The following is a submission the Atlantica Centre for Energy made to the Senate Standing Committee on Bill C-69 as it toured across Canada.
Thank you for taking the time and interest to hear the various perspectives from a cross section of New Brunswickers.
I appreciate the opportunity to assist you in your role by supplying information on implications of Bill C-69 – specifically as it applies to New Brunswick.
The Atlantica Centre for Energy
The Atlantica Centre for Energy is composed of the education and research sectors, the community at large, government, producers of energy and users of energy. We focus on the regional energy sector and provide information to help the public make informed decisions.
As evidence of our emphasis on energy education, our single largest source of revenue is from the University of New Brunswick where we lead a certificate program called, Energy Fundamentals.
Economic Picture of Atlantic Canada – in context:
I’d like to start by placing our economy in context. The Bank of Canada has recently commented on the underperformance of Canadian exports:
New Brunswick is the most export-dependent province in the nation. The economic gap between New Brunswick and the rest of Canada remains significant.
Although the Energy Sector has been one of the principal economic forces in Canada, it has not become a major economic driver in New Brunswick. In fact, New Brunswick’s transfer payments from Ottawa (what some call provincial welfare) account for over 30% of our provincial budget.
Going forward, there could be strong potential for the energy sector here in New Brunswick. There are proposed projects for oil and gas, non-emitting energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro and Small Modular Reactors, plus potential energy export projects.
If these projects do proceed to completion, they could have a profound impact on the New Brunswick economy.
But these will be impacted if Bill C-69 is passed without the revisions it requires.
Let’s start with what is right about this process: You are here, you are listening.
What we hope transpires after this, is that you take what you have heard and make the changes that are necessary and that includes creating:
Clarity: What specifically are the rules
Certainty: If you do these specific things, the project will go forward
Consistency: This is the process…for everyone
In its current state, there remains ambiguities, undefined benchmarks, lack of definitions, and unreasonable parameters versus other competing nations.
Our concern is that this Bill will push investment to the United States, Mexico and beyond. The C.D. Howe Institute calculated $100 billion of investment has been lost in Canada since this Bill was introduced.
Bill C-69 is not going to address the very reasons it was drafted: enhance Canada’s competitiveness, and provide predictable, timely decisions to instill investor confidence.
With its increased scope of review, lengthened timeframes it will in fact worsen Canada’s ability to attract investment.
Rather than increase pipeline capacity, petroleum is being forced on rail cars.
While this Bill has been under review, oil-by-rail has doubled from 150,000 b/day to 250,000 in 2018. This year, it will increase further far exceeding historic highs across Canada.
Doubling oil-by-rail in the last two years is NOT making petroleum transportation safer, nor is it slowing it down. It merely finds a different way to market.
The net result will be that no investment is made in state-of-the-art pipelines, yet other transport will continue to grow unabated. Bill C-69 does NOT increase the protection of health, safety and the environment by moving oil to rail.
Passing this bill without substantive changes will not balance resource development and the environment; it is not a win-win; it is a lose-lose.
We do not think the Canadian government has “got it right” yet with this Bill.
Put succinctly, “You can do better”.
*Footnote: The Senate Standing Committee returned to Ottawa after listening to Canadians and adopted 180 amendments to Bill C-69. The Bill now sits before the House of Commons.
June 10, 2019
Bank of Canada
Department of Energy and resource development – new Brunswick
Department of Energy – Nova Scotia
Atlantic Provinces Economic Council
Canada West Foundation
C. D. Howe Institute
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Canadian Energy Research institute (CERI)
Colleen Mitchell, President
Atlantica Centre for Energy
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB E2L 3H4