny, we are also concerned
about adding burden to operations. Additional oversight mechanisms will not
reveal anything other than the measures already in place.
legislation and supporting documents indicate, there could be the same review
imposed every time a cable is replaced, which, on occasion, would take place
every six weeks. Are we going to go through the process every six weeks of a
review? The replacement process is short, has virtually no impact on the
surrounding area and is done safely.
I see that
Minister Pedersen from the Government of Manitoba is speaking after this panel.
I am convinced that he would be concerned to hear that for Bill C-69, a new
additional government review of the process of laying cables could be asked
every time a cable for ferries is changed, which can happen up to three times
per season in that province, which is one of our members. This would impose more
costs on Manitoba taxpayers and provide no more safety to anyone.
additional review imposed by the federal government delay important maintenance
work? Possibly. Would it create risks? Possibly. Has there been an impact
assessment of the requirements of this legislation? Not as far as we know. On
March 1 we received department’s briefing. There are answers we should have
before approving this legislation as it stands.
concern is around ministerial discretion. The discretionary powers given to the
minister under Bill C-69 are somewhat sweeping. We understand the need for
scrutiny for some projects but increasing the discretionary powers for the
minister creates uncertainty.
clarity needs to be provided and ministerial discretionary powers limited.
I referred to a movie from the 1980s. Our discussion with public servants on
Bill C-69 evokes a song from the 1980s: Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Well,
we’re not unhappy but we’re seriously concerned. The fact that they keep telling
us that everything will be addressed in the regulations is nice, but we haven’t
seen the details of those and we are concerned.
discussions we were told that regulations following the adoption of
Bill C-69 would provide that clarity. I have been working in and around
Parliament Hill for 26 years. I worked in the Senate before, although in another
location. You will understand that some have concerns when they hear, “trust us,
everything will be fine.” I suggest you should have the same concern about this
This is why we
ask the committee requests that the major work orders accurately reflect the
realities of the marine sector, exempt cable ferries from it and that the
committee clarify, define and limit ministerial discretionary powers in the
MacDonald: Thank you, witnesses for being here.
We have heard
concerns from industry about section 17 of the proposed impact assessment
act, which allows the minister to arbitrarily stop any project from moving
forward if they are of the opinion it is clear that the designated project would
cause unacceptable environmental effects within federal jurisdiction.
Is it clear to
either one of you, or any of you at the table, how unacceptable effects will be
interpreted? If the minister cancelled one of your projects using
section 17, would you have the ability to appeal that decision?
Mr. Buy: We are clearly concerned. This is what I referred to in my presentation in
giving the minister so much power without limiting it. We are concerned about
what it could mean and how it would be applied. We’re not clear about whether
there would be an appeal process. I assume we can go to court. The impact on the
communities that are served would be fairly drastic.
We are concerned.
We would rather have clarity before the legislation is passed.
Mr. Brazeau: From our point of view, certainty and
predictability are very important in any business. The concern is not so much
with the minister’s veto power in general. Specifically, we’re concerned by the
fact the proposed IAA would give the minister an effective veto over a
designated project without due process to be followed.
The proposed IAA,
we believe, needs to be amended and modified. We want to make sure that we have
an ability to have engagement as a proponent prior to that veto being
We want to stress
that, again, predictability and certainty are critical going forward with
respect to this amendment.
MacDonald: I have to make the point that I’m very familiar with two of the
cable ferries in Cape Breton at Little Narrows and the Englishtown ferry. They
are very unobtrusive. I don’t know why those are ferries would be a big issue
I have another
question for the Railway Association. The Railway Association has indicated to
us that Bill C-69 includes no time limits for information gathering or
scoping. The government ignored this phase when they talked about reduced
timelines under Bill C-69.
In terms of the
railway, what is your experience with scoping phases, how long do they usually
take and is there anything in Bill C-69 to prevent more than one federal
agency from scoping the same project?
Legal Counsel, CN, Railway Association of Canada: We are concerned about
timelines with respect to information requests, which generally come after the
notice of commencement.
experienced in the past that information requests can be cyclical and, of
course, once an information request is made, the time or the clock, if you will,
stops while the proponent is responding to or preparing a study.
experienced in the past up to 10 information requests with respect to one
project over a period of two years. That has meant that the clock has stopped
for two years.
I would simply
point out that subsequent information requests are not always built on previous
information requests. We don’t feel that the bill necessarily addresses the
discipline required to make the information requests early in the process or in
a manner that they’re all upfront in order to not create additional delays.
wouldn’t want to suggest that either the agency or the panel shouldn’t have the
required evidence. The agency and the panel, by all means, should have the
evidence necessary. It’s more a question of the process in terms of limiting or
encouraging the agency and panel to get as much information as early on in the
process as possible as to not create delays.
MacDonald: Thank you.
LaBoucane-Benson: Good morning. My question is with regard to railways. In
our discussion yesterday, we talked about the ability for railways to respond to
emergencies. You reminded me, and I’m grateful, that Alberta uses railways more
than any province in the entire country.
I would like you
to explain a bit more — because I thought a lot about our conversation
yesterday — about how this bill will impact the railway’s ability to
respond to emergencies in a timely way, and what kinds of amendments would you
like to see to make sure that can you do that work?
Mr. Brazeau: As I mentioned in my remarks, there’s 42,000
kilometres of track across Canada. We’re talking about thousands of bridges as
well. I think it’s 21,000 bridges that we cross over.
When you think
about the maintenance required on that network on an ongoing basis, it is
significant. I mentioned at the outset we invested last year $5 billion in
infrastructure, which includes, obviously, rail and bridges. That’s important
for us as an industry going forward, that this bill allows us to continue to do
regular maintenance work without being impeded by delays as a result of
assessments that need to be conducted.
I’ll use a bridge
again as an example. The proposed changes to the Canadian Navigable Waters Act,
if there’s anything going in the water, whether it be scaffolding, whether it be
a barge, that would possibly prevent us from moving forward in a timely manner
to ensure the safety of that network.
Again, keep in
mind we have an obligation to meet shippers needs. We have shippers across the
country who depend on us every day to get their products to market. The example
used yesterday is grain. Grain farmers in Alberta rely on us to ensure their
grains get to the Port of Vancouver so that they can meet their export market
Right now we have
concerns with our ability to maintain the integrity of our network from a safety
point of view and continuing to meet customers and shippers needs if we’re not
able to do that work in a timely and efficient manner.
LaBoucane-Benson: From all the information that you sent earlier, this is
kind of new. The ability to respond to emergencies isn’t really in your
briefing. Could you get back to us with specific amendments or the specific idea
that you’re bringing forward to be able to respond to emergencies? Can you do
Ms. Heft: We certainly can do that, although I can speak to it now as well.
Navigable Waters Act includes an emergency provision under section 10, as
did the Navigation Protection Act. That emergency provision or the ability for
the minister to provide an emergency approval or dispense with approvals was
changed slightly. Our belief is that it has been mirrored on other acts. It
refers to the emergencies as being national security or a national emergency or
an emergency that poses a risk to public health or safety.
between this emergency provision and the one that was under the previous act is
simply that it doesn’t provide for an emergency which we would consider an
emergency, which is social disruption or the breakdown in the flow of essential
goods, services and resources.
That is exactly
what we would like to add to the emergency list, to allow the minister to
dispense with the approvals.
The Chair: I have a follow-up question on that point.
That part on
emergency shouldn’t be under the Minister of Transport, the transportation of
dangerous goods, instead of the proposed Environmental Impact Assessment Act.
You have given
subcontracts to many industries and carriers, and some are very good and
responsible and others are less. We know what happened at Lac-Mégantic, and we
know the story with MMA. Can you please elaborate on how you have corrected the
situation with the Ministry of Transport versus Bill C-69?
Ms. Heft: The Minister of Transport always retains his or her powers with respect to
railway safety under the Railway Safety Act. There are inspectors that could,
for example, order repairs on a bridge or indicate that there is a concern with
respect to a bridge or some infrastructure on our network. We are responsible
for infrastructure on our network regardless of which carrier is operating
provision I was referring to is under the Canada Navigable Waters Act is in fact
the Minister of Transport wearing two hats under both of those acts.
actually, to your point, where we receive an order, for example, from either the
Minister of Transport or one of his inspectors, we would want to be able to take
There could be
some conflict with respect to delays caused by the provisions of this bill,
delays in approvals that are needed for permits, when there is safety work to be
done on our infrastructure. There is a bit of a conflict that we would prefer to
Mitchell: Thanks to each of you for being here.
Association has a particular concern with clause 17(1). Your argument is
that the minister could cancel a project, I think you’re implying, arbitrarily
early on in the process.
I think you’re in
luck because I think you’re referring to the unamended original version of the
bill. The bill was amended in the House of Commons. It stands today before the
Senate in its amended form. It’s very clear that the minister will not be able
to cancel a project early on in that process. What this provision has been
clarified to further emphasize is that the minister will be able to give you an
early opinion that there may be a problem that you need to know, so you’re not
$900 million into a project review before you find out that there’s a
It’s a direct
response saying give us an idea early, but if the industry, the proponent wants
to continue because they think they can mitigate this issue later on, it’s
absolutely their discretion. The minister will not be able to cancel.
Could you give us
your sum assessment or an idea you will get back to us on, the addition to
clause 17(1) as amended in the House of Commons. I think your concern has
been mitigated. I can read it to you.
Ms. Heft: I just reviewed clause 17 of the act. I agree with you the minister
gives a notice that an opinion has been formed in advance that there are
unacceptable effects. I agree that it’s no longer strictly a veto power that
instructs the agency not to proceed with a notice of commencement.
I would add that
it is of some concern that opinion would be formed prior to an impact
assessment, environmental studies or discussions with the proponent. That does
still cause some concern.
Mitchell: But it causes more concerns if you’re $900 million into a project
and all of sudden you get a surprise. Would that not be the case?
Ms. Heft: Absolutely.
Mitchell: The second issue is your concern about ministerial discretion to
designate a project that wasn’t to be designated under the project list process.
That’s an important offset to those who were very concerned about arbitrarily
having big projects just taken off the assessment process because they don’t
fall under a pre-prescribed project list set of parameters.
Have you looked
at the actual application of that power which has been in place since CEAA 2012
was passed in 2012? From which time there have been 37 requests, and remember it
has to be requested. Of those 37 requests, only 3 have been approved. Of those,
the first two were requested by the proponents, by a port and by — it
wasn’t a railroad. The third was requested by the Department of Parks because it
was hydroelectric on the Athabasca River. Have you had a chance to look at
exactly how that’s used and how infrequently it has been used? And yet wouldn’t
you consider, knowing this is a democracy of competing interests and
stakeholders and the need for a politician who is accountable to be able to say,
“Okay, proponent, you want me to do this. You want us to spend the money to do a
review because this is controversial and you would like to have the backup of
that process. Okay, we are going to spend some money on your behalf to give you
some comfort. Thank you.”
Ms. Heft: In our submission we have not taken issue with the minister’s power to
direct that the agency or a panel proceed with an impact assessment or an
environmental assessment of a project that’s not on the designated projects
list. That is not one of our issues.
Mitchell: Thank you.
Mr. Buy: Thank you, senator. We do have some concerns. You talked about the democracy
and about the responsibility from the politicians. There needs to be some
clarity, senator, before those things are done. There needs to be clarity in
line. We can’t be at the whim of a politician or pressure group who decides to
suddenly have a special interest on something. Industry doesn’t function this
way. The rest of the world doesn’t function this way. Ottawa does but other
people need clarity on their project when they are planning to spend millions if
not billions of dollars on specific projects. They need to ensure there is a
strong understanding of what the rules are going to be and how things are going
to proceed. To not know whether the minister one day decides, “Oh, I will put
this in a review or not,” is a bit of a concern when you are proceeding with
significant investment. We have concerns with that, senator.
Mitchell: You are aware it has to come as a request?
Simons: I really appreciate that you guys are all speaking about the
navigable waters section of Bill C-69. I sometimes feel like it’s the
poor cousin of this legislation, that people read the first two sections and run
out of energy before they get to the third part.
Many people have
spoken to us about their frustration that in the impact assessment part of the
bill there is no clarity around a project list. When we are getting to the major
works section and navigable waterways I don’t see, Mr. Buy, where you
are seeing cable ferries enumerated. I’m wondering: Did you receive a briefing
where you got the navigable waterways equivalent of a project list? Because one
of my great frustrations going through this is that it’s very difficult to know
what’s in and what’s out. I don’t see anywhere in the legislation in front of me
where cable ferries or minor repairs to rail lines would be considered major
works. What do you know that I don’t?
Mr. Buy: You are correct, senator. We did receive a list of projects. We were told by
the department that cable ferries would be included under major works.
Simons: When did you receive that list? And would you share it with me?
Mr. Buy: We received that statement on the cable ferries probably in November. It’s
been confirmed to us again in March. We can send you any correspondence we
receive from the department on this issue.
Simons: I would agree with you. Even by the act’s own definitions I don’t
see how cable ferries or — so Mr. Brazeau and Ms. Heft, have you
received similar briefings about what would or would not be considered a major
Mr. Brazeau: I think from our point of view there needs to
be better definition around that. One of the big concerns we have is the new
definition really broadens the scope of what is included as navigable water. I
think the bill presents potential for additional waters to be included that
weren’t included before. That’s something we are looking for greater clarity on
in terms of definition. From our understanding once you put something in the
water, could be scaffolding, could be a barge, it changes the scope of the
Simons: You have been speaking primarily about freight transport. I like to
imagine a future in which we get 21st century passenger rail. Whether that’s my
imaginary pet high-speed train or my imaginary pet hyperloops, do you foresee a
potential problem if we are trying to develop state of the art linear passenger
rail networks that the Impact Assessment Act could create a challenge to
building, say, a higher-speed rail line between Toronto and Montreal? We want
one from Edmonton to Calgary.
Mr. Brazeau: Perfect. Down Highway 2.
Simons: There is a right of way just waiting to be used.
Mr. Brazeau: There is lots of land there.
The Chair: Just for our information, the ferry system, how does it work? I know that it
can be privately owned. It can be co-owned with government. And the fleet that
is there, what is the lifetime for a ferry and where are we with the
replacement? We read one week ago about one of the ferries in Matane in the
north coast that was in an accident.
Mr. Buy: Your question is a little bit broad. I can certainly provide an answer. Our
ferries are owned by various parties. A lot of the ferries are owned by
government and government departments. As I mentioned at the outset, our
membership includes eight provincial governments that own and operate ferries,
two Crown corporations, one a federal Crown corporation called Marine Atlantic
and another one, a provincial Crown corporation called Owen Sound Transportation
Company in Ontario. B.C. Ferries is one of the best known. In B.C. it’s one of
our members. It’s a private corporation owned by one shareholder, the Province
of British Columbia. You may have heard this in the media from the B.C.
government a couple of times. In Quebec it’s an agency of the government that
runs the ferries.
You have First
Nations who run ferries. One of our board members is from Beausoleil First
Nation in Ontario. They operate a ferry. Other First Nations across the country
operate their own ferries. There are some private corporations. Some operate and
run their own ferries. You see some across the Ottawa River where some of them
actually operate under contract with the government and the government actually
owns the ferry. You see that in the eastern ferries that was referred to in the
senator, it depends. You have a ship that is over 100 years old in Toronto. We
still sometimes are amazed it keeps getting certified but it does, which is
good. It means that good repairs are done by the City, one of our members.
Others are state of the art and just came into service in the last couple of
months. It does vary. Cable ferries are usually a bit older. The cables
themselves are replaced — I alluded to that in my presentation — on a
The Chair: My point was exactly that, to show in the train and ferry there is a big
variety of quality and standards and maybe there is this advantage of
Bill C-69 that will come and homogenize a little bit because the
expectation is that it has to work and it has to be safe.
Mr. Buy: I would like to correct you, senator. You say there is a difference in
quality and standards. There is not. They all operate under the same rules or
the same legislation. There is a difference of ownership and difference of who
runs the ferries. I can honestly say the quality and standards and the safety
record of our fleet is second to none.
There was an
accident you referred to in Quebec. Nobody was hurt. Nobody had an issue there.
I would remind you, it’s a difficult condition in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
right now with a lot of ice that’s going through. There is no difference in
quality and standards. We all adhere to the same standards that are already set
by the government.
will not increase safety. Absolutely not.
Simons: Is it possible for Mr. Brazeau to finish his answer to my
Mr. Brazeau: With respect to passenger rail, Via Rail
recently put forward a proposal for high-frequency rail which would see more Via
trains within the Quebec City — Windsor corridor. Unfortunately, not
between Edmonton and Calgary right now, but they do have a plan in place where
they would have dedicated track which would run between Quebec City and Windsor.
Therefore any regulations and requirements through this legislation and this
bill would have some impact on their ability to do that.
There is some
existing track they would be able to use, certainly, between Smiths Falls and
Peterborough in Ontario. There is potential for new track to be built if this
plan goes forward. The Railway Association of Canada is supportive of that plan
to allow more passenger trains to carry more people from one destination to
another that will stimulate the economy and create jobs. Obviously it’s a very
green and safe form of transportation.
Senator Woo: I want to ask our colleagues, particularly in the Railway Association, to
tell us about the current process of project assessment, particularly the clock
stoppages. You alluded to the fact that every time a question has been asked,
the clock stops. Is that correct? This is the current process that is very
frustrating and can presumably lead to very long delays.
What is your
understanding of the way in which questions posed under Bill C-69 would
affect clock stoppages? Would they affect clock stoppages? And what is your
understanding of the way in which the clock can be stopped under Bill C-69
and how that differs from the current process?
Ms. Heft: You are correct in saying that when there are information requests or
requests for studies to be produced, the clock stops while the proponent is
having those studies undertaken. I believe the intent with the bill is for the
early planning phase to give the agency time to develop the tailored guidelines
and the notice of assessment. Those will include a list of some of the
information and studies that will be required.
After the notice
of commencement and tailored guidelines, a period of time is given to the
proponent and the clock stops while the proponent gathers that information and
produces those studies. There is a three-year time limit for the proponent. But
the clock is stopped in the meantime.
We appreciate the
government’s intent to have —
Senator Woo: I’m sorry. Once the commencement begins, then there is that 300-day period.
What do you mean the clock has stopped? The clock runs, doesn’t it?
Ms. Heft: Once the notice of commencement and the tailored guidelines establish what
studies are going to be required, the clock stops until those studies are
Senator Woo: The 300 days counts, still?
Ms. Heft: No.
Senator Woo: Okay.
Ms. Heft: The 300 days will start again once those studies and the information is
provided. Thereafter, should the panel or the agency require more studies or
information to be produced, they can make requests for those studies or
information. Again, each time a request is made, the clock stops until the
information and studies are produced.
Although I do
believe the government’s intent is for the early planning phase to address some
of those issues and require that information be requested early on in the
process, there is still the opportunity for additional information requests.
Senator Woo: Are you supportive of an early planning process?
Ms. Heft: Yes, and we undertake an early planning process.
Massicotte: Thank you for being with us today. I have a follow up to that
discussion and process. I understand the way it works is, currently, given a
lack of coordination among government departments. We have had people say to us
that anybody from any department can ask a question without the government
official knowing. Very often that causes delays. Often that comes late in the
process, maybe from a new employee or whatever. All of a sudden you are being
asked additional questions, for which you have to provide your time, and that
causes significant delays.
is that Bill C-69 basically consolidates that. There will be one person who
will coordinate and be the traffic cop for all questions coming to you and,
therefore, I hope they get better organized in one department’s authority to
represent all government departments, which would significantly reduce these
last-minute questions and delays. Do you agree with that? Do you see that as
being an improvement? Is that an issue being resolved by Bill C-69?
Ms. Heft: I believe the government’s intent is to try and streamline as much as
possible but it hasn’t been limited in the bill per se.
Massicotte: Mr. Brazeau and Mr. Buy, most of your concerns
rightfully deal with concerns but not necessarily with facts. You are scared
that the legislation or the rules could be interpreted to cause you these
difficulties. That’s how I read most of your comments.
Have you had a
discussion with government officials to say how did they respond to your issues?
Are they saying don’t worry or are they saying it’s a big issue? Are they saying
to wait until the regulations come out and I think the issue will be resolved?
What was their response?
Mr. Brazeau: We have been engaged with the federal
government on this since 2016 with the Environmental Assessment Review expert.
We have submitted to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable
Development. We have put forward our concerns. As a result of that we have not
seen any significant movement or change on the wording. That’s why we have some
concerns: we feel we have expressed our concerns and we have put forward some
recommendations. We have yet to see any concrete steps taken.
Massicotte: You are in direct contact with them?
Mr. Brazeau: We’ve been in direct contact.
Massicotte: When they do that and you ask why they are not responding to
your concerns, what do they say? “We don’t agree with you? You are
misunderstanding our issue?” What’s the bottom line?
Mr. Brazeau: We just have not seen any concrete actions as
Massicotte: Have they made verbal promises? Have they told you not to worry
Mr. Brazeau: I think what we have been hearing is it’s a
work in progress. There is consultation happening with various parties across
the country. They are getting input. We are expecting that process is unfolding
as they say it is but at the end of the day we feel this bill needs some
amendments in order for it to be workable for us.
Mr. Buy: The premise of your question is that we are dealing with concerns and not
facts. The fact is that we have received information from the department telling
us that cable ferries would be included on the list of major work orders. That’s
Massicotte: — repair of existing cables.
Mr. Buy: For repairs of existing cables, this is a fact. It is not a question or a
hypothetical issue. We are concerned due to the fact that we’ve been told this.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here today, senator.
Massicotte: Under the old legislation, it was not applicable. I noticed in
your presentation that you don’t include Quebec.
Mr. Buy: There are very few cable ferries in Quebec, senator.
We also represent
Quebec, without any problems. We did not receive the information to include it
in the documents. We did not have any issues.
Massicotte: Fine, thank you.
Neufeld: Thank you for being here. Most of my questions have been responded
to, but when did you find out that cable ferries would be included? Was it last
November? Was that when the legislation was tabled?
Mr. Buy: I know we received that information in November of last year. We were
in discussions with the department earlier last summer. We had an indication we
would be included, but in November we received that information.
Neufeld: That surprises me but it does lead me to believe that
Bill C-69 is so intrusive on so many things that are not answered that it
is a piece of legislation that is going to cause some real problems in Canada.
Do you think
something like Bill C-69, as far-reaching as it is, should have a set of
regulations with it so that folks like yourself could look at those regulations
instead of someone in government saying smile and be happy?
Don’t worry. I’ll
pat you on the back and I’ll take care of you later. What do you think —
both the Railway Association and yourself?
Mr. Buy: We have been increasingly concerned about the tendency to have sweeping
legislation presented and being told regulation will be coming and everything
will be fine. I refer you to another debate that took place not too long ago in
the Senate on the marijuana legislation. It was the same issue. We were told
don’t worry for positions. Don’t worry. Be happy. We will deal with this. The
fact is nothing has been done. We are concerned about what the regulation will
look like and we are concerned about the impact of this on the future.
And the Railway
Mr. Brazeau: The only thing I will add is we have been in
contact with the Department of Environment for some time. We have only just
started to engage with Transport Canada two weeks ago on regulation. Obviously,
Railways and Transport Canada work hand in hand in operations and regulations
affecting train operations. Specifically on this issue, however, we only started
discussions with them two weeks ago.
Neufeld: I would assume from that regulations are a while coming, if you
just started discussions. Or do they have a set of regulations that they
presented to you? We haven’t seen any regulations. We’ve been told the same
thing: smile and be happy. Have you seen a set of regulations?
Ms. Heft: We have not seen a set of regulations from either Environment or Transport.
However, Transport has put out a general policy. They have been consulting on
the policy that would underpin the regulations.
One element of
concern for us is bridges are caught as major works. As you can imagine, the New
Westminster bridge over the Fraser River is different from a small railway
bridge over a creek, for example. We are concerned that they are being
categorized as bridges. The Department of Environment has been in greater
consultation earlier on in the process with respect to regulations. We were a
little surprised they were consulting on the regulations even before the bill
was passed, but that’s a good sign of engagement. We don’t have policy decisions
from them in terms of the project list.
Neufeld: Thank you.
Seidman: Thank you very much for the presentations. I want to go back for a
little more specificity on the issues around the Navigable Waters Act that
Senator Simons was discussing with you. A few weeks ago we had the Canadian
Hydropower Association here with us. They said they see a fundamental risk to
existing facilities because of the issues and the broad aspects of this
legislation as you have discussed with us. They said that right now, the way the
act is worded, undertaking any renovation, or any alteration or simple
maintenance on an existing facility could trigger requirements for approval and
this would be completely unworkable and stall operations. They went on to say
that some of the definitions have to be narrowed. It’s not just the definition
of navigable waters. They said the process for adding waters to the schedule
have to be more rigorous, and the definition of “major works” has to be
I would like to
hear a bit from you about the issue and how we might approach the whole
definition aspect of this legislation.
Mr. Buy: We share the concerns expressed by the associations, senator. They talked
about their projects. For us it’s the replacement of cables. Cable ferries is an
example that could be affected. We would like to see a tightening of definitions
and potentially listing what would represent a major work order in the
legislation. Giving broad powers to define what a major work order is on a
regular basis creates some uncertainty and lacks transparency as well. We would
prefer to have that transparency in the legislation. Let’s have good policy
making and make sure we are transparent in what we are going to plan.
Mr. Brazeau: For example, there is a reference to the word
“alterations” which would require full recognition of the new legislation. For
us, how do you define alterations? As I mentioned, we do regular maintenance,
regular repairs. We do it from a safety point of view. We do it to ensure that
goods continue to flow to markets and continue to meet the demands of shippers.
That example alone causes us concern as to how do you define “alterations.” We
do regular maintenance all day, every day. Does that now qualify as an
alteration? There needs to be a better understanding of the definitions around
some of the terms.
Seidman: I know that you gave us a fairly detailed submission. I haven’t
seen a list of the problem definitions, for example, with regard to these issues
other than navigable waters, which has been referred to many times. Is there a
Mr. Brazeau: We could be more granular in defining that.
One of our takeaways could be making sure that we are more specific in terms of
some of the terms.
The Chair: You can send that to the clerk of the committee.
McCallum: Thank you for your presentations. I want to go back to the topic
of maintenance. Most of the work that you do with the ferry and the railway is
almost all maintenance of existing structures. When you look at existing
structures, there would be few new unintended consequences, or they would be
minimal or non-existent. Would you agree?
Mr. Brazeau: Maybe I’ll start. One of the things we are
doing on an ongoing basis is adding more track, for example, sidings, where one
train is coming in and one train is going in another direction so they can move
to the side and the train can continue. That’s an important part of the growth
of our network because we have growing demands for freight trains. We are adding
sidings and double tracks in some major volume areas. It’s not just maintenance.
It’s new build as well.
Coming back to
another question that was asked, VIA Rail has a plan in place for high-frequency
rail. That would require significant new infrastructure. This bill would affect
some of those major projects.
Mr. Buy: Similarly, it could be the replacement of cables, adding other cables, or
replacing a ferry that runs on fuel right now with a cable ferry. That would be
adding a new cable ferry. So maintenance and new.
McCallum: Okay. If you have new projects like that, you would have already
had to have done an impact assessment when you initially went to build. It’s not
like a new thing. The impact assessments wouldn’t change. They would remain the
same unless it’s hydro, and that’s a different situation because you are
building the ferry. Due to increasing water levels, the impact assessment would
be done by hydro. I’m thinking of Manitoba and, in particular, South Indian
Lake. I lived there for two years and that ferry is vital for people to get
their groceries. Otherwise, it’s a fly-in community.
Mr. Buy: I agree with you, senator. In this case we would have completed the impact
assessment. That process would not change.
Ms. Heft: With respect to railways — and this is with respect to any
industry — we won’t really know how our new projects are going to be
affected until we see the regulations.
important for the railway industry that projects that are within our existing
footprint, which are mostly currently excluded from CEAA, continue to be
excluded under the regulations. If we’re adding track on our existing footprint,
for example, a second track within our right-of-way, that is not currently
Again, that would
be vitally important for us to maintain. We won’t know until we see the
regulations. We don’t have a policy decision from the department on that
Carignan: I may be playing devil’s advocate, but regarding the minister’s
power, in clause 17, which would eliminate paragraph (b) and is a part
of the suggestions made by the Railway Association of Canada, I understand the
concern that the minister might abuse his power and make arbitrary choices.
However, laws and courts often provide an opportunity to reject a submission
that is considered frivolous, abusive or bound to fail. Given the millions of
dollars these assessments cost and the delays involved, do you not think it
advisable that the minister have the power to say, right from the outset, to not
undertake a given project, because the project will never be accepted, and you
would be wasting your time and money, and should change it? Do you not think it
appropriate that the minister be able to do an evaluation, for financial
purposes? This gives him the possibility of asking promoters to go back and do
Ms. Heft: I’d just like to say that Senator Mitchell pointed out that clause 17
had already been amended. The minister will say that his mind is made up and
that certain effects are not acceptable. I understand that that is only an
opinion and that the study could go on. The industry pays for all of the costs,
the costs are not the issue. We will always pay the costs if we choose to
continue the assessment. I think that is important, and I would add that forming
an opinion before the assessment is complete continues to concern us.
Carignan: It does?
Ms. Heft: Yes.
Carignan: I’d like to go back to the Quebec City — Windsor corridor.
Did you do a validation exercise for the Quebec City — Windsor project,
including improvements to the rail network? How much longer would the assessment
take? Did you compare the impact of the current law with the new one? What would
the impact be on the timeframe and costs of specific projects? I’m using Quebec
City — Windsor as an example, but it could be another major project.
Mr. Brazeau: We don’t have any specific figures. We did not
compare the current act to the proposed new one. VIA Rail may have that
information. I could check. VIA Rail has begun consultations. A commitment was
made and a plan has been tabled. However, I cannot tell you if a specific study
was done, or a comparison between the current law and the potential changes.
Carignan: Aside from the Quebec City — Windsor project, do you know of
any other projects for which an evaluation was done?
Mr. Brazeau: We did not do any specific evaluations but I
can give you an example. We have been doing consultations on a project for four
or five years. I can tell you that there is frustration on the part of our
members regarding that project. This bill could extend what we are experiencing
with this four or five-year delay.
Mockler: I congratulate you for having taken the time to come and meet with
us this morning and for bringing your concerns to our attention. You have allies
throughout Canada who are increasingly vocal. According to what we know, seven
premiers are very worried. I know that the Council of Atlantic Premiers is
concerned about the railways and also about the ferries. I’d like to hear your
opinion about the Atlantic, because as my colleague Senator MacDonald said so
well: “Ferries in Atlantic Canada are very, very important”.
With regard to
Bill C-69, I listened carefully to your reply to Senator LaBoucane-Benson’s
question about the amendments. I think it is important for you to bring the
amendments to our attention as quickly as possible so that we can apprise the
government of your concerns and make the appropriate changes to this bill. That
said, I am going to quote what the four Atlantic premiers said:
. . .
Bill C-69 as it is currently drafted is that the significant changes being
proposed to the scope and scale of federal, environmental assessments in Canada
will not meet the dual objectives of environmental protection and economic
I know that you
referred to this briefly. Do you have anything to add to the comments of the
four premiers on this topic?
Mr. Buy: Senator, I think that is entirely true. We don’t think this bill confers any
additional protection. Another process is being added and it will not provide
any more protection, but it will add more uncertainty. Your colleague, Senator
Carignan, asked whether we had done a comparative time and cost study. It is the
government that should have done impact assessments before introducing the bill,
not the associations and private companies. It was up to the government to do
that, and it was not done. This concerns us. If the government continues to tell
us not to worry and that everything is going to be fine, it should explain that
and prove it. However, the way in which all of this was done is worrisome.
Mr. Brazeau: I’d like to add that we are a national
network, stretching from the West Coast to the East Coast, and whether we are
talking about the concerns of premiers from the West or the East Coast, they are
all taken into consideration. We need to make sure that the bill takes the
concerns of governments and industries into account. We agree completely.
The Chair: Thank you for your presentations today on this very interesting and
Massicotte: Can I ask a question first? We talked a lot about regulation.
Two weeks ago the committee agreed to send a letter to the minister. What was
The Chair: Yes, we are waiting.
Massicotte: They haven’t responded yet?
The Chair: No. It’s in process. We haven’t forgotten, though.
For the second
portion of this meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the
Environment and Natural Resources, we are continuing our study of
We now welcome,
from the Government of Manitoba, the Honourable Blaine Pedersen, M.P.P.,
Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade.
you for joining us. I invite you to proceed with your opening statement. We will
proceed afterwards with questions and answers.
Pedersen, M.P.P., Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade, Government of
Manitoba: Thank you, Senator Galvez, and good morning committee member
My name, as was
mentioned, is Blaine Pedersen. I am the Manitoba Minister of Growth, Enterprise
and Trade. I thank you for the opportunity to present to your committee.
In its current
form, Bill C-69 will have critical implications for Manitoba, strategic
infrastructure investments including clean hydroelectricity, mining and flood
protection projects are at risk of being delayed, becoming more expensive to
realize or stopped all together.
Manitoba is very
much concerned that in its current form, Bill C-69 will increase regulatory
burdens, costs and timeline for project development without meaningfully
improving environmental outcomes.
growth action plan prioritizes working with key sectors to foster growth, skills
development, Indigenous and northern economic development and improving
As it is
currently written, Bill C-69 does not strike the appropriate balance
between environmental protection and economic growth. Therefore, it puts at risk
further prosperity for Manitoba communities and families that our plan is
positioned to support.
through The Environment Act, Manitoba has exercised its constitutional authority
to assess environmental impacts and issue development permits. This process
adheres to the four key principles: the public participation, meaningful
Indigenous engagement, transparency and predictability.
principles are the key to a stable planning environment for project proponents,
investors and regulators. Unfortunately this bill puts all four principles into
question. It leads to uncertainty, and uncertainty leads to hesitance, hesitance
to build, invest and grow.
Manitoba and our
partners are committed to an environmentally responsible approach to growth.
However, this bill does not provide the certainty and clarity that is required
to attract investment. More work must be done to get the balance right.
Projects such as
high-voltage electricity transmission lines, mining initiatives and major flood
protection projects are key shared priorities for the governments of Manitoba
and Canada. A clear and timely development process is needed to bring these
projects to fruition.
on those three examples. Manitoba produces a surplus of clean hydroelectricity.
We are the greenest and cleanest of all the provinces. However, transmission
line investments are needed to supply energy to interprovincial and American
markets. Addition hydroelectric generating capabilities may also be needed in
the future, particularly if Canada wants to realize its goal of getting off of
coal and meeting its Paris targets in 2030. Bill C-69, in its current form,
will stop these critical investments.
initiative I speak of is the Governments of Canada and Manitoba are partnering
to cost share $540 million in new flood management infrastructure for the Lake
Manitoba and Lake St. Martin outlet channels. The project consists of
building two diversion channels, approximately 23 kilometres long, and also
involves building a number of bridges, water control structures, a 24-kilovolt
distribution line and adjusting surrounding infrastructure.
This project will
significantly reduce the risk of health and safety issues and flood damage for
communities, homes and livelihoods, particularly for the First Nations located
around Lake St. Martin. The implications of Bill C-69 have already
affected this joint project.
development is the second largest primary resource sector in Manitoba. In real
2007 dollars, the sector contributed approximately $2.7 billion to the
provincial economy and employed approximately 5,700 workers in 2018.
Bill C-69, as it is presented, puts this key sector at risk.
It is within the
context of these three key drivers of growth, prosperity and flood protection
for Manitobans that I would like to discuss with you our specific issues with
Bill C-69. There are four main areas of concern regarding this bill.
concerned that details about the revised project list have not yet been made
available to our provincial government or other stakeholders for study and
analysis. The federal government has indicated that Bill C-69 will expand
the scope of review and project types to be assessed, yet in the absence of a
detailed project list, proponents do not have the information and clarity they
need to make investment decisions.
provincial officials have only been provided the draft project list during a
short meeting of deputy ministers who are not allowed a thorough analysis of the
draft project list. Manitoba recommends that provinces and territories be
meaningfully engaged and have the opportunity to thoroughly review and provide
feedback on the proposed project list prior to the legislation passing.
is concerned with the broad scope of ministerial designation. The authority to
designate additional non-listed projects for review will, at best, create a lack
of predictability and, at worst, could introduce the potential for political
interference. Manitoba recommends that ministerial designation authority either
be removed or that greater clarity about the parameters in which this authority
could be invoked be written into the legislation.
is concerned with the new proposed planning phase, which includes a formal
federal review and a federal engagement with Indigenous groups. This new stage
will make the one project, one assessment objective a challenge to achieve.
supportive of good planning and recognizes that early engagement can reduce
timelines and build public trust in the process. Our provincial system requires
proponents to conduct their own planning and pre-engagement processes with
stakeholders and impacted Indigenous communities. In our experience, this
approach has been successful and allowed the flexibility to scale the level of
formal engagement in accordance with specific project risks and community
recommends that the need for a formal federal planning process with prescribed
timelines be reconsidered. Federal consultation should be done in parallel with
other proponent engagement activities and allow for the federal government to
include proponent engagement documentation reviews towards meeting this
requirement. This streamlines and better aligns provincial and federal processes
and will be inclusive to all parties.
A final issue of
concern for Manitoba is the lack of clarity about the role of Indigenous
authorities in this process and how traditional knowledge will be incorporated.
To be clear, guided by the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, Manitoba has formalized its commitment to reconciliation through The
Path to Reconciliation Act. Manitoba has a designated minister responsible for
reconciliation, Minister Clarke.
knowledge is an important part of understanding the potential effects of a
project. It is our position that more needs to be done to clarify for proponents
how traditional knowledge is defined and how it will be reconciled with
scientific evaluation in the event that they differ.
alludes to expanding the definition of jurisdiction to provide Indigenous
governing bodies powers to conduct assessment activities and how this will
affect the goal of a one project, one assessment process.
On a related
note, Manitoba requires clarity about the commitment in Bill C-69 to
implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or
UNDRIP, and how this will be integrated into environmental assessment
There is a lack
of definition in free, prior and informed consent. In light of these factors,
Manitoba recommends amending the legislation to clarify traditional knowledge
requirements, Indigenous bodies’ involvement in assessments and how UNDRIP will
be integrated into decision-making.
Bill C-69 represents a significant change to the federal environmental
assessment system. In its current form, and without further clarification, it
will contribute to an increasingly unpredictable investment climate, risking the
ability to advance important Manitoba initiatives, such as mining projects,
clean energy transmission lines, disaster mitigation projects and climate change
optimistic that through the clarification of key clauses in the legislation and
a collaborative process that involves detailed, focused dialogue between
Manitoba and Canada many of these concerns can be addressed prior to the
legislation coming into force.
A clear, timely
and predictable environmental assessment process will allow us to continue to
build our economy while protecting our natural heritage for the benefit of
future generations. Thank you for your time.
The Chair: Can I ask you if you’re going to submit to the committee a specific
recommendation on an amendment?
Mr. Pedersen: We have some specifics.
The Chair: Will you transmit that to the clerk, please.
Mr. Pedersen: As I mentioned, there are four main
priorities for us. The project list — the project list has not been
identified. We need to be able to study that and have clarity going forward.
designation. We want to see this either be limited, or if there is ministerial
designation, make sure there is clarity about what the parameters will be. We’ve
already seen this in terms of our Lake Manitoba channel. It’s been extensive
phase, we’re looking for one project, one assessment. Everybody working
together. Whether it’s municipalities who are involved in Indigenous
communities, the province, the federal government, we need to be working
together. We’re concerned that this bill does not do that.
traditional knowledge. We need to understand how traditional knowledge will be
used in the assessment process, how Indigenous authorities will be involved in
these assessments. We’re looking to clarify this free, prior and informed
The Chair: Perfect. Thank you very much.
MacDonald: Thank you, minister, for being here today. It’s interesting, the
point you made about how green Manitoba is. I think if you ask most Canadians
off the top of their head, their initial reaction would be Quebec or B.C. but,
of course, Manitoba has a great hydro industry and is the greenest province.
In that light,
the hydro industry has told us that Bill C-69 will impede companies from
making urgent repairs to their infrastructure. We’ve raised those concerns with
Transport Canada. They have assured us that Bill C-69 has provisions to
deal with emergency situations adequately.
Government of Manitoba agree with that assessment? If not, what recommendations
would you make?
Mr. Pedersen: Thank you, senator. Again, and I heard it
from the previous presenters, there needs to be clarity between emergency and
ongoing maintenance. With hydro transmission we have substations which need
upgrading. Is that regular maintenance? Or if they are expanding it because
there’s an increased power load, does that fit under emergency, or does it need
further environmental assessments?
transmission lines, when we’re upgrading. Our system within the province is
quite old and we’re upgrading — particularly in the rural areas —
hydro lines because of increased demand. Is that an emergency, or do we need an
environmental assessment? Those are the questions that we continue to have that
are not clear within what’s contained in the bill.
MacDonald: That leads into my next question.
empowers the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change to designate any
project and also to prevent any designated project from moving forward.
Is the Government
of Manitoba concerned that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will
intrude into Manitoba’s jurisdiction when it comes to the environment?
Mr. Pedersen: Thank you for the question. We’re already
seeing that, even without Bill C-69. I’ll go back to our channel project
we’re building out of Lake Manitoba through Lake St. Martin into
We’ve already had
the federal government coming back and saying you must consult with more
Indigenous communities farther up the Nelson River. I’m not sure how clear you
are on the geography of Manitoba, but the expanded scope, which also stops the
clock from the CEAA review, there are communities that are now being included
where this particular channel will have zero impact on them. We have a potential
gold mine at Lynn Lake where the federal government came in and said — the
proponent has been very active in reaching out and has good working
relationships with the surrounding First Nation communities, but they’ve had to
go well into Saskatchewan to consult with those communities. When they go, and
the proponent did go, the community said: What difference does it make to us
that you’re doing a gold mine in Lynn Lake?
We’re seeing that
already. We’re concerned that Bill C-69 may empower the minister to do this
even more. That affects costs. It doesn’t do anything for the environment and
for the people who we want to make sure are not affected by these projects.
Simons: Thank you, minister, for being here today. I’m really happy you are
speaking about interprovincial power lines. This is something we need to be
talking about more in Canada. I’m from Alberta. Some 10 years ago when the
provincial government attempted to update our provincial high-voltage power
lines, there was tremendous pushback from people because of, frankly, unfounded
fears that high-voltage transmission lines are dangerous. I watched with horror,
in some ways, as people frantically fought against these power lines. All the
good science in the world that you could show them didn’t make any
I suspect when we
are talking about a linear project that is interprovincial, there is going to be
even more pushback. It’s one of the things I have been concerned about in
Bill C-69. I’m wondering what the experience has been in Manitoba. Has
there been more acceptance of high-voltage transmission line there? What do you
think the challenges might be under a Bill C-69 regime to getting a robust
national transmission line infrastructure built?
Mr. Pedersen: Thank you, senator. For a moment, I thought
maybe you were criticizing me for me being outspoken about our Bipole III, what
we affectionately call the west side waistline in Manitoba. It’s not linear; it
takes a circle around the province to get to its destination, but we were forced
to complete it.
This is what we
are concerned about. We have tremendous opportunity to sell power to
Saskatchewan, Alberta, into northwest Ontario, to that ring of fire in
northwestern Ontario and to Fort McMurray with the oil sands projects. We have
surplus power right now, and we still have more capacity we could build if we
were to actually use the power we are going to have.
With building a
transmission line, all of a sudden now, we are looking at this bill: How does
this affect our ability to build a linear line across Western Canada? On one
hand, it should be well supported by all governments, because we are reducing
greenhouse gases by using hydroelectricity. At the same time, we are going to
face environmental challenges or questions not necessarily based on science.
It’s taking into
account it affects communities for which a hydro line goes by. It’s the unknown
of Bill C-69 — the sweeping powers that this bill may have, because we
don’t know; we haven’t seen the project list. We don’t know what’s involved.
It’s uncertainty. That’s from a government point of view, but from an industry
point of view, when you have uncertainty, they will tend to back off and not
invest. Government will be the same.
Simons: Bill C-69 — you would think that because the list of
factors includes whether this moves us closer to meeting Canada’s climate change
targets that it would be a check mark in the plus column for high-voltage power
lines, but I have seen firsthand the kind of hysteria that the prospect of
putting those lines through a community can induce. I’m very concerned that such
a kind of NIMBYism could be detrimental to creating Canada’s national power
grid — well, I say that, but we have don’t have a national power
grid — but to creating one.
Mr. Pedersen: To creating a national power grid. We are
very conscious that there needs to be environmental reviews. There is no dispute
there. We are not necessarily disputing the bill, but we just need more clarity
in the bill.
McCallum: Thank you for your presentation. I have quite a few concerns about
what you have brought up, because the Hydro — First Nations relationship is
not that good. There has been a lot of concern, because economic growth has
overpowered environmental problems that hydro has brought forward. It’s due to
the flooding of traditional lands and the inability to fish. I’m thinking of
South Indian Lake. Then the building of that underground cable — and that
was in the southeast area. They were concerned about it. With flood protection,
the Treaty 2 area is concerned. They have put the concerns forward. It’s led by
My concern is if
we don’t deal with that, the link with First Nations and economic growth seems
to split. It hasn’t resolved itself. Looking at the Grand Rapids dam and the
damage it did — and it’s still ongoing. I talked to people about that last
When you look at
the definition of Indigenous knowledge — and you’re looking at free, prior
and informed consent. It is not a veto. People have the right to say “no,” and
they have the right to say “yes.” They have the right to say “yes” with
qualifications. UNDRIP is there because, for so long, human rights, including
the rights to security and liberty, have not been implemented for First
In Manitoba, we
really haven’t had conversations in public between the government and First
Nations, because there is a power imbalance. My concern is that because First
Nations want economic development as well, it’s just that the conversation has
never really happened. I’m sort of overwhelmed with all that you have said. I
don’t know how to proceed from here.
Mr. Pedersen: Thank you, senator, for those comments. There
is no doubt our historic relationship between First Nations in the north and
Hydro has been less than stellar. We cannot change history. As a government, we
are not going to try. We cannot go back. What we can do is move forward.
We have been very
proactive. I mentioned Minister Clarke. Our government has been very proactive
in working and building relationships with the First Nation communities across,
particularly in the North, although they are across the province. We know as a
government that if we are going to create wealth for the North, it has to
include the North. We have a program called Look North, which includes people
from the North deciding where the economic future of Manitoba should be. “For
the North, by the North” is the byline we use.
There are a
number of things we need. We recognize and we have been working with the federal
government on this for economic — whether it’s a mine, a hydro project or
tourism — pick your economic development issue — there needs to be
capacity building within the communities. They just don’t have the tools to work
with. That’s what we are trying to do.
historically, mining companies or Manitoba Hydro has come in, done the project,
and the First Nations stand there and watch. That is not how we will now move
forward. That is where our concerns — in this bill, we need to make sure
that Indigenous communities are involved in the assessment so they have the
knowledge to make decisions. Going back too long, they haven’t been involved in
being able to make an informed decision, and that’s what our part is and the
federal government, too, to help us with that. We have this mixed jurisdiction
issue with First Nation communities.
historically, there have been challenges. We think, as the government of
Manitoba, that we have made great steps in three years toward reconciliation and
McCallum: Can I make one request? When you said that the wealth generated
has been shared, could you send to the committee how that wealth has been shared
with First Nations?
Mr. Pedersen: Thank you. We are looking at projects. I can
use an example of Red Sucker Lake. Yamana Gold is doing an exploration project
for a gold mine. In that process they worked closely with the community of Red
Sucker Lake before section 35 consultation started. Then we had
section 35. Yamana Gold has an arrangement set up and an amount they are
spending on exploration will be spent in the community.
As government, we
don’t talk about jobs in Indigenous communities. We talk about careers. What we
want is careers. We have had great conversations with the chief of Red Sucker
Lake about doing a supply camp. Mines now do camps. They don’t build communities
anymore. There is a terrific opportunity for this community to operate the
supply camp and create a business. From there, the business will continue to
flow. We look at capacity building, which is a huge key to Indigenous
McCallum: The request was from Hydro.
The Chair: We want to continue with shorter preambles and concise answers please.
Senator Woo: Thank you, minister, for being very clear with your four points. Let me get
to the question of the early planning phase. Now I’m talking about projects that
do squarely fall within Bill C-69. I know you are concerned about projects
that may or may not belong. That is a big issue. I think everyone has heard it
loud and clear. Surely there will be some projects that will fall within the
ambit of CEAA 2012/Bill C-69.
To the extent
that the project does belong to a proper, federally mandated impact assessment,
what is your specific concern with the early planning phase? You seem to say you
don’t like it but you do it anyway. I’m trying to understand why that doesn’t
accord with your preference. We are talking about projects that do legitimately
belong under federal jurisdiction. Weave in there your views on substitution,
because this bill seems to provide a clearer path toward substitution whereby
the province can, in fact, take charge of the assessment process.
Mr. Pedersen: The heart of it is we are concerned about the
lack of clarity. If it falls under a CEAA review, that’s good, but we don’t have
any assurance out of this bill that Indigenous communities and all levels of
governments are involved or have input into what needs to be assessed under this
particular project. What exactly are we doing? We want everyone working off the
same page to make sure we have clarity for all groups involved.
Senator Woo: If a project clearly belongs on the list, there is no ambiguity about that.
I understand that some projects you want to make sure are not on the list. That
hopefully can be dealt with. If a project is clearly deemed to be eligible for
review under the federal process, what is your opposition to the early planning
process as a tool for expediting the review of the project? Would you not
consider substitution as a way in which you can then replace the federal
government in doing the review? We are not talking about the ambiguity of
projects that may or may not belong under Bill C-69.
Mr. Pedersen: If I’m getting this right, in Manitoba, our
proponents do outreach to the communities involved.
Senator Woo: Yes.
Mr. Pedersen: There is no assurance within this bill that
will be recognized.
Senator Woo: — early planning.
Mr. Pedersen: There is no clear path as to what the federal
government understands under Bill C-69 or will accept as early planning.
That’s where we are at.
Senator Woo: Okay. Thank you very much.
Mitchell: Thank you. I’m the sponsor of the bill. You said something that
really impresses me, and that is you are not disputing the bill, but you just
need more clarity in the bill, with emphasis on the first phrase.
I think there are
prospects for clarifying. You are concerned about the minister’s power to
designate. I’m not going to ask whether you have the power to designate in your
province at a ministerial or political level. I would like to clarify whether
you are aware that, under section 9(7), which gives the minister the power
to designate — and there are other places in here — it’s very clear
that there are limits to the minister’s ability to designate.
One, it has to be
requested. Second, it says a project can’t be designated after the carrying out
of the physical activity has substantially begun — so it’s not going to be
a surprise after the fact that you started and put a lot of money in the
ground — and after a federal authority has exercised a power or performed a
duty or function. It’s not like this comes out of the blue. This is a very
restricted ability to designate. In fact, as I pointed out, maybe you could
clarify whether you’re aware, but of the 37 that have been requested since CEAA
2012, only three have been approved and two were requested by proponents. One
was a mining company and the other was a port. I don’t think it’s a threat. Can
you clarify how you think that is a threat to uncertainty?
Mr. Pedersen: Again, it is the uncertainty because the bill
allows for ministerial authority to designate non-listed projects. I know there
was discussion earlier about this project list that’s out there that we haven’t
seen, or we hope that’s out there and that we hope we will see. When we get a
project list — suddenly the minister has discretion under this bill to use
ministerial authority to designate that which is not already on the list.
We just need more
clarity about this. It’s about clarity and certainty. Business and First Nations
cannot invest unless they have clarity. When does that ministerial discretion
come into play? We need clarity as to when that will be. We can’t get halfway
through a project and suddenly the minister — maybe that’s written in
there. I haven’t read your bill. These are the concerns that we need clarity
Mitchell: We could sit down and provide some of that. I think you’ll get
more of that as we go.
Massicotte: Could you also share that with us?
Mitchell: You mentioned a big part of what you are concerned about is
mining. You are aware, I’m sure, that the Mining Association of Canada is very
supportive of this bill generally. Have you in contact and discussions with
Mr. Pedersen: Generally, they are in support but there are
specific issues, and I used the Lynn Lake example. They can be generally in
support but let’s talk about specific projects, and we are seeing the
Mitchell: The one thing they really like about this is that whereas one of
the sectors that is probably under CEAA 2012 that continually gets duplication
of efforts in reviews between federal and provincial levels is actually the
mining industry. This will address directly that key concern in the estimation
of the Mining Association of Canada.
Mr. Pedersen: The jury is out on that.
The Chair: The time has expired for that question.
Carignan: Minister, thank you for being here with us this morning. My
question is quite simple. Constitutionally speaking, the provinces have a shared
jurisdiction with the federal government for the environment. Bill C-69
puts you on an equal footing with all the other bodies. There is no special
status for the province, no recognition or particular process should the
province want to make a decision or do an assessment. The federal government
consultation process... People often say that we can consult an entity, and it
seems that you are considered just like any other organization. Does that not
disturb you? Don’t you think that the bill should include a special status or a
specific mechanism for the province, so that you can do an environmental study,
both on the substitution or other elements of the process, in the spirit of
constitutional law and a co-operative relationship?
Mr. Pedersen: This is a concern to us. It’s the lack of
clarity in the bill between provincial authorities, federal authorities, now we
are bringing in Indigenous authorities. Not that we dispute it but we just need
clarity. Within the bill as it’s presented, does not give us that.
Carignan: Aside from the issue of clarity, do you not think that the
provinces should have a specific, special status in the bill that would take
into account the fact that you are speaking government to government, and not as
an ordinary entity or organization?
Mr. Pedersen: This is why we want to be included. We don’t
want to see the federal government coming in and imposing conditions upon a
province, that the province does not see as part of this project. We need that
provincial knowledge. We need the Indigenous knowledge. We need everyone to be
working together. We don’t need someone coming in and telling us what is best
for us. Yes, they may have another opinion and they may be very justified. But
we want to be included. And we are concerned that this bill takes away that
ability of the province to be able to express our opinion, and we’ll have
opinions imposed on us that may not necessarily be valid.
Neufeld: Thank you for being here. Did I misunderstand or hear you correctly
when you said your deputy minister saw a draft project list? I thought in your
earlier testimony you said that. Did I hear it right?
Mr. Pedersen: Our deputy minister of intergovernmental
affairs, Mike Richards and Lezlee Dunn were invited to a closed door meeting
with federal officials. They were sworn to secrecy before they walked into the
meeting. They were given a short proposed draft list, the project list. They
were not allowed to memorize, copy, or otherwise do anything with it. And then
they were — don’t hold me to it, but I believe the meeting was very
Neufeld: You wouldn’t know, if they were held to confidentiality, I can
understand that to a degree. Would they have told you what was on the list?
Mr. Pedersen: No.
Neufeld: They weren’t allowed to even do that?
Mr. Pedersen: No. They were sworn to secrecy to what they
took in there.
Neufeld: Is it any wonder that people would be concerned? If you have a
draft project list, which I think they should have, it isn’t as if we just
started developing projects in Canada. We have been doing it for hundreds of
I have one other
question on public engagement. Public engagement until now has been more or less
those who are affected in a large project. This bill opens it up to the world.
Anyone can come in from any place and have standing. What’s your opinion about
that? Do you think that’s proper or should we really be concerned about the
people who are directly affected rather than what’s going on in the whole world
where you could get all kinds of people coming in?
I have been
through those processes. I want to know what your feeling is.
Mr. Pedersen: That’s why we don’t necessarily oppose the
bill. We would like to see improvements to it. It’s about getting the scope of
the project list for starters, and also the consultations that are required. We
have no objection to legitimate concerns. However, if I may quote you, Senator
Neufeld, when you open it up to the world, if it’s an economic project that the
local communities are fully supportive of, but someone from across the world
comes in and says no, you can’t do this. We have seen this now happen in the oil
For instance, we
have high grade nickel in Manitoba that is used in electric vehicles. And maybe
another country will send someone in to oppose a project that’s going to extract
where we want to extract nickel and yet we are working for an electric vehicle
thing. We are concerned about that. It’s the lack of clarity within this bill
that really drives our concerns and is the reason that I’m here today.
The Chair: I have a curiosity about this project list. I understand perfectly that for
technical reasons and to assess the extent that will affect sectors, it is very
important to know the list of projects. But one of the reasons that I have heard
for keeping this secret is that this information can also be monetized, can
represent advantage to the people who know this information beforehand. It can
influence buying shares in mining or in petroleum. It will be revealed. Of
course, it has to be revealed at a point. But when exactly in this period can
some interests be put in conflict?
Mr. Pedersen: It’s about trust. If the federal government
can’t trust our provincial officials to have a look at a project list, bring it
back to our cabinet table where trust is the basis of it, I think we have a
problem. Naturally the province of Manitoba is concerned about what is involved
in here when we can’t even see it. We wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with
keeping it confidential but surely to goodness between governments we can share
The Chair: Thank you. This is what I wanted to hear.
LaBoucane-Benson: Thank you for coming today. With your concern about the
pre-planning phase, in our meetings with proponents, they were quite happy with
the pre-planning phase. That was something that they thought was an improvement.
In the actual bill it says that the federal government has to say who must you
consult before you start. What are the issues that they have already designated
that says this is what you have to look at. They have to post it on the Internet
so it’s very public.
It kind of sets
out the project so that a year and a half down the road it isn’t, “Oh, by the
way, what about this or what about that.” This pre-planning phase, if done
correctly — and I know if it’s not done correctly then it doesn’t
work — could help move projects along quicker and the clock would stop
less. They also said they already do it, and that what we’re doing here is
codifying that which proponents already do. Some even told us that they thought
they had the best practice, that they do it better than the federal government,
which I thought was interesting.
What is your
concern with that pre-planning phase? If we’re going to be getting into
amendments quickly, and I’m hoping we do, how would that piece be amended to
allay your fears with clarity?
Mr. Pedersen: I think what we’re looking for is some
recognition. Right now, there is no recognition within the bill that proponent
pre-planning is recognized. Different companies have different ideas. Some
companies think they’ve done a great job and they really haven’t as compared to
LaBoucane-Benson: That’s fair.
Mr. Pedersen: Can the bill then somewhat specify what
proponent pre-planning should look like? I know it’s different in every case.
You can’t set rules for everything. Right now there is no recognition of
pre-planning. Again, how does the pre-planning by a proponent fit in to
provincial, federal, Indigenous assessments?
LaBoucane-Benson: I think it says in here that there’s the conversation at
the beginning. Maybe this is something we’re assuming would happen. The
proponent, the province and the federal government would get together at the
beginning and have that conversation. Nobody wants to see proponents doing work
that’s not recognized and costs money, for no reason.
It seems to me
that a robust pre-planning phase would make the impact assessment go faster and
we could get to the project quicker. I hear your concerns and I thank you for
Mr. Pedersen: When it gets to the mining, you have your
prospector, your exploration company and then finally your mining. With the
prospector — although there is less and less, it’s more now aerial and
electronic — before an exploration company can get a permit, they have to
have buy-in from the community in their traditional area.
This is happening
already. I don’t know that there’s recognition of that. How do we fit that in
with provincial, federal and Indigenous environmental assessments?
LaBoucane-Benson: If your folks have an amendment around that, send it to
the clerk. We’d really like to see it.
Mr. Pedersen: We have a number of amendments that we will
be sending to you.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Massicotte: Thank you very much for being with us, minister.
As we all know,
the demographics of Manitoba is such that it is extremely dependent upon a good
integration of the Indigenous community whereby a significant future increase in
the labour force will be in that sector. It’s extremely important there’s a
strong working relationship and integration that is respectful and quick, as
your province depends upon it.
Having said that,
you also mentioned 262, the UNDRIP, which is an important aspirational, if you
wish, reference point. You’ve specifically commented that you have questions
relative to free, prior and informed consent.
I’m not saying
that is right or wrong. I think it’s a good document, but you expressed concern
with that. What is it that you would like to see relative to those words? Is
there a definitional issue that you’re worried about? What’s your solution to
make sure this is not an impediment to getting that document finally
Mr. Pedersen: When you get into science, it’s based
Massicotte: I’m not talking about the language. I’m talking about free,
prior and informed consent.
Mr. Pedersen: If I may, science is fairly clearly defined
by data. Regarding free, prior and informed consent, it still remains unclear if
UNDRIP will be integrated into the environmental assessment. If it is, what
shape or form does that take? We don’t dispute that UNDRIP is there. In fact,
we’ll embrace it. How does it fit into this entire environmental assessment?
Massicotte: If 262 is fully applied — it’s a separate piece of
legislation — that declaration says for anything affecting the Aboriginal
community, you need free, prior and informed consent. I think it’s quite clear
what it intends to do. I gather you would like some clarity as to what does that
mean. What is it that you’d like to say?
Mr. Pedersen: Very simply, we would like clarity on how it
will be applied in this bill.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Massicotte: People have raised substitution, and Bill C-69 makes it
easier to get to substitution. It works in B.C. but it probably took quite a bit
of investment. Senator Neufeld shared his experience there. After much effort,
they did develop a substitution agreement which works well today. Would Manitoba
not do the same? Why not?
Mr. Pedersen: We are working toward that, but we still need
clarity. Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but we still need to know how it
will be applied within this bill. We know we have to work. We like to think of
it as a positive thing. We have a young population in Manitoba, particularly in
the Indigenous community, that has tremendous potential. We continue to work
The Chair: Three last questions. I want to give the opportunity to colleagues who have
been here from the beginning.
Mockler: This is for clarity. I’d like to bring to your attention that you
have some allies, minister. I’ve had the opportunity and honour to be at those
tables for the Province of New Brunswick. There is a letter that is written by
the Atlantic provinces. I’m going to read part of it, and I’d like to have your
comment on it. The four Atlantic premiers wrote a letter to the Prime Minister
of Canada, and it says in the letter:
of Bill C-69 as it is currently drafted is that the significant changes
being proposed to the scope and scale of federal environmental assessments in
Canada will not meet the dual objectives of environmental protection and
It goes on to
The Bill is
also inconsistent with the joint management principles of the Atlantic Accord
Acts and introduces considerable discretion into decision-making processes that
would be predictable and science-based.
Do you have any
comments on that, when we look at environmental protection and economic growth
factors to be considered under Bill C-69?
Mr. Pedersen: Agreed.
Mockler: Thank you.
Black: My current count is there are eight provinces with deep concerns
about Bill C-69. That’s why I’m so glad to see Manitoba here today and
three territories. That only leaves British Columbia and Quebec, where I have
some uncertainty where they stand.
I’m a senator
from Alberta. There is conversation from time to time about the possibility of
getting access for Canadian oil in Alberta through Churchill. How would
Bill C-69 affect such an opportunity?
Mr. Pedersen: That would be for me to prejudge what the
environmental assessment is, but I would think it would be very difficult.
Black: Thank you very much.
Pratte: Thank you, minister, for being here. You expressed some concern
regarding what relationship Indigenous knowledge would have with scientific
information, if both are in contradiction. I notice, in the factors to be
considered in section 22, that scientific information is not mentioned,
which in my view is a bit strange.
Have you given
any thought to how, in the act, we could clarify this? It’s my impression that
this would be on a case-by-case basis so that, if at one point we find on a
specific project that scientific information is not in agreement with Indigenous
knowledge, the panel or the agency will have to decide. I’m not sure how we can
correct or clarify this in the act
Mr. Pedersen: If I may, with great care, I don’t agree with
your statement that they’re at odds, traditional knowledge —-
Pratte: I’m not saying they are. They could be.
Mr. Pedersen: In our experience in Manitoba, what we have
found is working, is that — and again I’ll use a mining company as an
example — we have our Island Lake area right now. There are four
communities there working with a resource company and they are what they call
the red dot areas. These are traditional areas. That’s a no-go zone. They’re
mapping out those first because, regardless of what resources are there, this
traditional knowledge will take precedence.
We are very
conscious of traditional knowledge, and it is a factor because that’s why we do
the section 35 consultations. But it begins long before that with the
proponents working with the communities about traditional knowledge and
Pratte: What is your concern? You did express some concern as to how
scientific information would be taken into account, considering the fact that
Indigenous knowledge will be — and that’s a good thing, I don’t disagree
with that — also taken into account?
Mr. Pedersen: We want to make sure that all factors are
taken into consideration, taking into account traditional knowledge and
scientific data. How do you define traditional knowledge? That’s the question.
It could be used as a way to stop any potential production. Is there a
definition of traditional knowledge? This is our concern with UNDRIP and how
I don’t know that
can you write this into legislation because every community is different. If you
write it into legislation, it’s there, but that’s not really working with the
traditional knowledge of a community if there’s a law out there. Traditional
knowledge is not a law. It’s handed down through generations.
Pratte: Thank you
The Chair: I have a clarification that the word “traditional” has been removed. It’s
now called “Indigenous knowledge.”
Guests, thank you
very much for your interesting discussion.
go away. We have the last panel of 30 minutes, and then we will have an in
camera 30-minute meeting.
Welcome to the
third portion of this meeting of Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the
Environment and Natural Resources. We continue our study on Bill C-69.
We now welcome
from Petroleum Services Association of Canada, Mr. Gary G. Mar, President
and Chief Executive Officer; and Duncan Au, Board Chairman.
I don’t have your
name. Do you want to introduce yourself, please?
Aquin, Senior Vice-President, Petroleum Services Association of Canada: Elizabeth Aquin, Senior Vice-President, Petroleum Services Association of
The Chair: Perfect. Thank you very much for joining us. I invite you to proceed with
your opening statements, after which we will go to a period of questions and
Gary G. Mar,
President and Chief Executive Officer, Petroleum Services Association of Canada: Good morning, senators. Thank you very much for the opportunity to provide
input on this very critical issue to our industry.
as written, will have serious negative impacts on the petroleum services
Services Association of Canada, or PSAC, is a national trade association
representing the service, supply and manufacturing sectors within the upstream
petroleum industry. Our members provide innovation, technology and expertise to
energy explorers and producers, also known as E&P companies, both here in
Canada and internationally.
The oil and gas
industry represent over 500,000 jobs across Canada. Those jobs, however, are
dependent upon investment of capital. Unfortunately, we have seen a massive drop
in capital investment of over 50 per cent from $81 billion in 2014 to
just $41 billion in 2018.
The outcome has
been, for our industry, devastating. Over 100,000 jobs have been lost, largely
middle class. They have disappeared since 2015, including manufacturing jobs
that work for PSAC members both in Ontario and in Quebec. It has impacted
rotational workers from Atlantic Canada, and we are the largest employer of
Indigenous people. It has affected them as well.
What began in
late 2014 as a downturn due to low commodity prices, which is a situation
outside of the control of a federal or a provincial government, there has been
an escalation of a dramatic flight of capital in response to issues that are
within the control of government, including competitiveness, regulatory
uncertainty and the cumulative effect of a tanker moratorium, clean fuel
standard, methane emissions reduction regulations, carbon taxes and, finally,
Given that we
cannot get infrastructure built or competitiveness issues resolved, the flight
of capital continues and our forecast is grim. Bill C-69, as it stands,
will only make things worse.
looking for regulatory certainty and firm timelines that this bill in its
current form fails to deliver, we will continue to sacrifice billions of dollars
of economic prosperity and growth and jobs will continue their flight to other
I’d like to turn
our presentation over to Mr. Duncan Au, the chair of the board of PSAC and
the president and CEO of CWC Energy Services Corp., a public company providing
drilling rig, service rig and coil tubing services.
Board Chairman, Petroleum Services Association of Canada: Thank you,
The impact of
such an immense drop in capital investment in the energy industry has been
devastating not only for workers but also for companies. Many have already gone
into receivership while others are holding on by a thread. Out of the necessity
to survive, many companies are seeking opportunities in other countries, where
Canadian technology, expertise, equipment and people are highly valued and
sought after and willing to pay a fair price.
Our company is an
example. Since our inception in 2005, CWC has been a purely Canadian company. In
2014, we employed 619 people. By the end of 2015, we had reduced our workforce
by 41 per cent, to 366 employees. As oil prices started recovering in
the second half of 2016 and 2017, and thinking that the worst was behind us, CWC
invested $37.5 million by acquiring one of our competitors and grew our
workforce to 768 employees.
By 2018, though,
activity had slowed significantly and CWC’s employee count dropped
25 per cent, to 580 employees. We cannot keep investing in Canada only
to see our growth taken away or stalled due to government policies.
domestic and international energy companies have already exited Canada over the
last five years. This is a tragic loss for Canada and Canadian jobs.
We must compete
globally for capital investment. Therefore, we must remove uncertainty and other
impediments to investment or we lose and other countries win.
decide if we want to produce our oil and gas or not. Such overarching public
policy and political decisions should not be made through regulatory approval
processes for individual projects. Accordingly, we recommend the following
amendments to Bill C-69: one, remove the politicization of the process;
two, reinstate criteria for intervener status; three, define success criteria
for duty to consult; four, remove assessment of downstream GHG emissions; five,
remove assessment of the intersection of sex and gender with other identity
factors; six, establish hard timelines; and, seven, include assessment of
Much is at stake
for our industry and for all of Canada with this bill, including jobs, economic
prosperity and growth. Accordingly, we urge you to use your power of sober,
second thought to you impel the federal government to take the time to get this
bill right for Canadians. Thank you very much
The Chair: We will go right to question period.
MacDonald: Thank you, all of you, for being here this morning.
When we think of
the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, we normally think of the west. A
lot of testimony has come to us from the Premier of Alberta, the official
opposition in Alberta, the legislative assembly of Saskatchewan — all have
a lot of trouble with this bill and have come out strongly against this bill.
Initially, outside of the Prairies, there didn’t seem to be the same sort of
immediate urgency across the country.
You have, of
course, involvement right across the country with your organization. Are you
finding that Canadians in the East Coast and in other parts of the country are
becoming more aware of the problems with this bill? What sort of feedback are
you getting from outside of the Prairies?
Mr. Mar: As PSAC, we have members that go from coast to coast. We have companies that
are members from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador. A number of our
companies also work with rotational workers. On any trip that you take from
Calgary or Edmonton that comes through Toronto, or even Ottawa, you’ll find
people going back to places like Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. They
understand the importance of the energy sector to other parts of the
The other area
that’s quite important is the manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec. Many
companies rely upon the energy sector in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin
that manufacture the pipe or the steel that comes out of Sault Ste. Marie. One
of our members is Tenaris. A large portion of their revenue for their plant in
Sault Ste. Marie is in operation because of the matériel they are producing for
the oil and gas sector.
This is not
strictly an Alberta or even a Western Canada issue. It is an issue that goes
from coast to coast. We do hear from our members, and the people who are
suppliers to our members, about how concerned they are about the issue of how
healthy the oil and gas industry is.
MacDonald: I think there’s a lack of appreciation, but it is growing; I know
it. How many people, in places like Nova Scotia, are actually directly employed
by the oil patch even though they live and operate out of Nova Scotia.
I saw the seven
points you brought up, Mr. Au. The first one is to remove the
politicization of the process. Could you elaborate on that a bit?
Mr. Au: As the bill, as we currently read it, would suggest that decision-making is
in the hands of a minister of environment at the end of the bill. A lot of work
done up to that point in time — billions of dollars, in fact, are being
spent by certain energy companies to get to that point.
With the position
that a minister would have, and their ability to hear from all Canadians as well
as outsiders, we don’t feel it’s going to be necessarily an objective process.
We feel it will be a subjective process after all the objectivity of experts
that are done from a regulatory perspective is going to be put in there only to
come up with perhaps a subjective decision at the end of the day.
That then begs
the question, from a capital investment perspective, from day one, who is ever
going to put a single dollar into a project, only to come out with an uncertain
outcome that is based upon a politicized process?
Mr. Mar: If I may supplement that, one of the purposes of administrative law is to
take political decisions out of the hands of politicians and place it in the
hands of subject experts. That’s what we seek, namely, for subject experts to be
able to move the process forward.
the responsibility to establish the parameters by which a quasi-judicial
administrative tribunal exercises its authority. The problem with politicizing
the process is you will invariably have ministers, members of Parliament, people
within certain areas, who will lobby the minister to exercise his or her
jurisdiction in a certain way. The consequence will be that issues that may be
in the national interest will take a secondary back seat to those of political
perspective, if you don’t want the PMO, or ministers, or others exercising undue
pressure upon an individual minister, then you shouldn’t do this. What we really
want is projects that are in the national interest to be able to survive the
individual aspirations of a member of Parliament or even a group of members of
Parliament. That’s why the process must not be politicized.
Simons: Mr. Mar, I remember when you were a politician. I remember when
you were the Minister of the Environment in Alberta. I put “climate change” and
“Gary Mar” into Google and came out with this quote:
There is no
neutrality on the issue of climate change. There can be no spectators.
You said that, I
think, a long time ago. You’ve been a Minister of the Environment. You know how
vital it is that there be rigorous evaluation of the environmental impacts of
If you think that
the current legislation overpoliticizes the role of the minister, at what point
should the accountable, democratically elected minister have a role to play in
deciding which projects do and which don’t go ahead?
Mr. Mar: It’s a very important point that a minister of the Crown should be able to
establish and advocate for the type of legislation that makes sense and is
necessary for the discharge of the duties and responsibilities under the
portfolio. That part is clear.
Whether I would
want to have a ministerial jurisdiction or discretion to override a particular
project purely on the purpose of the environment is not something I would offer
or want. When I was Minister of Environment, we had really three different
spheres of public policy: There was energy, environment and economic
development. Those three spheres largely existed separately. Today, we
appreciate and understand that, in a Venn diagram, we want to see overlap,
because you cannot have any kind of economic development without access to
affordable, reliable energy. You cannot develop any kind of energy, including
renewables, without some impact on the environment. We seek harmony and a
symbiotic relationship among and between these three public policy issues.
If you ask me if
I stand by the statement I made in 1999, the answer is “yes.” It is important
for a Minister of Environment to speak strongly on matters that relate to the
environment. That does not mean I would want the authority, jurisdiction or
discretion to stop a project based solely on looking at it through the lens of
Neufeld: Thank you for being here today. It’s good to hear your
I want to ask a
couple of things. You listed seven issues. One was “include the assessment of
economic benefits,” which I totally agree with. I think you have actually
touched on that very well. Of the other two things, one is “remove the
assessment of downstream greenhouse gas emissions.” Maybe I have missed
something, but could you help me a little bit where that is? Then, also, the
“reinstate criteria” for the intervener status — I think I know what you
mean, but I would like you to expand on it.
Mr. Mar: When we look at the environmental impact that is established under this
legislation, we have to take into account how our users of the ultimate product
that we produce — being fossil fuel energy — uses it. GHG emissions
are counted as part of the environmental assessment. I think that’s
preposterous. We wouldn’t ask Bombardier to account for how their planes are
used in another country and to account for GHG emissions. We wouldn’t ask Ford
Motor Company out of Oakville to do the same thing with the cars and trucks they
We think it is an
improper consideration for that to be considered in the environmental impact of
this industry, singling it out from others.
With respect to
intervener status, I haven’t had the advantage of being the sponsor of the bill.
I haven’t read it nearly to the kind of detail that Senator Mitchell has. As I
read it, I understand intervener status to be “y’all come;” anyone who wants in
can say something about this particular bill. Allowing that will allow a whole
host of people who are not actually directly affected by whatever project is
being put forward to be able to have a say in this, some of them funded by
foreign agencies and some who may have nothing to do at all with the project
other than a purpose to delay it.
Such a privilege
of who has intervener status should be restricted only to those Canadians who
are actually impacted by the project. That will help speed up the process as
opposed to having a lot of people saying something about a particular project
that, frankly, wouldn’t be particularly probative.
The Chair: I will continue on this question, but before that, Mr. Au, you said
there are billions of dollars that have been lost in investment over the last
five years. That has nothing to do with Bill C-69; that has to do with the
previous legislation. That’s just for clarification.
intervener point, it’s interesting what you are saying. You are saying that for
national projects, we shouldn’t be a stop. You are saying that people who are
not affected come to a place to stop the project. But, for example, if something
happens on the B.C. coast and affects Albertans because they can not bring their
oil to shore, should we tell Albertans “don’t come because it’s a project that
touches only the coast of B.C.”? I find a little bit of contradiction in
Mr. Mar: I understand your position. That’s not quite what I said. Canadians who have
a real and demonstrable tie to the particular issue should be able to be an
intervener. In the case of an Alberta company that is a producer of oil and gas,
if there is a pipeline project in British Columbia, there is clearly a
connection between the Alberta oil company and the ability to get that pipeline
It was me who
actually said that from 2014 to 2018, there has been a dramatic reduction in the
amount of investment in the sector. What the minister from Manitoba talked
about, I think, is probative, because he talked about the uncertainty the
Bill C-69 process creates. Nobody is going to be putting a billion dollars
into a project not knowing what all of the circumstances are that will be
relevant contained within this bill.
I would concede
that much of the reduction in the amount of investment from 2014 to 2018 was, in
part, because of issues outside of the control of government. We cannot control
supply of oil out of Saudi Arabia. We cannot control slowing demand in China,
but even our own Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the CPPIB, and Williams
have formed a $3.8-billion shale gas venture. Even our own pension board
recognizes that the regulatory uncertainty that exists with the current
legislation and the proposed Bill C-69 is placing a chilling effect on
investment in Canada. CPPIB is investing in the United States instead. The
United States has never produced more oil in its history, and is now set to
become the second and perhaps the first-largest exporter of oil in the world.
They may overcome Saudi Arabia.
I can tell you
from Duncan’s experience, from the private sector, a lot of the materiel, human
capital, ingenuity and technology that has been developed in Canada is moving
south of the border. They cannot see a pathway, currently, with Bill C-69
that would do anything that would change that exodus of human capital, high
technology and money.
The Chair: We asked the previous witness if they have done a comparison between what
happened with the previous legislation and this legislation. Have you done that
Mr. Mar: We have not.
The Chair: Thank you.
LaBoucane-Benson: Thank you very much for being here. For a little context,
on February 8, I went to Drayton Valley and held a town hall with folks who
I assume are your constituents. It was the day after the Big Horn Park protest,
so they were up for a fight. I had an awesome conversation. It struck me when
one of the people said he feels it’s hopeless. They had hope, but at this point,
they are feeling quite hopeless. The reeve of Brazeau County said, “My
depression has depression now.” There is still a great sense of humour in
Alberta about things.
I want to let you
know I understand the suffering of the people who supply, the businesses that
flourished at one point and are now being closed down because there just doesn’t
seem to be a path forward.
I was interested
and I think it was number six of your list. You read them very fast and I don’t
write that fast. I think number six was about the inclusion of the assessment of
the economic factors being an important part of amendments that you need to see.
When I look at the purpose statement of the Impact Assessment Act — and I
think it’s been amended since the first draft — it says clearly that it’s
to protect the components of the environment and the health, social, and
economic conditions. That’s in B. And then in C it says, “both positive and
adverse.” I think those statements have been added. But if they are not strong
enough, how can this bill be further amended to ensure we are looking at the
positive impact around economic benefit and the impacts on the environment? I
note that — I don’t believe in CCEA 2012, the current bill, that it looks
at economic factors at all. I think in the past it’s been only environmental
impact. And this bill kind of broadens it out. What would you like to see,
Mr. Au: If I may just address on the Drayton Valley operations, we actually have
operations in Drayton Valley. What I will tell you is that in that community we
are seeing a lot of theft right now. It has already affected us over the last
several years. Just the other day we had somebody break into our yard to take a
muffler off of our truck. A muffler.
LaBoucane-Benson: They are hurting in Alberta.
Mr. Au: They are hurting in Alberta. This is what I am trying to suggest to you
right now with respect to capital flow and what is happening in what I believe
is a made-in-Canada problem. Other jurisdictions around the world do not have
this problem. They are flourishing with respect to their energy sector. Whether
you wish to talk about why it is happening in Canada and not necessarily other
jurisdictions, I fully believe that you have got to look at the capital flow and
the capital investment. 2018 was the least amount of equity capital for our
customers, being the E&P companies, less than $500 million of equity was
raised. That is the lowest level in 25 years, dating back to 1993. 2019, zero.
This is a worrying trend in Canada that investment capital whether it’s Canadian
or foreign is not coming to the Canadian sector.
The issues you
see beyond, in terms of anecdotal evidence of what is happening are people
working in the energy sector — presumably people working in the energy
sector are having to resort to things such as theft, and theft from companies
they think are better off than them. This is an extremely concerning trend that
has been happening over the last several years in the energy sector.
LaBoucane-Benson: We haven’t been well served by CCEA 2012. Now we have
Bill C-69 in front of us, it’s our goal to improve this bill so that
Albertans, we get back to being employed and feeling good and hopeful about the
future. As far as amending this bill, how would you suggest that we ensure
economic factors are clearly stated here in that assessment process?
Mr. Mar: Having been a legislator, as has Senators Neufeld, Mitchell, and Mockler,
those of us who have been making legislation in the past know it is a very
difficult thing to do. We have large bodies of people who work for us in a
department of justice who will prepare the kinds of legislation that is needed.
I guess from our perspective all we can say is that we are looking for that
balance of those three areas: energy, environment, and economic development.
That all three have to overlap at some point. And that there does need to be
consideration of economic impacts. If we only look at it through the lens of the
environment, the answer is that we are not going to get anything done.
Let me add
further that it’s not just Bill C-69. In geology there is an expression
called “accretion.” What “accretion” means is the buildup of layers of sediment.
The accretion of legislation that has been very difficult for the oil and gas
sector continues, whether it’s Bill C-48, whether it’s Bill C-69,
whether it is issues that focus on GHG emissions and so on and so forth, carbon
taxes. Any one of those issues could be dealt with by a responsible oil and gas
sector. To have all of them accreting on one another without some attention
being paid to the overall cumulative impact of all this legislation is something
that we ask the Senate to consider in its deliberations over legislation.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We are running out of time.
Massicotte: Thank you for being with us. I know things are really tough in
Alberta. I have been an active player in Alberta for decades. I lived through
’81. I want to make it clear, because now we say it’s all Bill C-69’s
fault. There is an article I thought was very good — Peter Tertzakian,
March 6, 2019, Financial Post. You probably saw it. We are suffering lots
but oil and gas financing in the United States is down 75 per cent
also. There is a lot at play here. Therefore I don’t want to pick only on
Bill C-69. The good news being, at least for you, I agree there is a need
for changes in Bill C-69 to get us there. I just want to give a bit of
perspective on it.
I agree with most
of the things you are looking for. Our first meeting was when we met the deputy
ministers. There was about five or six of them. Most of the issues you raised
were actually discussed in that meeting — I understand CAPP will shortly be
circulating those comments and there are further comments, what the minister
said. One is intervener status. Legislation says everybody gets a chance to
voice a concern. But the response they have when we raised that issue with the
deputy minister, they said, “Now there are modern impact studies. If you look
around the world, it’s pretty much standard that everybody has the right to make
a comment. What’s critical though is how the agency can manage those comments.”
In other words, it doesn’t mean everybody gets a meeting with the minister
because you got to comment on it. It basically says they have the right to
express. There has got to be some form of acknowledgment. But if you give the
agency flexibility, which is their intent, and maybe we could add some words
there to make it very clear they have the right to cause a process that works.
But getting inundated with all these comments. I think we can get there with a
little bit of clarity. Do you want to comment on that?
Mr. Mar: If that’s the purpose then that is the function of what legislators do
already. Elected people do accept all manners of submissions to their offices,
their constituency offices or their ministerial offices. If you want to
formalize that, I think that’s probably fine. I don’t think there is any problem
with allowing everybody to have a say, recognizing that some will have more to
say that is important than others.
Massicotte: The person receiving the comment can judge that. If it needs to
be clarified to give that agency authority to organize it without having to
cause a meeting — maybe there is a need for it there. But I think we can get
there, pretty close.
Mitchell: Thank you, Mr. Mar and Mr. Au and Ms. Aquin. I
should just point out that Mr. Mar and I were in the Alberta legislature
together for a decade or so. A long time but it was a good time. We were across
the way but we are not on opposite sides of the table now because we both want
to promote Alberta’s and Canada’s economy. I’d like to congratulate you on a
very powerful feature of your presentations outlining just how difficult it is
in Alberta and how important Alberta is to the economy and the very fabric of
this nation. That was very well done.
I want to ask,
Mr. Mar, you have made a point about depoliticalization, Mr. Au as
well, and that you have got to get politicians out of the process. I’m just
wondering if you look at the Responsible Energy Development Act, if you are
asking the same thing in the Alberta case. It’s very clear in the Alberta case
under section 54 that the minister may at any time refer a project to the
Lieutenant Governor in Council so that the Lieutenant Governor in Council can
make a decision. The Lieutenant Governor in Council, as you know, is the
cabinet. Sounds to me like they are making political decisions about
Mr. Mar: Seems to me that when you were leader of the opposition you didn’t like that
Mitchell: Let’s go back and check that. I don’t know.
Mr. Mar: Let me say this, senator, with great respect: We have had conversations
about this bill before. In our previous discussions, you talked about being able
to fix the bill through regulations and doing a number of things through
cabinet. I have a very specific recollection that, when you were leader of the
opposition, you said the problem with doing it in cabinet is that you are taking
it outside the public fora of the parliamentary process on the floor of the
legislature and putting it behind closed doors in cabinet. We may argue about
Alberta legislation, but that’s not really within the purview of this body. I
would say what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If that is the
case in the Alberta energy regulator, we would be opposed to that too. We are
nonpartisan. That doesn’t mean we are not political. As a political body, we
comment on these sorts of things. As a partisan issue, I’m not going to say it’s
good or bad from the point of view of a government in place. We would advocate
for the same thing: having an open process in the legislature rather than one
that is behind a cabinet door.
Mitchell: Are you aware that it’s very clear that what it will be behind the
“cabinet door”? It will be very clearly defined, the elements upon which the
cabinet has to make a decision. The cabinet will have to declare clearly why
they made their decision and upon what basis. That will have to be publicly
recorded. That certainly wasn’t the case in Alberta.
Let me go on to
one other feature of that. Is it not the case, in your consideration — you
are a politician; you were a minister — that there might be a time when you
get a no answer from a review process done by technical people because that’s
who they are, and maybe by people who were appointed by a previous government,
might be the case in November, June or July of this year, where you
might want to override that decision? And who would do that? Would you not be
tempted as a former cabinet minister to see that that was done? Where else would
it be done?
Mr. Mar: This is always the challenge and the temptation of being a minister of the
Crown, to exercise discretion in the way that you want to see it done. The more
proper way to do it, if you don’t like the legislation and the way that it’s
being done, you should take it to a legislative body that can openly change the
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mockler: I have had the honour to work with Mr. Mar in government. I
know he has quite a remarkable credibility. I want to take the opportunity as a
senator to say that because I guess it has been over 15 years since we have met.
Churchhill once said that in making a decision we should always strive to be
right and consistent, and if you have to choose between the two, choose to be
If that’s the
case, I’d like you to go to the Atlantic premiers’ websites — we have four
Atlantic premiers — and all of them have somewhat with the same concerns
that you brought forward. You are asking for amendments. I will say, as
Churchill would say, let’s try to be right with Bill C-69. If this is the
case, I will read the following from a letter sent to the Prime Minister from
the four Atlantic premiers, of which three are Liberals and one is Conservative,
and I would like to have your comment:
of Bill C-69 as it is currently drafted is that the significant changes
being proposed to the scope and scale of federal environmental assessments in
Canada will not meet the dual objectives of environmental protection and
They go on to say
in another paragraph:
concern to be addressed is that the Bill as drafted places final decision-making
power in the hands of the Minister or Governor in Council and provides the
opportunity to veto the results of thorough scientific assessment and review of
Minister, when we
talk about environmental protection and economic growth, what comments or
suggestions would you have for the Atlantic premiers in order to help you put it
Mr. Mar: As drafted, in its current form, Bill C-69, I would agree completely
with what the premiers have written.
Patterson: Thank you for being here. You have recommended that the bill be
amended to remove the assessment of the intersection of sex and gender with
other identity factors. I have just looked up the definition of “intersection.”
It seems to be a geographical term. Cambridge English dictionary says it’s an
occasion where two lines cross, or the place where this happens. The place where
two or more roads join or cross each other. Oxford dictionary: a place where two
or more roads, lines et cetera, meet or cross each other. And “identity” in
the Oxford English Dictionary is the characteristics determining who or
what a person or thing is.
I would like to
ask you if you understand what the intersection of sex and gender with
other identity factors means, and why you would recommend it be removed. And by
the way, I can’t understand what it means. I think it’s ripe for litigation
risk. Could you tell us what you think it means and why would you recommend it
Ms. Aquin: Thank you. I think you have hit the nail on the
head. Many people have no idea what that means, especially as it relates to, for
example, a pipeline infrastructure project. The question that continues to come
up is about clarity. What does that mean, and, in fact, are there criteria for
that? Are there success factors? How does a company go about ensuring that it’s
meeting that and knowing if it will meet those criteria?
The Chair: I just came back from Ecuador. We were talking about that kind of language.
For some people, it is very clear. When they talk about what is happening here,
for example, camps that arrive with 3,000 male workers disturb the social
fabric. The government is already doing gender analysis for every legislation. I
don’t know where it’s in the process of becoming something that everybody
understands. We will have people who will come and explain that.
McCallum: Thank you for your presentation. I wanted to go to the
section on defining success criteria for the duty to consult. I find that
very difficult to understand, especially when corporations have the history of
working for such a long time, that your company would have already drafted some
form of framework when you are working with Indigenous people. That framework
would have to include an impact assessment, because the impact assessment and
all the variables that come with it, including the increase in crime with a bust
or boom, are included in the social determinants of health of resource
extraction. When you look at that and what the resource extraction does to a
community. In some communities, because of the influx of people, it overpowers
the health system so that the people that live in the area are unable to access
The house prices
go up, so for people who live there, it is actually made more difficult. The
price of food increases.
It makes it more
difficult for them because this group of temporary people are coming in and then
leaving. Then they are left with crime as well.
If you have that
impact assessment, that would have to be included when you look at the end
result of your duty to consult, which would have to be consent or no
Can you explain
what you mean by the success criteria for duty to consult?
Mr. Mar: Thank you, senator. I think this is a really important question that a lot
of companies have paid a great deal of attention to.
Let me start with
this: It is in the economic interest of all Canadians that we lift our economic
activity upwards. That lifts all boats in the water.
Seventeen and a
half per cent of the exports of Canada are in the form of crude oil
and bitumen. Nearly one out of every five dollars that we export from this
country is in this form. We export 3.3 million barrels of oil a day, mostly from
Alberta but from other parts of the country as well. Because of our
infrastructure, we only have one market to take it to and that’s the United
only got one market, we get paid a discount on a barrel of oil. At the same
time, because of our lack of infrastructure, the very same issue, we have to
import 800,000 barrels of oil a day. We pay full price for it. That oil comes to
us from places like the United States, Algeria, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. It
comes in tankers that go down the St. Lawrence River.
pipeliners. We are upstream. I can think of two cases where enormous efforts
were made to understand and appreciate the First Nations groups that were along
the lines of these two pipelines. One is Trans Mountain. This is an existing
pipeline that they are seeking to increase the capacity on.
President of Kinder Morgan, probably spent the majority of his time meeting with
Aboriginal peoples on the route of the pipeline, trying to understand how this
would affect their particular communities and how best he could create a
positive win for not only Kinder Morgan but also the First Nations groups along
A second example
would be Coastal GasLink, which is a subsidiary of TransCanada pipeline, trying
to move natural gas to the West Coast. Every single band along the route signed
an agreement with Rick Gateman, President of Coastal GasLink. The people who are
opposing it are not even a majority but a handful of the hereditary chiefs of
the Wet’suwet’en band on the West Coast.
Our process has
to be able to take into account all the factors you have identified. Companies
are bending over backwards trying to understand what that means and trying to
breathe life into that kind of aspirational outcome, but they are frustrated
because they don’t know where the goal line is.
This is what we
encourage the Senate to look at, because our sector is the largest employer of
First Nations people across the country. There are a number of First
Nations-owned businesses that benefit from the oil and gas sector.
We want them to
succeed, we want our industry to succeed, and we need to deal with those issues
within a bill like Bill C-69 so that both can win in the outcome.
The Chair: Thank you, guests, for this very interesting conversation. Our time has