Evidence of meeting #41 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 community.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Francis Bradley  Vice-President, Policy Development, Canadian Electricity Association
  • Peter Mackey  President and Chief Executive Officer, Qulliq Energy Corporation
  • Melissa Blake  Mayor, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

9:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Policy Development, Canadian Electricity Association

Francis Bradley

Yes. As an association and on behalf of our members, we've provided some recommendations and suggestions on some of the specifics to, for example, the subcommittee of the finance committee that is studying on Bill C-38. We have some suggestions for fine-tuning some of the approaches, and we'd be delighted to provide that information to this committee if required.

Broadly, we're supportive of the direction we're heading in. For the longest time we have been concerned about regulatory processes that are both duplicative and sometimes overlapping, so anything that moves to address those sorts of issues is something that we would support.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Is that a particular concern in the north—and Mr. Mackey can answer this too—or is it more of a generalized concern affecting both the south and north equally?

9:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Policy Development, Canadian Electricity Association

Francis Bradley

Yes, I would suggest that it's something that's universal. It's an issue that isn't specific to the south; it's something that is a concern, really, across the country.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

So as far as your industries are concerned, there aren't any particular hurdles in the north for the two groups you're representing?

9:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Policy Development, Canadian Electricity Association

Francis Bradley

No, it's the same issues that we see in the south with respect to regulatory efficiency.

June 5th, 2012 / 9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

I'm getting a head nod, so I would see agreement there, too.

Mr. Mackey, as we've seen here in committee, various industry groups come in and talk about different ways of generating electricity with new technologies, etc. As your company looks forward, do you see any realistic possibilities of replacing your diesel-based system with something more economical? Or is diesel the only real possibility in the foreseeable future for producing electricity for the mines and communities of Nunavut?

9:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Qulliq Energy Corporation

Peter Mackey

I don't look at diesel as being the most economical method. A better alternative, from our perspective, is hydro. We've had discussions with several mining groups that are looking at mine development. We've identified the areas with hydro potential within the vicinity of the mine that potentially give us the ability, if we're able to go through the regulatory process and approval process concurrently with them—

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

If hydro is the way to go, what's holding that back for you?

9:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Qulliq Energy Corporation

Peter Mackey

Do you mean as Qulliq Energy, in terms of our being able to develop hydro?

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Yes.

9:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Qulliq Energy Corporation

Peter Mackey

As I referenced in my presentation, our ability to borrow for a capital project, a hydro project, is limited by the debt cap of the Government of Nunavut, which is $400 million. And they're utilizing their whole budget just for the infrastructure needs of the communities within Nunavut, which are short. I've had discussions with different banks, including various energy banks, that look at these large-scale projects. They'd be quite happy to sit down and loan us the money to go ahead with the Iqaluit hydro project, but we can't borrow that money because we fall under the same debt cap.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

I'm asking this fairly deliberately. Would it be useful to you if this committee recommended either making some sort of exception or change in the debt limit, raising it with some sort of proviso about capital projects, energy projects, backed projects, whatever you'd want to call them?

10 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Qulliq Energy Corporation

Peter Mackey

I would strongly recommend and support moving energy infrastructure projects in the north outside of the debt cap of the Government of Nunavut, which is looking at the needs of Nunavut from the perspective of the hospitals and schools. Those will always take a higher priority over building a hydro project to feed a mine and two communities. When they're looking at building a hospital to get some health things done, it's going to win every single time.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

I'm not asking you to go too far out of your zone here. If I asked that question of the political leadership of Nunavut, would they give a fairly similar answer? I know you're hesitant to speak for the political leadership, but would your best guess be that they wouldn't disagree with you?

10 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Qulliq Energy Corporation

Peter Mackey

Certainly, they're the loan shareholder for Qulliq Energy Corporation. If go to them and say that we have an excellent opportunity for a hydro project with a mine and ask them if we can do it, their response is, “It's not within our debt cap. Let's go to the federal government to see if we can do something with it.” There have been discussions about moving large-scale infrastructure related energy projects outside of the debt cap within the GN. I'm not sure if the GN itself has gone to their federal counterparts with that recommendation or request.