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CAPP slams federal government for rejecting Senate amendments to Bill C-69

CAPP president and CEO Tim McMillan.
CAPP president and CEO Tim McMillan.

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It is now clear the federal government is ignoring the Senate and the will of Canadians, damaging the country's economic future by not accepting the package of amendments the Senate proposed to Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

The amendments to Bill C-69 were developed after the biggest cross-country legislative consultation process ever held. The Government of Canada has rejected amendments that would have made this bill workable. Energy produced the Canadian way is world class. We expect rigorous regulation and oversight. But when projects meet all reasonable regulatory requirements, proponents, and their investors need a level of certainty that those projects can be built. 

"The impacts of a flawed Bill C-69 go well beyond hurting Canada's oil and natural gas industry. Every Canadian will be hurt by driving investment out of the country and preventing important nation-building projects from being developed," said Tim McMillan, president and CEO of CAPP. "The federal government has offered Canadians a false choice between growing the economy and protecting the environment. We can do both. The Senate amended Bill C-69 is a workable solution that provides the clarity industry needs to start investing in Canada again."

In order to attract investment into Canada's economy and create jobs, CAPP has asked for a regulatory system that provides clarity and transparency through the decision-making process. Simply put, the industry asked that the rules be determined before project proponents start the process. Instead, Bill C-69 creates a system that allows for indefinite project delays and the continued stagnation of major projects which will drive even more investment out of Canada. 

Some of the critical issues with Bill C-69 as currently proposed by the federal government are: 
Loss of local voices - Stakeholders and local communities directly impacted by a project will not be given greater consideration in the project review process. This means funded activists living in New York City will have the ability to drown out the voices of Canadians living next door to development. 
Jobs are not important - Economic benefits for Canadians, such as job creation and increased investment in our nation, are not considered an important factor in project reviews. The government does not want to consider potential economic and social effects to determine if a project is in the public interest. 
Project reviews are not the right forum for policy debates - Bill C-69 allows for debates on public policy which should be determined in other forums. The oil and natural gas industry fully accepts following established policies around climate change and the intersection of sex and gender, but ask they be developed outside of the project review process. In addition, it's a waste of stakeholders' time and proponent resources to be required to consider alternatives to a project, even when those alternatives are outside of their own industry. For example, a pipeline project group should not have to debate the merits of a wind farm or mine in their proposal. 
No hard cap on timelines - Industry asked for a limit on project review timelines so companies can gain clarity on when they will proceed to approval or rejection. When proponents consider investing billions of dollars in a country on a project that will operate for decades, it's reasonable to ask for the government to commit to a timeline - yet they rejected the requirement to put a hard cap on the length of the review process. 
Refusal to respect the expertise of regional regulators:  The government's Bill C-69 does not sufficiently respect the expertise of provincial and life-cycle regulators in project assessments. The Bill significantly reduces their role by not allowing the regulatory bodies with the most knowledge of the industry and region to make up a majority on review panels.

Global investors have told Canada's business community, including the oil and natural gas industry, that Bill C-69 is uncompetitive, and that they have lost confidence in Canada's ability to build anything. Major projects are being cancelled, companies are selling Canadian assets, and investing billions in other countries. Bill C-69 is a massive fail for Canadians and cannot pass. 

"Adopting Bill C-69 without the Senate's proposed amendments is putting Canada's economic future in jeopardy, and sacrificing the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Canadians by introducing an unworkable Bill that increases uncertainty for investors and makes it harder for those directly impacted by projects to participate." McMillan said. "By refusing to accept the amendments proposed by the Senate, the Government of Canada is choosing to ignore the thousands of Canadians across the country that lent their voice to the review process."

Total capital investment in Canada's oil and natural gas sector is forecasted to fall to $37 billion in 2019 compared to $81 billion in 2014. 

Between 2014 and 2017 about 60,000 fewer people were employed in exploration and production, oil and natural gas, and oil sands construction across the country. Bill C-69 will put the future of major projects and employment throughout Canada at risk. 

The International Energy Agency's, World Energy Outlook 2018, projects total global energy demand will rise 27 per cent over 2017 levels by 2040. Combined, oil and natural gas will account for 53 per cent of the worlds' total energy demand by 2040.

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