Speech Article from  Natural Resources Canada

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources Transition Process Announcement

Ottawa, Ontario
January 27, 2016

Thank you and good afternoon everybody. Merci et bon après-midi à tous. It's a pleasure to be here with my colleague, Minister McKenna, for such an important announcement, and I want to thank her for her leadership and hard work.

Today, the Government of Canada is delivering on a key promise to do things differently. With the transition measures we are announcing this afternoon, the Government of Canada is taking an important step toward restoring public trust in the way Canada reviews and assesses major resource projects.

At the same time, we are laying down firm markers so the proponents of projects who are already the subject of a regulatory review and their investors have greater certainty about the timelines involved in reaching a final decision.

Simply put, if we're going to attract the investments we need to sustainably develop our energy resources, then we have to better engage Canadians, conduct deeper consultations with Indigenous peoples and base decisions on science, facts and evidence. Without the confidence of Canadians, none of these projects will move forward.

That's why this new transition process is needed to take us to a more permanent and comprehensive approach. For example, we will implement important changes for two of Canada's major proposed pipelines.

The first is the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion project from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. This project is already deep into the regulatory process. In fact, closing arguments are being heard in Burnaby this week, and they will conclude next week in Calgary. The National Energy Board is then scheduled to deliver its recommendation report to the Government in May.

Based on the five principles, the Government of Canada intends to carry out additional consultations with Indigenous peoples and appoint a Ministerial Representative to meet with communities along the pipeline route so that their views can be fully considered. Additional participant funding will be made available to Indigenous peoples to support these consultations.

As Minister McKenna outlined, we will have an assessment of the project's upstream greenhouse gas emissions, which will also help inform our national climate change plan with provinces and territories.

To do all of this, we intend to seek an additional four months for the Government of Canada's legislated time limit to render a final decision. That will give us until December 2016 to decide whether the project is in the national interest.

We think this represents a fair and balanced approach. One that is rooted in these principles and shows that Canada can deliver resource projects in a way that is consistent with the expectations of Canadians.

For the proposed Energy East Pipeline project, which would transport Alberta and Saskatchewan oil across the country as far as Saint John, New Brunswick, we will also be making changes based on the five principles.

The Government of Canada intends to work more closely with Indigenous groups to build the relationships that can serve as the basis for proper consultations. We also intend to appoint up to three new temporary board members to the National Energy Board to engage communities and Indigenous communities along the proposed pipeline route. The Government of Canada will assess the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Energy East Pipeline project.

To do all of this, we intend to seek an extension of six months to the legislated time limit for the National Energy Board to review the project, and three months for the Government of Canada to make a final determination.

With these measures, I'm optimistic that we can begin to rebuild the public's trust while maintaining certainty for industry and ensuring a thorough process that is fair, transparent and responsible.

This is a positive first step toward fulfilling our commitment to modernize the regulatory review processes.

We will do this right. We can achieve broad support for whatever decisions are ultimately rendered. And we are committed to making that happen.

Thank you. Merci.

I just want to say one thing before we get going to the questions.  This is probably the first time in a while that a Minister of the Environment and Minister of Natural Resources have been standing at the same place at the same time talking about the same thing.  And that is because we truly believe that you cannot talk about economic growth without environmental sustainability.  It's one conversation, and we represent a government together that understands that.

Glad to have your questions.


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