AME Roundup: Scheer promises to cut red tape

Federal Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer at AME Roundup 2019 in Vancouver. Photo credit: Velour Productions/AME.Federal Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer at AME Roundup 2019 in Vancouver. Photo credit: Velour Productions/AME.

VANCOUVER — A Canadian government led by Andrew Scheer, the current leader of the official opposition Conservative Party of Canada, would repeal legislation currently before the Canadian Senate that he argues hobbles resource development.

Speaking at the Association of Mineral Exploration’s (AME) Roundup convention, Scheer said if a Conservative government is elected this coming October, it will “develop a process that aims to get things done in this country.”

He reminded the audience that 3,700 businesses across Canada are involved in mining, which is also the largest employer of indigenous people in the country.

The federal Bills C-55, C-68 and C-69 are an “alphabet soup of regulatory burden,” and Conservatives would repeal C-69 in particular, Scheer said.

Bill C-69 would revamp the rules around environmental assessment of major resource projects and changes the input from third parties in the review process. Scheer calls the bill “too flawed” and “a pipeline killer” in reference to Kinder Morgan’s decision last year to cancel its Trans Mountain oil pipeline project across B.C. amid public opposition. The Canadian government later purchased the project for $4.5 billion.

Scheer warned if a Liberal government is re-elected, taxes will go up and regulations will become more stringent, crimping industry.

“We have to provide incentives to keep our industry competitive so that those jobs stay here in Canada and investment opportunities don’t leave our country for others around the world.” He bemoaned the fact that getting a mine from initial exploration to production can take up to 20 years, and named Australia as a jurisdiction he would like Canada to compete with and beat.

Scheer took three questions from the AME board, who asked Scheer what the Conservative Party would do regarding the Species at Risk Act as it relates to the threatened southern B.C. mountain caribou; how the party would create more certainty around industry and indigenous groups with respect to resource development; and what the CPC would do to facilitate mineral exploration financing.

Scheer said his party supports the mineral exploration tax credits made permanent by the B.C. government in late January, adding the industry should “stay tuned” for a CPC announcement regarding mining financing. The federal government already recently committed to a five-year renewal of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) in its fall economic statement.

“We do realize the value of those particular types of provisions in confronting the front-end development costs of mining more easy to bear, and we’ll have something very exciting to share in the short term about what a Conservative government would do to incentivize and facilitate that type of capital investment,” he said.

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