OTTAWA — The country’s largest oil-and-gas lobby group is urging political parties to ensure their campaign platforms include support for major pipeline and LNG projects and a regulatory regime that would allow projects to be completed faster.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers released its election wish list on Monday, outlining the issues facing the industry and ways the federal government can create better conditions for growth in the sector.
CEO Tim McMillan said Canada has lost its competitive edge as a result of regulatory and policy changes that have scared investors away.
He said it should be a priority for government to ensure major pipeline projects like Trans Mountain are completed to allow oil producers to sell to global markets where energy demand is growing.
Watch: Pro-pipeline protesters demonstrate outside natural resources minister’s event
“With global demand at an all-time high and with global demand increasing at near-record rates and global investment following, it is incumbent on the next government to create conditions necessary for Canada’s oil and natural gas industry to succeed and play a key role on the world stage,” McMillan said at a morning press conference.
The current regulatory system has too much duplication and is inefficient, McMillan said. Regulations for energy projects should not act as barriers to development, he added.
When it comes to Indigenous consultation on oil and gas projects, the lobby group believes clear guidelines and consultation goals should be established, including “appropriate boundaries on scope and timelines related to major projects.”
In its platform document, the association stresses that broad reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples is a federal responsibility that “cannot be addressed on a project basis.”
Group wants 200 amendments to C-69 accepted
The group also joined Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors in calling for the House of Commons to adopt the nearly 200 amendments the Senate has made to the Liberals’ new environmental-assessment legislation.
Without the Senate’s proposed changes, the groups said Bill C-69 would make it too difficult to get energy projects built in Canada.
“Cutting or bolting-on new amendments at this point would be very problematic,” McMillan said.
“If this bill isn’t workable for the Canadian economy, I think that would be unacceptable to Canadians. So we’re trying to support the senators that have done the work to this point and encourage the federal government to pass it as its presented.”
The large package of proposed amendments approved by a Senate committee could dramatically alter much of the bill, including moves to reduce cabinet discretion to intervene in the environmental assessment process, to make it harder for anyone to challenge a project approval — or denial — in court, and to change how climate-change impacts are considered.
Many of the changes are word-for-word what was asked for by energy lobby groups, including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.