– This column was published in Sun newspapers on July 24, 2018 –
The Trudeau government has once again introduced legislation that will hurt Canadian companies while helping their foreign competitors.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s latest move is not only hurtful to everyone who works in the oil and gas industry, it’s harmful to all the tax-paying companies and workers across Canada that supply parts, supplies and services to Canada’s energy industry.
The situation involves Bill C-69, legislation that was tabled by the federal government earlier this year. If passed, the legislation would complicate the process for reviewing energy projects.
According to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), the legislation would have a devastating impact. If Bill C-69 passes, CEPA notes, “it is difficult to imagine that a new major pipeline could be built in Canada.”
Among many new changes, the legislation would expand the current consultation process with aboriginal communities as well as require “gender based analysis” before a Canadian energy project proceeds. Keep in mind the mandatory consultation and review process is already extensive. For example, the new Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia took three years to receive approval.
Given Ottawa’s proposed new requirements for Canadian projects, we decided to ask the Trudeau government if foreign oil would also have to go through “gender based analysis” and consultations with aboriginal communities before it could enter Canada.
After all, Canadian women in the oil and gas sector, as well as aboriginal people who work in that field, are adversely impacted every time Ottawa makes it easier to import foreign oil than it is to buy Canadian products.
We were told Ottawa has no documentation on such a review.
But this isn’t the first time the Trudeau government required Canadian energy projects to meet a standard greater than what foreign oil is required to meet.
Last year, Ottawa asked TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project to go through an “upstream and downstream” emissions review. The announcement came after TransCanada had already spent over $1 billion planning the project and years jumping through the federal government’s hoops.
After the federal government changed the rules on TransCanada halfway through the process, the company pulled the plug on the initiative and Canada lost thousands of new jobs and billions in tax dollars as a result. We then asked the federal government for documentation related to foreign oil going through similar reviews. Again, the federal government told us they didn’t have any.
As an aside, Ottawa also didn’t conduct such emission reviews before giving Bombardier and Ford hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support. (Two companies that manufacture vehicles that produce significant emissions).
Have you noticed a pattern yet?
The Trudeau government continues to put up roadblocks in front of Canadian oil and gas projects while giving a free pass to foreign oil that is imported to Canada.
If this doesn’t sound fair to you, you may wish to contact your Member of Parliament. Prime Minister Trudeau’s new legislation hasn’t passed yet so there’s still time to pipe some common sense into the debate.
Colin Craig is the Alberta Director for
the Canadian Taxpayers Federation