ARCHIVED - Minister Oliver: Working Together, We Are Laying the Foundation for Canada’s Future

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August 26, 2013

YELLOWKNIFE — The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today delivered keynote remarks during his annual meeting with federal and provincial counterparts at the 2013 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC) in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Minister Oliver discussed our shared imperative of supporting Canadian jobs, energy security and standard of living through meeting the demand for Canadian natural resources at home and abroad. He highlighted milestones in our cooperative efforts to reach new markets and enhance Canada’s exemplary record of environmental stewardship.

“Canada is well-positioned to take advantage of enormous opportunity to supply burgeoning markets in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere,” said Minister Oliver. “This is a pivotal moment when we decide whether to take that opportunity or let it pass us by.”

Over the next decade, hundreds of major resource projects worth some $650 billion could begin in Canada. Natural resources directly and indirectly account for 1.8 million jobs and over 18 percent of Canada’s economy. Oil, natural gas and mining exports generate $30 billion annually to governments for critical social programs, including health care and education.

“It is a strategic imperative to diversify our energy markets, since virtually all Canada's oil and gas exports go to the United States, whose recent discoveries mean it will need Canadian resources less in the future," said Minister Oliver. "A pre-condition of diversification is the construction of infrastructure, to bring those resources to tidewater."

Global energy demand is expected to increase by 35 percent from 2010 to 2035, and Canada is well-positioned to support that demand. Canada is committed to being not only a stable, efficient supplier of diversified energy to international markets but also a responsible developer and supplier of that energy. Our government’s plan for Responsible Resource Development is helping enhance safety and cooperation on natural resource projects even further, and that work continues:

  • Introducing new fines that have come into force that will preventively address contraventions to environmental laws in the pipeline sector quickly so larger issues do not arise in the future, which can range from $25,000 to a maximum of $100,000 per day;
  • Increasing annual oil and gas pipeline inspections by 50 percent and doubling comprehensive audits of pipelines;
  • Creating a Tanker Safety Expert Panel that will review Canada’s current system and propose new ways to bring Canada’s tanker safety system to world-class status;
  • Legislative measures that would require a minimum financial capability of $1 billion for all major crude oil pipelines;
  • Legislative measures that would increase in absolute liability for companies operating in Canada's Atlantic and Arctic offshore to $1 billion; and
  • Appointing a Special Federal Representative who will report to the Prime Minister on key issues regarding Aboriginal participation in the development of the West Coast’s energy infrastructure.

All these initiatives contribute to achieving the potential of Canada’s enormous natural resources. In Minister Oliver’s visits across the country and abroad, he reinforces the message that energy security is a primary concern and that the expansion and diversification of Canada’s energy markets is a priority of the Government of Canada.

The EMMC provides an annual venue for federal, provincial and territorial ministers to convene and discuss priorities and areas of cooperation for the year to come. Plans informed by this week’s discussions will help position Canada to leverage natural resources in support of the level of economic prosperity that is fundamental to our way of life.

The EMMC provided an opportunity for Minister Oliver to announce the release of six new Targeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI) geoscience knowledge publications with national and provincial relevance for supporting innovation exploration for deeply buried mineral deposits across Canada. TGI has just reached the milestone of 200 geoscience knowledge products released to the public.

Media may contact: 

Chris McCluskey
Director of Communications
Office of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

Alayna Ward
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories

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