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  • An Open Letter to all Canadians on Bill C-69 from Canadian Utilities Limited

    An Open Letter to all Canadians on Bill C-69 from Canadian Utilities Limited

    Bill C-69, as it sits today, isn’t just an issue for Alberta, or for the upstream oil and gas sector. Truly, it is of significant concern for all Canadians and all forms of resource and infrastructure development, including our national clean energy ambitions.

    As written, this legislation will limit our ability to move hydrocarbons via pipeline and will impede our ability to generate and move clean power, which is needed to electrify the economy, achieve our emissions goals, and ensure all Canadians have access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.

    We wholly support the underlying principles and objectives of Bill C-69. All Canadians deserve a regulatory system built upon transparency, fairness, and integrity. Unfortunately, Bill C-69 will frustrate and politicize regulatory reviews. The legislation will increase the scope and complexity of federal impact assessment and compound – not reduce – regulatory uncertainty. It will also delay project approvals and provide litigation opportunities for opponents of major projects.

    We worked through an exhaustive process with the Government of Canada to propose amendments that would provide the regulatory certainty needed to enable further development of Canada’s clean energy infrastructure. These amendments were developed thoughtfully by respected non-partisan legal, regulatory and policy experts, after considerable discussion and line-by-line review with government.

    Unfortunately, as with many of the amendments provided by industry, these recommendations have been unfairly labelled as ill-intentioned and partisan – or worse, somehow designed to undermine the integrity of the Canadian regulatory system. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    We urge, in the strongest and most pressing sense, the Government of Canada to reconsider the implications of this legislation on Canada’s prosperity and our clean energy goals. To electrify transportation and industry, connect remote and Indigenous communities, and reduce the carbon intensity of power generation, we need to enable infrastructure projects to be built – not prevent them from making it past the impact assessment process.

    Make no mistake, Canada’s economic competitiveness is suffering greatly, largely driven by regulatory burden. According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, we’ve declined from fourth place in 2006 to 22nd in 2019. Canada is also the second-worst in the OECD on openness to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). And, according to the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index, Canada ranks 53rd out of 140 countries for burden of government regulation.

    Capital investment underpins growth, creates and enables good jobs, supports social and economic development in Indigenous communities, and contributes to sustainability.

    Unfortunately, both foreign and domestic capital investment are fleeing our country. Inflows of FDI have declined significantly since 2013, despite an uptick last year. Troublingly, even Canadian firms are finding better opportunities elsewhere, and capital investment outflows from Canada are on the rise. In fact, since 2015, there has been more Canadian business capital deployed in other countries than there has been foreign capital invested in our country. This outflow of investment will continue under Bill C-69.

    It’s not too late for our Prime Minister to reconsider the amendments proposed, and we urge our leaders in Ottawa to contemplate the unintended consequences of this legislation on our economic and regulatory competitiveness, as well as our national unity – all of which are crucial to achieving the shared environmental and economic objectives of all Canadians.

    Sincerely,

    Siegfried Kiefer
    President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Utilities Limited