moved for leave to introduce Bill C-485, An Act to amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (transfer approval).
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to put forward the bill to amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. The bill would amend section 85 of the act, requiring that all lease transfers must be approved by the minister, that there be a 60-day period of public comment before the minister makes his decision on these transfers, that all public comments must be available through the department's website and that the minister's decision must be made public through a notification in a local newspaper.
Under the current law, when an oil company transfers an oil or gas lease, especially in the offshore areas, it is only required to notify the minister. The minister has no ability to say yes or no to those transfers, even though the minister, when approving leases, has the ability to say yes or no to them. We would put these transfer opportunities back in the hands of the minister.
Canadians have been rightly concerned about the disposition of their natural resources through the sale of Nexen and through other things that have happened where foreign companies have taken over vast quantities of our Canadian natural resources.
With the great interest there now is in the Arctic, there is need for more protection and more understanding of the transfer potential of leases that are given in the Arctic. The bill would give that protection to Canadians and to the future of our natural resources industry.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)