Liberals will force controversial energy bill into law despite protests by Philip Authier, December 7, 2016, Montreal Gazette
QUEBEC — The province’s new energy policy designed to guide decision-making until 2030 will be steamrolled into law despite widespread opposition to the section on oil and gas development.
Emerging from a meeting with his opposition colleagues Wednesday, Liberal house leader Jean-Marc Fournier announced Bill 106 — which includes the contested Petroleum Resources Act — is mired at the committee level and the government has decided it can no longer wait.
“We are up to 140 hours of debate and two-thirds of the bill has not been adopted (at the committee level),” Fournier said.
“The principle is simple, there is a time to discuss and, at some point, a time to decide. The government doesn’t have much choice.”
Fournier said the plan now is to invoke closure, which means the standard house rules are set aside and a ceiling put on debate in order to fast track the bill. That will happen late Friday or in the wee hours Saturday. The legislature is scheduled to recess Friday for the Christmas break. [Why is the oil and gas industry in such an intense hurry for this bill to be rammed through? Too many mass protests building against the industry in North America, watched and supported by the world?]
Tabled last June, the bill has been in trouble from the get go.
It’s not so much the first part which rankles. That section creates a new agency, Transition énergetique Québec which has the mandate to support, stimulate and promote energy innovation and efficiency.
But the petroleum act in the latter part of the bill — which is supposed to create a framework for controlled gas and oil development — has irritated municipalities, the agricultural lobby, environmentalists and First Nations. [and ordinary citizens, families, farmers, homeowners, landowners because the government is transfering their rights to the oil and gas industry. To bring in Ex-Encana-VP-now-CEO-AER Gerard Protti’s Alberta-style “blanket approval” for unaccountable hydraulic fracturing? The impacts of which can’t be mitigated or “made safe” by any law or regulation]
They say that section gives energy companies too much power, including the possibility of expropriating lands it wants to develop. The simple solution, they said, would be to divide the bill in two, something Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Pierre Arcand has refused to do.
The decision left the opposition hopping mad.
“I don’t understand the sudden urgency to adopt this bill,” a Québec solidaire MNA Manon Massé said, noting the majority of groups that appeared before the committee opposed the oil and gas section.
“There is zero social acceptability for the idea of hydraulic fracking. It has to be banned.”
“It’s a dark day for democracy,” added Parti Québécois energy critic Sylvain Rochon.
[Indeed. Why? Because hydraulic fracturing by the oil and gas industry is not profitable when citizens, communities, municipalities have rights? Compare to the Alberta courts ruling that AER has no duty of care for citizens harmed by the oil and gas industry and is completely legally immune for acts in bad faith, gross negligence and Charter violations even when covering up law violations and drinking water pollution]
[Refer also to:
2016 09 18: Alberta Model East: Quebec gov’t to vote in few weeks on deregulating, rights decimating Frac Bill 106; Citizen committees, politicians, Quebec’s powerful famers’ lobby – Union des producteurs agricoles, First Nations, Confédération des syndicats nationaux, Chambre des notaires, Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec, environmental and community groups, 331 municipalities and even Quebec’s notaries ask gov’t to rework the bad bill
2016 07 07: That’s some frac moratorium Quebec! Ottawa (DFO has jurisdiction) not consulted on Anticosti fracking plan to use water from endangered salmon rivers, frac waste will be dumped into Gulf of St. Lawrence
2016 06 17: “A New Step Forward!” Quebec introduces draconian oil & gas bill to give companies more rights than property owners, Days later authorizes Petrolia Inc to frack Anticosti: “This resounding success on the regulatory front is essentially due to the work of Petrolia, accompanied by the experts at SNC-Lavalin….”
2014 12 16: Quebec’s Premier Declares Province-wide Shale Gas Ban after Environmental Review Board (BAPE) says Fracking Not Worth The Risk, “Too many negative consequences to the environment and society…risks to air and water quality…noise and light pollution”
How bad economically and legally are those harms caused by hydraulic fracturing?
2014, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Drumheller Alberta: “There could be millions or billions of dollars worth of damages,” argued Crown counsel Neil Boyle (on the right in C Abel’s court sketch below)
Ernst’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada is now more than two years in process. More than two years on merely appealing a preliminary motion. If Ernst wins at the Supreme court, she doesn’t win anything, she just gets sent back to Alberta to try again to sue the AER, nine years into her lawsuit.
But, a few months later, Justice Wittmann granted the Alberta government a third chance to try to strike out Ernst’s lawsuit against them, leading to another year’s delay and another set of massive legal invoices for Ernst most of which Ernst did not get back even after Justice Wittmann ordered the government pay her “triple costs.” (The “triple costs” amounted to a tiny fraction of Ernst’s actual costs.)
How are “public” interest cases usually handled
when the oil and gas industry fracs and poisons drinking water relied on and used by families, local businesses, farms and communities?
White font: Mr. Glenn Solomon, AER’s (previously ERCB) outside lawyer:
Orange font: Alberta landowner Brent O’Neill that Mr. Solomon is advising