Before the House of Commons rose for the summer the Government tabled legislation which proposed to streamline review processes for major economic projects.
It is incredibly important that our Government ensure project processes are being streamlined so that major projects can go ahead more efficiently while protecting the environment. Over the next 10 years there are plans for over 500 major economic projects representing $500 billion in new investments across Canada. If no changes are made to our regulatory system many extreme and unnecessary delays will occur- resulting in a loss of jobs.
The review system is currently a maze of rules and reviews that have been introduced piecemeal throughout the years. This has resulted in delays and the review of thousands of minor projects that have little to no environmental effect. The reviews all take resources – and time - to usher them through the regulatory system.
The proposed changes for Responsible Resource Development will streamline Canada’s review system while ensuring the environment is protected by:
- making reviews for major projects more predictable and timely;
- reducing duplication and regulatory burdens;
- strengthening environmental protection; and,
- enhancing consultations with Aboriginal peoples.
- eliminating useless steps in the review of smaller projects;
Over the next ten years companies are looking at investing $134 billion in Alberta alone, but these investments are not guaranteed. Companies can invest in various countries around the world and Canada must compete for this investment.
I have heard firsthand from heads of various mining companies who have expressed their frustrations over the major delays they are facing, during their appearances at the Natural Resources Committee, which I Chair. There are some companies who have had their projects held up for 8 years or, in the case of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, over 20 years, which is costing Albertans good job opportunities.
Projects such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project and many other mining projects will benefit Canadians across the country. These projects will create various jobs and will require working with the First Nation’s people on a many different issues.
If these projects are done well, jobs and companies owned by the First Nations can be developed which can eventually lead to major changes on reserves. These projects can turn hopeless situations on many reserves across Canada into positive situations for many of those reserves.
It is important to our Government that the review process makes sense both economically and environmentally, which is exactly what we are trying to do.