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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

Vivian Krause  As an Individual
Robert Reid  President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP
Gaétan Caron  Chair and CEO, National Energy Board
Patrick Smyth  Business Unit Leader, Operations, National Energy Board

10 a.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

How important would you say the duty to consult was to the aboriginal communities involved in the Mackenzie Gas Project?

10 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

The duty to consult for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline was handled in a very thorough manner, firstly by an extremely thorough regulatory process, and secondly by the consultations resulting from the access and benefits agreements negotiated with each of the groups.

10 a.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

What role do you think the duty to consult played in the success of aboriginal communities' positive involvement in this project?

10 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

In our case it was handled a little differently, because it was the aboriginal people who took the initiative and approached the producing companies to obtain an ownership share in the pipeline.

The usual case is for the producers or oil companies to approach the aboriginals. In this case the tables were reversed: the aboriginal people needed to establish an economic base for the Mackenzie Valley, and they recognized the opportunity available by participating in an ownership in the Mackenzie Valley pipeline to give them a revenue stream for many years to come. So the duty to consult was actually a little bit reversed in this particular case.

10 a.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

How would you feel if the duty to consult were to shrink significantly in scope or disappear altogether? As it stands now, there is a duty.

10 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

We certainly do not support eliminating the duty to consult in any way. It's a very important piece of legislation that requires anyone entertaining development on aboriginal lands to go through a detailed consultation process. We support that process, and we do not support eliminating it.

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Thank you.

I will now hand the floor over to Mr. Gravelle if he has any follow-up questions regarding the discussion he started this morning.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

Go ahead, Monsieur Gravelle.

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

How much time to I have?

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

You have a minute and a half.

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Thank you.

I have a question for Mr. Reid.

The first public information sessions on the Sarnia Terminal, Line 9, are taking place February 7 to 9, right now. Can you tell me where these sessions are taking place, what's going on, and who's testifying at these?

10:05 a.m.

President, Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP

Robert Reid

I believe that question should be directed to Mr. Caron.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

Go ahead, Mr. Caron.

10:05 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

I'd love Mr. Reid to answer this, but I don't think he can.

In fact, as we speak, our staff is gearing up towards going to communities along the right-of-way of the pipeline that was talked about earlier today. There is the pipeline reversal, Line 9, which is not only a reversal but also some facilities. All are on existing company properties, but some people are concerned, so our staff is out there to explain the process and help them identify whether they want to ask for support through our participant funding program.

This is going on as we speak, sir. Your information is correct.

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Where are these taking place?

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 NDP 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 NDP Nickel Belt, ON

All right. That's good.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative 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?