Evidence of meeting #25 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was money.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

10:05 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

They're taking place in various communities along the right-of-way of the pipeline where people have expressed concern.

I could give you the names of the communities. I could send those to the clerk, if you want the specific towns. Would that be helpful?

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Yes, please. I'd appreciate that.

10:05 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

Okay, we'll do that promptly after the meeting today.

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

All right. That's good.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Thank you, Monsieur Gravelle.

We now go to Mr. Hawn for up to five minutes.

February 9th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to our witnesses for being here.

First of all, I want to say that I'm impressed that Mr. McGuinty watches Glenn Beck, but that's an aside.

Monsieur Caron, the duty to consult was brought up, and everybody, of course, would agree with that.

With respect to intervenors, times, and that whole process--and each case will of course be different--there's been some discussion about the number of intervenors for the Northern Gateway project, the time it's going to take, and so on. Is there a reasonable time and a reasonable number grosso modo? Would you have an opinion on that for a project like that? Should it be open-ended and go forever, or should it be limited?

10:05 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

I will not subscribe to the “go on forever” part of your questions.

I'd say it's situational. I don't think I can provide you with the grosso modo perspective.

The Northern Gateway panel in fact is an independent panel, combining NEB and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, so I must not talk about the content of that proceeding, because I would be interfering with their independence.

But your question is general, and to answer I think I can just say, honourable member, that our method is identical to the participant funding program administered by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. It's really a “copy and paste”. Separate from the NEB panel hearing the case, we have a panel deciding how much money advisory groups will receive using transparent and open criteria for relevance and utility of the contribution to the case.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Is the length of the process at least partly dependent on money?

10:05 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

No, that has more to do with the extent to which an intervenor is supported financially.

How long a process takes is always based on an independent decision of the panel hearing the case. Three members designated by the board will decide how much public concern there is, what part of this is in fact technical as opposed to other things, and what can be addressed under the board's jurisdiction. For people's questions, the board has never had a time limit, as long as questions are not repetitive and are relevant.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Right. I think that would be the key.

With respect to environmental assessments, how many do we need? I ask because previously we've had the federal government do one, the provincial authorities do one, and so on. It seems fairly duplicative. Is one rigorous environmental assessment enough?

10:05 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

I'd say so.

I'd say in our jurisdiction, honourable member, I don't know if we've been lucky or if the NEB Act is well structured, but we seldom come across a case where a province and the NEB would conduct an environmental assessment separately. The record, so far, shows that we haven't had that.

The overlap has been more within the board itself, having a duty under its own act to do an environmental assessment, and having some of the process requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which I think, in my mind, was one of the answers I gave to your colleague here. I think that sometimes, within the federal family, processes that have to do with administration rather than content distract us from looking at the environment, the remediation, and the mitigation.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Good, I appreciate that.

Mr. Reid, in terms of the process, the Aboriginal Pipeline Group model--and maybe you have an opinion or maybe you don't know enough about the Northern Gateway to have an opinion--do you think that's a good model for proceeding with the Northern Gateway pipeline?

10:10 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

I can tell you that in our case the model has worked and continues to work well. There is a difference between the model that we have--the APG model, I'll call it--for ownership, and the model that Enbridge has proposed for aboriginal ownership in the Northern Gateway pipeline. In our case, it's a true one-third ownership interest with participation on the boards, as I described earlier, and input into the various committees.

In the case of the Northern Gateway, Enbridge has proposed what's called a carried interest, where the aboriginals are given the interest, but they don't have any participation on the board or a say in the project, as we do.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

But in terms of establishing an economic base, would it have the same general impact?

10:10 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

At the end of the day, in terms of the sheer revenue, yes, the models would be similar in that case.