Natural Resources Minister Carr Leaves More Questions than Answers at Natural Resources Committee

Ottawa- Yesterday, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources to answer questions about his mandate and actions he and his government have taken to date.  

“For decades, Canada's energy innovation and regulatory best practices and enforcement, particularly those from Alberta, have been exported to and adopted in oil-producing regions around the world,” said Shannon Stubbs, Member of Parliament for Lakeland. “The Minister did not mention this as he addressed the committee, while addressing Canada’s strengths in other sectors of our natural resource development.”

“The Minister failed to provide any details about the government's new planned regulatory changes, about which I asked.  A continued lack of clarity from the Minister only reinforces the instability and uncertainty that the government is creating by announcing regulatory changes, increasing costs and time delays, for the energy sector, which already faces a major economic challenge in the current low oil price context,” said M.P. Stubbs. “The combination of low oil prices and government uncertainty causes job losses across the country, including in my riding of Lakeland.”

On January 27th, Minister Carr announced interim measures complicating and extending the approval of essential energy infrastructure. The announcement of five principles that will guide the government’s decisions has caused confusion for stakeholders, project proponents and the industry as a whole.

During the opening comments of his hour-long appearance at the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Minister Carr provided an overview of the Liberal government’s approach to natural resources, however the Minister failed to recognize the importance of Alberta’s world-leading oil and gas industry.

The Liberal government has also announced a new process where greenhouse gas emissions resulting from pipeline projects will be analyzed and the results presented to the Cabinet, who will then make the final approval decision.  This will be separate from and will take place after the existing National Energy Board process, adding new complications and increased delays for project decisions.  The process is being further politicized by the injection of a ministerial representative who will collect public feedback from communities affected by natural resources projects.

“Given my background in policy development, communications and stakeholder relations in heavy oil and oil sands, and promoting Alberta’s service, supply and technology companies, the Minister did not need to take up the committee’s time repeating my point to him,” said M.P. Stubbs.  “Instead, he should have provided information and details for the clarity I requested that would actually assist the businesses, workers, families and communities being impacted by the challenges in the energy sector, which affect all sectors and all provinces across Canada.”