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What Justin Trudeau's Election Win Could Mean for Canada's Energy Future

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It's been about one week since Justin Trudeau was elected new Canadian prime minister in a surprise win for the Liberal Party of Canada. 

While the new government's policy agenda and priorities will become clearer in the coming months and years, here's what the new government could mean for a number of pressing issues in Canada's energy sector, including pipeline projects, regulatory oversight, and climate change. 

1. Keystone XL Pipeline

The Liberal Party supports the Keystone XL pipeline as a method to create jobs, strengthen ties with the United States, and add flexibility to a constrained continental energy delivery system.

2. Trans Mountain and Energy East Pipelines

In general, the Liberal Party believes that Canada needs new energy infrastructure — including pipelines — to move energy resources to domestic and global markets. However, they also believe these projects must have the trust of local communities, respect indigenous rights, and cannot put lands and waters at risk.

3. Northern Gateway Pipeline Project

The new government is expected to reverse the Conservative Party's decision to approve the Northern Gateway Project in British Columbia, due to concerns over how the pipeline will impact the coastal economy, the environment, local communities, and First Nations.

4. Reform and Strengthen Oil and Gas Regulatory Agencies

The new government is expected to launch an immediate, public review of Canada’s current assessment process. Based on this review, the new government is expected to replace Mr. Harper’s changes to the environmental assessment process with a new and comprehensive process that includes robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction. They are also expected to undertake a full review of regulatory law, policies, and operational practices. 

5. Carbon Pricing

The Liberal Party views climate change as an immediate, significant threat and plans to join with the provinces and territories to address climate change, put a price on carbon, and reduce carbon pollution. They will participate in the Paris Climate Change Conference in December, and within 90 days, formally meet to establish a pan-Canadian framework for combating climate change, adopt national emissions reduction targets, and ensure the provinces and territories have the necessary federal funding and flexibility to meet these commitments.

6. Government Funding for Refineries

The Liberal Party views the refining sector as an important contributor to the Canadian economy, as it provides a significant number of jobs across the country. The Liberals support the sector’s ability to determine the amount of refining capacity it needs to meet market demand.

7. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

As with several of the pipeline and other energy projects, Liberals support the sustainable development of Canadian energy resources — including liquefied natural gas (LNG) — as long as it respects indigenous rights, the environment, and local communities.

8. First Nations Involvement in Oil and Gas Expansion

The Liberals support the sustainable development of Canadian energy resources as long as it respects indigenous rights.

9. Message in Paris on UN Climate Change Conference

The new government is expected to deliver a different message at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December, one that balances both environmental and economic priorities. They believe Canada can tap into the economic opportunities of the environment and create clean jobs. 


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Posted: October 27, 2015