Pipeline Safety—InquiryPublished on 15 June 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Terry Mercer
Hon. Terry M. Mercer:
Honourable senators, I rise to speak briefly on my colleague Senator Mockler’s inquiry, calling the attention of the Senate to the issue of pipeline safety in Canada, a nation-building project such as that of Energy East’s proposal and its resulting impact on the Canadian economy.
Earlier this day I spoke on the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications’ report on pipelines and I’ll refer you to those. When you get the blues, you can read it again and again. I’ll even autograph it for you.
However, I would ask honourable senators to take note of some processes that are currently under way. First, the Government of Canada received a report from the National Energy Board Modernization Expert Panel in May that had 26 recommendations, including the restructuring of the National Energy Board and better consultation with stakeholders, including indigenous peoples.
Second, the Energy East Pipeline project is currently under review by a new three-member review panel of the National Energy Board, which has been receiving comments on new criteria for its assessment.
With those in mind, I look forward to seeing the results of those consultations once completed, which should ensure proper safety practices and environmental stewardship when it comes to large energy projects.
In the meantime, it is necessary to have a dialogue here in this place and in our communities across Canada about the environmental and economic implications of large energy projects like Energy East.
Ask yourselves the following questions, colleagues: What safeguards are in place or will be put in place to ensure the safety of our communities from possible accidents and environmental damage? Is the safety of our wildlife, forests, waterways and arable lands being taken into consideration when planning these projects? Are we consulting with all necessary stakeholders? Are we examining the economic impact on our communities that could benefit greatly from such projects as Energy East? Are we being innovative in our thinking about how we can move forward with those projects in an environmentally and economically viable way?
Exploring these answers and having these types of discussions, whether it be from the National Energy Board, the Energy East Pipeline project or here in the Senate is important so that an effective approval process exists to the benefit of everyone concerned.
Honourable senators, I would be remiss if I did not reiterate a possible change or addition to the end point of Energy East, the Strait of Canso. It could be a great opportunity to share with New Brunswick in a project that would see great economic benefits to both our neighbouring province and Nova Scotia and, of course, Alberta.
I for one am looking forward to that being included in the discussions on the Energy East project. I thank Senator Mockler for raising these issues and look forward to future discussions and decisions on this worthwhile initiative.