OP-ED: Federal Conservatives ‘Gatekeeping’ Atlantic Canada’s Clean Energy Potential: Blois

Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois. (Healey photo)

The following is an op-ed column as provided to media, like The Laker News, by Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois

The Conservative Party of Canada under Pierre Poilievre has often vilified unnamed ‘gatekeepers’ who, according to them, stand in the way of important progress on housing and job credentialing.

Yet it is the federal Conservatives who should look in the mirror as they ‘gatekeep’ important progress in Atlantic Canada’s clean energy sector. This week Bill C-49, an Act to Amend the Atlantic Accords finally reached 3rd reading in the House of Commons.

The Bill is straightforward, it seeks to amend the existing Atlantic Accords between the Governments of Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador with the Government of Canada to allow for the regulation of offshore wind. Originally signed in the 1980s, the Accords laid out the governance and revenue sharing frameworks between the federal and provincial governments for offshore oil and gas. The joint management of the offshore has allowed for a predictable regulatory environment that has helped to create good jobs, investment, and important royalties for the region.

Today, we can use that same model to give certainty to companies who want to invest billions of dollars towards clean energy projects in our offshore. In fact, Atlantic Canada is well positioned to be a global leader in green hydrogen, but we need to create the certainty to draw investment.

That is the crux of Bill C-49, which seeks to use the existing Offshore Petroleum Boards, aptly renamed the Offshore Energy Boards, whose expertise can continue to regulate oil and gas or incoming wind projects. The Bill was jointly developed with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and is supported by the two legislatures, Premier Houston and Premier Furey.

The Impact Assessment Agency has been engaging with existing offshore industry stakeholders such as fishing groups to identify interim recommendations on areas that would be most appropriate for offshore wind development.

The proposed legislation would also allow the Energy Boards to continue that work and ensure that traditional industries are not impacted from new opportunities that are available in clean energy.

Despite the clear win for our region, it has been breathtaking to watch Conservative members from elsewhere in Canada suggest they know better than duly elected governments in Atlantic Canada. This is a continuation of how conservatives view our region. Bill Casey left the Conservative Party 17 years ago for this very reason.

While the Conservatives do their best to slow this down and continue to show disdain for our region, we will continue to stay laser focused on what matters to our economy here at home – and we will continue to stand up for Atlantic Canada.

  • Kody Blois,
  • MP for Kings-Hants