Blessed with natural resources and a gateway to the lucrative Chinese market, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says B.C. is “crucial” to Canada’s prosperity.
Oliver was in the Lower Mainland Wednesday during a swing through Western Canada where he stressed the need to streamline the framework that keeps some projects from getting off the ground for up to 10 years.
“Some power projects have taken a really long time, far longer than really necessary,” Oliver said.
“B.C. is blessed with enormous natural resources that can really benefit our population. But to do that, we need to make sure our regulatory system is efficient.”
Reform is coming within months, Oliver said.
“We’re talking months, not years. We’re trying to expedite the process, so we need to expedite ourselves.”
While Oliver is unable to speak to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project, currently going through a lengthy public-hearing process, many of his complaints seemed to touch on the proceedings.
“We don’t need 1,000 people representing the same few organizations reading from the same script,” he said.
“It adds nothing. We need to make sure reviews are done in a proper way without the redundancies.”
He stressed the reforms would not weaken environmental assessments.
Once regulations are streamlined, Oliver sees Canada as a “superpower” in mining and new energy.
Tens of thousands of jobs could be created in British Columbia alone, he said.