‘Reset’ on Canada’s road to resources

First Nations National Energy Strategy is the only way forward to tap Canada’s resource wealth

The precise moment announcing Canada’s “reset” on its road to resources was this headline splashed across the front page of the Globe and Mail on May 17, 2018: “Pipeline pledge won’t cost taxpayers a cent, Morneau says”.

It refers to the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which Ottawa had already approved but which now was in big trouble as a result of the proponent’s inability to access its terminal on account of protests.

There it was in black and white. Formal, high-level political recognition (by Finance Minister Bill Morneau) that resource projects in modern day Canada needed to be de-risked through direct federal government intervention. And as we were about to learn, this pipeline needed more than de-risking: It needed outright rescuing. Ottawa paid billions to assume Kinder Morgan’s ownership position, as the latter headed for the exits.

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Resource rulers

Canada’s First Nations hold all the cards on the road to resource development going forward.

Canada’s new government has lowered the boom on resource extraction approvals that don’t meet federal expectations for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. So who wants to be the next batter up in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export sweepstakes – the first to test Ottawa’s resolve on meeting one of the Trudeau government’s primary election pledges?

It may come as a surprise to learn that Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has already approved a west coast LNG export project as one of her first executive decisions, notably doing so one week before subjecting another LNG export project to further intense regulatory scrutiny.

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