Evidence of meeting #43 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 yukon.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Thank you for that.

Mr. Graham, can I go back to your comments about regulatory reform? You singled out the Mackenzie Valley pipeline issue as sort of a hallmark example of what has gone wrong with regulatory reform.

Were we misunderstanding the situation when we heard that over four years of delay was because of the project proponent? Are we misunderstanding something down south?

9:15 a.m.

President, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Hughie Graham

I don't think we see it that way in the Northwest Territories. The consultation took much too long. I think it was in the neighbourhood of seven years to consult with the aboriginal groups throughout the Mackenzie Valley and into Yellowknife.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Picking up on that particular case, your assessment is that this is an aboriginal consultation challenge.

9:15 a.m.

President, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Hughie Graham

That's certainly part of it. If there were definitive timelines set for the joint review panel in order to get their work done, I think you would see that project under construction today.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

The government is proposing in its budget—in what's buried in a hundred and some pages of environmental and regulatory reform measures—that there will be a two-year cap on timelines but that any project proponent who needs to stop the clock can do so and take all the time they need, for example, to meet the requirements of the regulatory body.

How is that different from the situation today?

9:15 a.m.

President, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Hughie Graham

I think at that time, if the proponent were.... Let's say the markets didn't enable the project to be profitable, that would allow the proponent to stop or put the project on hold.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Let's say that a major project proponent runs into difficulties right now with aboriginal relationships and consultation and that sort of gums up the whole works. That has nothing to do with capitalization or commodity pricing.

I guess I'm trying to find out what, in your estimation, is the single largest stumbling block to making sure we have a good and effective regulatory system. Is it aboriginal consultation? You've focused quite a bit of your comments on that.

9:15 a.m.

President, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Hughie Graham

Certainly aboriginal consultation is a major part of that. We're trying to say that industry is certainly ready and prepared to consult with the aboriginal people and that perhaps it's more of a Government of Canada issue.

In any of the projects I've seen go through, any of the regulatory process, aboriginal consultation has not been the stumbling block. Where we've seen it falter is with definitive timelines and appointments to boards.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Federal appointments to boards.

9:20 a.m.

President, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

June 12th, 2012 / 9:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

In terms of the projects that are ongoing in the NWT—and I know it's a very different context from Yukon, with 11 of 14 settled land claims, and effectively self-government, if I understood Ms. Babcock's testimony—in your estimation what is the general approach now to dealing with aboriginal peoples? Are businesses understanding that the next steps in agreements with aboriginal peoples are equity positions in the projects and not simply socio-economic agreements or impact and benefit agreements?

9:20 a.m.

President, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Hughie Graham

Certainly one might only look at the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, which has the aboriginal pipeline group as a major stakeholder. Land claims groups throughout the Mackenzie Valley were all offered equity positions in that pipeline and still are today, if they want to get on board.

Industry certainly understands that there is a role for aboriginal groups to play as equity shareholders.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Is it making it easier for project proponents to work through their relationships and get their projects under way?

9:20 a.m.

President, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Hughie Graham

With the stalling in a lot of these projects because of the regulatory process, aboriginal shareholders...does it help to get these projects going? Certainly for any of these groups that are offered an equity position, it does add value to the project but there are no projects going today, so it's tough to say where we are.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Thank you very much, Mr. McGuinty.

Now we're starting the five-minute round. Mr. Trost, go ahead, please.