Written by Radha D. Curpen, David Bursey and Sharon G.K. Singh
Across British Columbia and around the world, a new relationship is developing between the low-carbon economy, carbon-based fuel, and communities. Governments in British Columbia and Canada have responded with legislation limiting carbon emissions. The energy sector has responded by driving innovation to lower the cost of production and decrease emissions, thereby establishing higher environmental standards.
Bennett Jones was a presenting sponsor at the recent Energy Forum at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT), featuring three Canadian leaders that are helping shape the future of our energy sector:
- The Honourable James Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources
- The Honourable Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
- Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited
The event was attended by thought leaders, representatives from industry, Indigenous communities, non-governmental organizations and government, who all added to the myriad of policy discussions taking place on every table. The key takeaways were:
- Pipelines are a national issue. Projects such as Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion twinning of the Trans Mountain Pipeline are not just conversations between British Columbia and Alberta, it is a pan-Canadian conversation. Premier Notley spoke about the contribution of Alberta’s energy industry to the Canadian economy—and how the province contributes $22 billion per year more to the federal government than it receives in return. This is six times more per person than B.C. and eight times more than Ontario.
- The federal government must continue to support Canada’s oil and gas industry. Minister Carr observed that while the low-carbon economy is evolving, we are not there yet. Pipelines diversify Canada’s energy markets and create thousands of jobs. The Minister emphasized that as Canada prepares for the future “we must deal with the present, by providing energy (Canadians) can count on, when they flick on a light, or fill up their cars.”
- This period of transformation brings opportunities for new partnerships. Progress will require deep discussions and new partnerships with federal and provincial governments, Indigenous communities, the energy industry and producers.
- An efficient project approval process is essential to innovation and sustainable development. Ian Anderson spoke about how the Trans Mountain Pipeline project has been “the most thoroughly reviewed project in Canadian regulatory history,” with a process that lasted years and involved 400 interested parties and thousands of requests for information.
In the short time since the Energy Forum was held, the National Energy Board announced that the Trans Mountain Pipeline cannot be delayed by City of Burnaby bylaws that stood in the way of construction of the project that was approved by the federal government over a year ago.
We need more conversations like those that took place at the 2017 GVBOT Energy Forum. Forums where individuals can listen to differing opinions, generate and share ideas on advancing the common objective of a social, economic and environmentally prosperous society.
Bennett Jones is proud to have been a presenting sponsor of the Energy Forum. As a law firm with almost a century of history in the energy sector, we support discussions like these that help shape the future of Canada.