NEWS

News release: Gov. seems poised to adopt Senate internal trade recommendations

Posted February 1st, 2017 in blog by Doug Black

Ottawa, January 31, 2017 – Senators welcomed news that the federal government is close to reaching an agreement on internal barriers to trade after the Senate committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce report made recommendations to address this multi-billion dollar problem.

Media reports suggest an agreement has emerged between the federal and provincial governments to reduce or eliminate a number of long-standing irritants that have stunted Canada’s economic prosperity. Experts believe eliminating internal barriers could add between $50 billion and $130 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product.

The Committee released a report in June 2016, Tear Down These Walls: Dismantling Canada’s Internal Trade Barriers, which states that Canada’s international free trade agreements make it easier for foreign businesses to trade with Canada than for Canadian businesses to trade across provincial or territorial boundaries.

Senators also believe facilitating internal trade will provide a measure of insurance for the Canadian economy in view of potential changes to Canada’s trading relationship with the United States — our largest trading partner.

This agreement is particularly timely; the committee is currently studying the feasibility of a national corridor that would, among other things, facilitate the transfer of goods across Canada.

It remains to be seen how comprehensive the agreement will turn out to be. Senators want to know whether the agreement will cover long-standing problems with interprovincial wine transportation, for instance — like the recent case of a New Brunswick man who was charged under the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act after police found him bringing liquor and cases of beer into the province from Quebec.

The committee, however, is hopeful that the comprehensive agreement will be wider reaching than just the wine sector; senators are hopeful it will cover other sectors, such as energy, financial services and agriculture.

The committee will closely review details of the agreement when it is announced.

Quotes

“We are relieved that the federal government has finally decided to act. The question is, will this new agreement be sufficient to take advantage of the vast, untapped economic potential of internal trade? My colleagues and I look forward to finding out.”

– Senator David Tkachuk, Chair of the committee.

“Our report is yet another example of how the Senate can contribute to important changes in public policy. I am pleased the federal and provincial governments appear to be taking steps toward the elimination of internal barriers to trade and I urge them to continue this important work.”

– Senator Joseph A. Day, Deputy Chair of the committee.

Associated Links

  • Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #BANC.

 

For more information, please contact:

Sonia Noreau

Media Relations Coordinator

Senate of Canada

613-614-1180

sonia.noreau@sen.parl.gc.ca

Senate Nomination Anniversary

Posted January 25th, 2017 in blog by Doug Black

Today marks my four year anniversary since being nominated to serve in Canada’s Senate. I am proud to say I received my nomination from over 430,000 Albertans in our 2012 Senator-in-waiting race. It’s a tremendous privilege to be an elected-Senator and I look forward to continuing my work on ensuring we expand Canada’s energy markets, diversifying Alberta’s economy, supporting the arts, and modernizing the Senate. A lot has changed since I was nominated but I remain confident as ever in the promise of Alberta and Canada.

Year End Report – Alberta 2.0 First Steps to a New Alberta

Posted December 21st, 2016 in blog, Committee, Newsletter, Report by Doug Black

I am happy to have the opportunity to report to Albertans on my activities on your behalf during the fall of this year.

Thankfully 2016 is ending on a stronger footing than when it started. Since my last newsletter to you in June, we have seen a slow increase in the price of oil and some companies are beginning to re-invest in Alberta’s energy sector. We have also seen recovery efforts getting underway in Fort McMurray. While I am cautiously optimistic about our prospects, there is still much work to do. We still need international market access for our energy resources and a more resilient and diversified economy.  This is why pipelines and my Alberta 2.0 initiative, which focuses on broadening our economy, have been my priorities this year.

On pipelines – I proposed and actively participated in a comprehensive study by the Senate Transport and Communications Committee on a strategy to build pipelines to our coasts. Our report made seven recommendations, in the areas of the National Energy Board, Indigenous Engagement and funding for the Canadian Coast Guard. Check out our report to get the full details.

I am proud of this work.

I am pleased with the Government’s decisions on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion. I was disappointed with the Gateway decision. The issue of market access to China and India for the very large oil carriers still remains unresolved. With the Federal Government’s moratorium on B.C.’s north coast, Energy East, from Alberta to New Brunswick, is now our best bet for solving this problem. I continue my advocacy on this file having recently given a speech on the need for Energy East in the Senate.

In early 2016 I decided to bring together leading Albertans to develop focused roadmaps on how to diversify Alberta’s economy – to become more resilient and robust. I partnered with the Dean of Business at the University of Alberta, Joe Doucet, and together we set out to build a network of knowledgeable and concerned Albertans. We call our initiative Alberta 2.0. About 60 of us met in Edmonton to develop our working plans. Click here to obtain a copy of Alberta 2.0 – First Steps to a New Alberta.

To advance our work Alberta 2.0 has partnered with Alberta Innovates – the agency of Government charged with ensuring Alberta builds on our strengths through innovation. We have begun work with Alberta Innovates to build Innovation Maps for the industry areas that Alberta 2.0 identified – clean tech, agri-business, and healthcare.

We hope to have implementation plans for these sectors for consideration by the last half of 2017.

I am so grateful to Dean Doucet, all Alberta 2.0 participants, and Alberta Innovates for the work done to date.

Since my last update, I traveled extensively in Alberta sharing my priorities with citizens, media, and speaking to various groups. I have visited Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Olds, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Canmore. In every community I visited community and political leaders to discuss the issues in their communities and how I might be able to help. I was particularly happy to visit Fort McMurray to offer my support to this wonderful community.

I have also been active in the Senate. I have delivered four statements on matters of concern to Albertans and have asked numerous questions of Government Ministers on issues that matter to us.

I participated in the Senate Banking Committee’s studies of the need for interprovincial trade in Canada and a study on the importance of modernizing the Copyright Board. At the Banking Committee we continue to study the interesting prospect of the development of a northern utility and rail corridor for Canada.

I also had the privilege of sponsoring, successfully, in the Senate legislation on trade facilitation ensuring Canada’s obligations to the World Trade Organization, enhancing trade, can be enshrined.

In the New Year I look forward to rejoining the Senate Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Having finished my work on the pipeline study I will no longer be sitting on the Transport and Communications Committee. I will continue to sit on the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee where I am excited to continue the important work focusing on ensuring that trade and commerce in Canada are advanced.

Thank you for all your support during the year. Have a happy and peaceful holiday.

 

An Update on my Alberta 2.0 Initiative

Posted December 14th, 2016 in blog by Doug Black

Alberta 2.0 has made considerable progress and we would like to update you.

 

You will all recall that we came together last May for our very productive Alberta 2.0 planning session.

 

To build a more robust and resilient economy in Alberta, we recommended that Alberta needed to focus on building broadly based “Innovation Maps” in the 3 areas we defined

  1. Energy Clean Tech
  2. Agri-Food
  3. Health Care.

 

We urged a pan Alberta approval on all these areas, involving business, post- secondary’s and Government.

 

Today we can report:

  1. There are productive conversations in place with the newly restructured Alberta Innovates – the agency of the government of Alberta charged with ensuring Alberta builds on our strengths through innovations.   Their goals are the same as we set out for Alberta2.0. As a result, we have begun work with Alberta Innovates to build Innovation Maps for the three targeted industry areas.
  2. The identifying of business, government and academic leaders in the 3 areas is underway to head up the development of the Sector Innovation Maps. Each group will comprise of between 20-30 leaders in the respective industries.
  3. The working groups will meeting mid-January to start the process of developing the Innovations Maps – setting out the goals, the tasks and the policies and the players needed to achieve the goals.
  4. The goal is to have plans completed and an implementation plan underway by the last half of 2017.

 

Alberta2.0 is a large challenge, one that has been defined and now action is underway with our partner – Alberta Innovates.

 

Thanks for all your continuing support.  Please spread this news – it’s positive for our Province.  We will keep you all updated.

 

Senate Report on Pipelines

Posted December 7th, 2016 in blog by Doug Black

Today my Senate colleagues and I released our report on a strategy to facilitate pipeline construction to our coastlines. I am proud of the work we did and I encourage people to review our recommendations. Please note that the committee is not advocating a new route for Energy East but we want to encourage the consideration of the Strait of Canso as an alternative end point.

 

Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that Natural Resources Canada, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, industry and academia, develop and update annually a working document of best practices in building partnerships with Indigenous communities in the natural resources sector.

 

Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that the Governor in Council use its authority to make appointments under the National Energy Board Act to appoint permanently an Indigenous peoples’ representative to the National Energy Board. The representative should be chosen in consultation with Indigenous communities.

 

Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that Natural Resources Canada modernize the National Energy Board (NEB) regulatory process by:

• removing the Governor in Council’s (i.e. Cabinet’s) automatic final approval of pipeline projects, thus empowering the NEB to act in Canada’s national interests on pipeline decisions. These NEB decisions would be subject to appeal to the Governor in Council, similar to some licensing decisions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission;

• ensuring that Canadians have multiple ways of participating in the NEB process, including, for example, online participation;

• broadening the NEB’s mandate to include greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental matters that are within the scope of pipeline construction;

• broadening the NEB’s mandate to ensure effective communication and consultation with stakeholders; and

• having the federal government conduct its consultation with First Nations at the same time as the NEB’s review of a pipeline project, and feeding the results of that consultation into the NEB process before the Board’s final decision on a project.

 

Recommendation 4: The Committee recommends that the National Energy Board, as part of its hearings on the proposed Energy East project, examine the Strait of Canso area as an alternative end point of the pipeline.

 

Recommendation 5: The Committee recommends that Natural Resources Canada focus on improving public knowledge about regulatory processes, the economic importance of the oil and gas sector, and its impact on Indigenous peoples and the environment.

 

Recommendation 6: The Committee recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada ensure that the Oceans Protection Plan includes enhancements to the Canadian Coast Guard, including an expansion of resources and bases of operations for the purposes of oil tanker spill mitigation and prevention.

 

Recommendation 7: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada continue its research into the behaviour of various types of oil in water and how aquatic ecosystems can be better reclaimed after an oil spill, as outlined in the Oceans Protection Plan.

 

You can view the entire report here.