Evidence of meeting #32 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 program.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Serge Dupont  Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources
  • Tom Rosser  Assistant Deputy Minister, Canadian Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources
  • Carol Buckley  Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Department of Natural Resources

9:50 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources

Serge Dupont

I'm saying that there is work proceeding on a range of energy issues, collaboratively with provinces and territories. Government was very clear in its statement in Kananaskis that governments share a wide range of objectives with regard to energy. We're working collaboratively, respectful of each one's jurisdiction.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

So there's nothing in this budget, for example, or these estimates, that we would have any additional meetings with the provinces, with first nations, with affected industry partners? Nothing like that, that we could expect in the near future?

9:50 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources

Serge Dupont

There are regular consultations with a wide range of parties right across Canada. The minister meets domestically and internationally with a wide range of parties. The energy and mines ministers' meetings occur on an annual basis. Officials work to support those discussions through the year. Therefore, there is collaborative work done on energy through the year and it continues to be done.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

It just seems bizarre that we're developing into a so-called energy super power but we have no plan for it. I'll leave that, but thank you for your response.

I'm also wondering, have there been any studies conducted by your department concerning how decreasing the Canadian Brent crude differential, as we've heard from the minister, will affect domestic gas prices?

9:55 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources

Serge Dupont

Domestic gasoline prices...?

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

That's right.

9:55 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources

Serge Dupont

Fundamentally, Canada's gasoline prices.... We've had officials from my department come to testify before this committee around gasoline prices and around refining capacity. There's a wide range of factors that take place that affect gasoline prices over time, from the price of crude oil internationally and the North American market, refining margins, retailing margins, provincial taxes, and so forth. These evolve over time; all of these variables evolve.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Sure, but if the differential decreases and we use primarily oil from Alberta—at least in the west of Canada—for our gasoline production and consumption, does this necessarily lead to a gasoline price increase? Even if this possibility exists, I was wondering if your department has done any specific studies on this aspect of the differential decrease.

9:55 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources

Serge Dupont

If you're asking if the department has done any specific study to essentially connect one to one the Brent and WTI differential to gasoline prices in Canada, the answer, to my knowledge, would be no. Again, gasoline prices respond to quite a range of market factors, international, domestic, and from both upstream and downstream parts of the sector.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

The primary determinant would be the price of the crude from which the gasoline is distilled, I imagine. Have there been any wider studies on this? Again, this is why we're calling for a national energy strategy and why we're developing such a strategy ourselves, because these factors and how they're going to affect Canadians should be looked at. It seems to be a very piecemeal approach. Whatever pipeline is proposed, the government backs indiscriminately.

To your knowledge, there hasn't been anything on how this is going to affect domestic consumers?

9:55 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources

Serge Dupont

I was responding to a specific question as to whether we had a study that would tie the differential between WTI and Brent to the price of gasoline. My answer to that was no.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

How about a slightly wider study, then?

9:55 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources

Serge Dupont

Again, we don't purport to try to project or forecast gasoline prices.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Thank you. Your time is up.

We go now to the government side. Mr. Daniel, for up to five minutes. Go ahead, please.

March 27th, 2012 / 9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Don Valley East, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, gentlemen, for being here with us.

We've noticed the way the main estimates are divided down into 40%, 32%, and 28%. I wonder if you'd talk a bit more about the 32% that is $892 million for grants and contributions. Are there any specific programs or issues as to how that is broken down? Can you talk a little bit about that?