OTTAWA – Last week, when tabling the budget, the government proposed legislation to streamline review processes for major economic projects.
“Streamlining these review processes will provide great opportunity for our children and grandchildren and hope on many reserves across Canada where at times it seems there is none,” stated Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville- Wainwright. “It is incredibly important that our government ensures project processes are being streamlined so that major projects can go ahead quicker while of course protecting the environment.”
“Over the next 10 years there are plans for over 500 major economic projects representing $500 billion in new investments across the country” Benoit explained. “If we don’t see changes made to our regulatory system many extreme and unnecessary delays will occur. These companies can and will take their business elsewhere if we don't have an appropriate approval process in place for new large projects. "
Those wishing to invest in Canada’s resources are facing increasingly complicated rules and bureaucratic reviews that have grown over time. These are adding costs and delays that may deter investors and hurt potential economic opportunities of major projects without providing better protection for the environment or better input from affected communities.
“As Chair of the Natural Resources committee I have heard first hand from heads of various mining companies and others who have expressed their frustrations over the great delays they are facing,” Benoit explained. “Some companies have had their projects held up for 8 years or, in the case of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, a wait of over 20 years. The unnecessary delays occur at all levels of government including First Nations. Projects such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project along with various other mining projects will benefit Canadians across the country. They will create numerous jobs and require working with the First Nation people on a number of matters.
“If these projects are done right, jobs and companies owned by the First Nations can be developed which can eventually lead to major changes on reserves,” said Benoit. “These projects can turn seemingly hopeless situations on many reserves across Canada into situations where there are major improvements for many on these reserves.”
“Our government wants to make sure the process makes sense both economically and environmentally,” concluded Benoit. "We are talking about the very future of competitiveness of natural resource projects in Canada and great jobs for our children, grandchildren and generations to come."