Canadian Federal Election: What the Resource Industry Wants

In the lead up to the Canadian federal election on October 21, Canadian politicians have been wearing out their shoe leather by making sales pitches on why they should represent their local ridings in Ottawa, and party leaders have been squaring off in national debates.

Given how much influence government policy has over the resources industry, the Investing News Network (INN) reached out to the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) — three bodies that represent the interests of the resources industry.

Pierre Gratton of MAC focused on a desire for policy stability for the industry, while Ben Brunnen of CAPP talked about the importance of Canada’s role in a global approach to climate policy and the PDAC shared its wish list of priorities for the next Canadian parliament.

Gratton, who is president and CEO of MAC, said that, above all, what the resources industry wants is stability.

“We’ve gone through several years of significant regulatory reform, starting with the Harper government then with the Trudeau government — and we would like to have this back and forth and constant churn and change stop for awhile, because that uncertainty is harmful to business,” he said.

He went on to discuss the Conservative Party’s well-known desire to tear up Bill C-69 — the Impact Assessment Act — by saying that, overall, that’s not what the resources industry wants.

“If (the Conservatives are) elected, our hope would be that they would focus on strategic amendments that might help address the concerns of the energy sector … but otherwise avoid a full-scale review and reform of the act. 

“Within our membership we have oilsands members that continue to have concerns with this bill, but the rest of the membership — the non-oilsands membership — felt that the bill ultimately represented a modest improvement over the previous legislation, CEAA 2012, and we’d just like to get on with implementation and focus on that.”

Gratton said that the Conservative platform is selling the wrong message in regards to the resources sector’s thoughts on C-69.

“(The Conservatives) seem to assert that we’re opposed to C-69 when that’s not really the case for our hard-rock miners. They weren’t opposed to the bill. We weren’t thinking this was the best thing ever, but we were seeing it as an improvement  upon the status quo.”

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