Black Swans Circling Canada’s Resource Sector – by Dennis Boyko (Seeking Alpha – February 9, 2016)

Ottawa Policies Are Shifting Under The New Leadership of Prime Minister Trudeau

“Times have changed, my friends,” Trudeau told the Calgary Petroleum Club. “Social licence is more important than ever. Government may be able to issue permits. But only communities can grant permission.”

The prime minister didn’t help defuse matters last week in Davos when he told international investors that his government wanted them to focus more on Canada’s resourcefulness than its resources.

“The fact is the future of our global economy will be low carbon. That is what was agreed in Paris,” he said in an interview with CBC Radio.

“So the question is how can we manage the transition, helping people to move out of one sector and business to invest in the future economy, and at the same time create the competitiveness countries will have to have in a low-carbon economy and a global marketplace.” CBC, 28 January 2016.

Canada’s new age of uncertainty regarding natural resource development was illustrated most recently by the government’s position on the Energy East pipeline, a 4,600 km pipeline that would transport about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the refineries of Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick. Energy East Pipeline, TransCanada Corporation (NYSE:TRP), accessed Feb. 8/16.

When the prime minister was asked whether he would OK the project if it obtains approval under the new, apparently more rigorous National Energy Board (NEB) review process, he declined to affirm or speculate. On Energy East, politics beats science: Trudeau finds new ways to say “NO”, Rebel Media, Feb. 4/16.

The inference is clear: A green light under Canada’s democratic, science-based review process for energy projects may not be enough to secure federal approval.

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