Ottawa, ON – (February 8th), Conservative Shadow Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Ed Fast and Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, responded to the release of the Liberals’ proposed Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act.
“Since the Liberals were elected in 2015, major capital investments in Canada’s resource sector have significantly declined due to regulatory uncertainty,” said MP Fast. “Now the Liberals are proposing the creation of new regulatory burdens, which when combined with a federal carbon tax, will impede Canada’s global competitiveness without enhancing environmental protection. Instead of ‘no surprises and no drama’, what Canadians are actually getting is no development.
Mr. Fast explained that existing legislation provides a science-based approach that ensures both environmental protection and economic growth. The Liberal government’s proposed changes will impose new hurdles to growth and reduce transparency while doing little to actually improve environmental protections.
“The world benefits when Canadian resources are competitive because of our world-leading environmental regulations and social responsibility,” said MP Stubbs. “The Trudeau Liberals need to start championing Canada’s natural resource industries instead of putting road blocks in their way.”
In 2016, Canada’s natural resources sector accounted for 16% of Canada’s economic activity and 38% of its non-residential capital investment. However, regulatory uncertainty and red tape have resulted in Canadian energy investment declining more in the past two years than in any other two year period in the last 70 years. Canadian businesses are also facing major competitiveness challenges, as the United States moves forward with its plan to reduce regulation, lower taxes, and invest in coal and natural gas fired electricity to reduce energy costs.
“The Liberals must ensure that energy investors and proponents have confidence that their job creating projects will be able to proceed in a timely manner and that projects won’t be delayed indefinitely by legal and bureaucratic roadblocks,” continued MP Stubbs. “The Trudeau Liberals must champion Canadian energy projects and provide regulatory certainty, predictability, and clarity to ensure the viability of major projects.”
The Bill tabled today provides no assurances that future projects of national and local significance will proceed. Instead, it builds on the Liberal record of increasing red tape and over-regulation. The proposed Impact Assessment Act adds a new planning phase that extends consultations and provides the Minister with the power to kill a project before it has been evaluated based on science. Upon initial review, timelines for project approval are easily extended or suspended by the Minister or at the request of the Impact Assessment Agency, injecting additional uncertainty for investors. This legislation also makes the approval process less transparent, authorizing the Minister to keep secret certain types of information that form the basis for rejection or approval. It is difficult to see how this legislation will speed up the approval process or provide investors with enhanced certainty and confidence.
“Canada’s Conservatives will continue to stand against onerous regulations that destroy jobs, economic growth and global competitiveness,” said MP Fast. “We will continue to review this lengthy bill to determine what other negative effects our resource sector could experience from its proposed changes.”