I support a carbon tax, but not more oil patch regulations: Former TransCanada CEO
Canada needs to rethink plans for its proposed Bill C-69 energy legislation, according to the former CEO of TransCanada Corp.
“There’s a bit of an industry movement to try to find a compromise on Bill C-69 and, myself, I think that’s a mistake,” Hal Kvisle told BNN Bloomberg in a Wednesday interview.
“I think Canada needs to step back and take a much more thorough look at all of the issues around pipeline approval and come up with a whole process that works better.”
Kvisle, who has previously blasted the legislation, said a key hurdle that many energy firms face with Bill C-69 is the upfront costs of submitting applications without guarantees that politics will not derail the approval of projects.
Bill C-69 – which is currently the subject of cross-country Senate committee hearings – could overhaul the approval process for major energy projects like pipelines, including repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and retiring the National Energy Board. The legislation could also open the door to greater access to potential intervenors in the approval process.
“We’ve had a growing problem with getting pipelines built that goes back 20 years, and it’s not the National Energy Board, so much as all the other related federal departments, that seem to get involved in every application,” Kvisle said.
“Bill C-69 takes a bad situation and, I think, turns it into an almost impossible situation.”
Kvisle said Alberta faces an uphill climb to lure investment, echoing comments made in January at a private event by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper that came to light this week.
“The reality is that institutional investors have lost confidence in Canada,” an oil and gas CEO, who wished to remain anonymous, told BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman. “Harper highlighted a list of things making us uncompetitive and things we have to do to attract investment.”
Kvisle said Alberta needs greater access to more potential export markets to remain competitive.
“The cost structure of what we do in Western Canada could really compete with anywhere in North America or the world,” Kvisle said. “But, if we can’t get that product to the right market it’s a real problem and that is hampering our competitiveness.”
With just under a week before Albertans head to the polls, Kvisle lauded NDP Premier Rachel Notley for the fight she has put up on the province’s behalf.
“Premier Notley deserves some credit for having worked pretty hard to resolve those problems, but it’s not really within her ability to do that single-handed. It’s a Canada problem and we need to focus on it – I think – at the national level,” Kvisle said.
“I think Albertans understand that this isn’t entirely an Alberta issue.”