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LETTER: Federal minister’s C-69 comments were ‘hogwash’

Newfoundland and Labrador’s federal cabinet representative speaks via video from Ottawa to delegates at the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association’s conference in St. John’s Thursday morning. — Image from video
Newfoundland and Labrador’s federal cabinet representative speaks via video from Ottawa to delegates at the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association’s conference in St. John’s Thursday morning. — Image from video - Contributed

What’s Noia doing thanking Seamus O’Regan for insulting them?

This is unbelievable.

First, the minister can’t turn up in person, so he does this video for the Noia Conference in St. John’s.

And what does he do?

Tells the delegates they don’t know what they are talking about when they say there are problems with Bill C-69.

And Noia's CEO thanks him for doing the video?

“We certainly appreciate the minister taking the time to do a video for our conference,” Noia CEO Charlene Johnson said.

I don’t think the Noia of my day would have treated me as kindly if I had uttered such hogwash.

We have reached a new low in this country when a federal minister can so misrepresent the facts to a conference and then be thanked for appearing — after insulting the experts.

According to The Telegram’s Mark Vaughan-Jackson, O’Regan’s comments “went over like a lead balloon.”

I guess so — the understatement of the year.

The bloody nerve of this excuse for a federal minister to so insult the competent people of Noia and the overall resource sector. The minister says the bill will speed up the approval process over what is now in place, and right after that we have Paul Barnes, Atlantic and Arctic director for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers say, “This bill is creating longer timelines for us with respect to getting approvals for offshore projects, longer than the previous piece of legislation that’s in place.”

And then the minister out of one side of his mouth says he would not agree with the bill if it downgraded the Atlantic Accord, and then out of the other side he talks about having representatives from the CNLOPB on review panels which decide things.

Well, that breaks the Accord provisions of joint management, Mr. Minister. The CNLOPB is a federal-provincial body, not a provincial body, so its representatives would not be representing the province.

The man does not understand joint management.

And if the provisions of Bill C-69 that provide the federal minister with sole discretionary power are still there, that violates the Accord as well, since it is sole power to the federal minister, not joint power to federal and provincial ministers, as the Accord prescribes.

Is that so hard to understand?

The minister says Bill C-69 does not violate the “spirit and benefits” of the Accord.

How can the minister utter such words when the Accord stipulates in Section 2(d), “Equality of both governments in the management of the resource,” and, “joint management” in other sections, and yet Bill C-69 has review panels that are not joint panels that give equal provincial representation, and the federal minister alone has authority over certain relevant decisions.

The Atlantic Accord was and is not a federal proposal to which the province agreed. Rather, as its very title says, “Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on offshore oil and gas resource management and revenue sharing.”

And the very first words in the agreement are: “The Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have reached an Accord on joint management of the offshore oil and gas resources off Newfoundland and Labrador and the sharing of revenues from the exploitation of these resources.”

And this was all put into legislation of the Parliament of Canada and of the Legislature of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Brian Peckford,
Nanaimo, B.C.


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