Nathan asks Why Federal Regulators are Looking at Loosening Drilling Protections

Oil and Gas Industry

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr. Speaker, since the Deepwater Horizon oil platform caught fire and sank within sight of Louisiana, 160,000 litres of crude oil is being spilled directly into the Gulf of Mexico each and every day. British Petroleum is now desperately trying to drill a relief well to contain this unmitigated disaster. These same oil companies are now asking Canada’s National Energy Board to exempt them from having to do the exact same thing in Canada, drill relief wells for their increasingly risky oil drilling in the Arctic.

Will the government ensure the rules will not be bent or broken for any of its friends in big oil?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the way it works in the Canadian Arctic is that areas are opened up for exploration. The companies are allowed to put forward proposals to drill in those areas. They go through a bidding process in order to get access to that area. They have to adhere not only to the rules that we might build into it in this Parliament, but they also have to work with the Inuit organizations in the area to make sure that we have the best system in the world.