Tuesday April 24, 2012

Federal Gov't News

Fixing A Broken System

Strahl: Responsible resource management will create jobs & protect environment 

Released by Robert Pearsall, PA to MP Mark Strahl/Voice file photo


treamlining the review process for major resource development projects by the federal Conservative Government will create jobs and provide better environmental protection in British Columbia, according to Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP, Mark Strahl.


Strahl was reacting to changes announced by Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Joe Oliver.


"There are numerous examples of economic opportunities missed and jobs lost due to needless bureaucratic duplication and red tape," said Strahl. "Responsible Resource Development will create good quality jobs in British Columbia while maintaining the highest possible standards for protecting the environment."

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 burden;

  • Strengthening environmental protection; and,

  • Enhancing consultations with Aboriginal peoples.

A proposal to develop a 396-megawatt offshore wind energy project in Haida Gwaii in British Columbia is just one example of a project needlessly delayed. The proponent estimates that the project would have a capital investment of $1.6 billion and would create up to 200 construction jobs. The federal decision to approve the process came 16 months after the provincial decision to approve the exact same project.

The initiative will also address current gaps in the enforcement of environmental regulations. As it stands now there is no direct enforcement mechanism in place to ensure a major economic project complies with mitigation measures required by environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). There are also resources wasted covering small projects that pose little risk to the environment such as the development of additional office space inside Canada Place in Vancouver, something the Responsible Resource Development will remedy.

"There are enormous opportunities to create jobs and long-term prosperity through trade with emerging markets in Canada but we risk losing those opportunities to other competitors because of an inefficient regulatory system," said Strahl.

Over the next ten years, there could be $500 billion in potential investment in Canada's energy and mining sectors. This is the equivalent of a company the size of Apple moving to Canada every two years. In British Columbia alone companies are looking at investing $83.9 billion over the next ten years in 158 projects in the energy, mineral and metals, and forest sectors. However, this investment is not guaranteed. Companies are able to invest in countries around the world, and Canada must ensure that we can continue to be the best country in the world to do business in.

"Canada is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We are committed to the responsible sustainable development of these resources to bring jobs, growth and long-term prosperity to all Canadians," said Strahl.


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