Proposal would require firms to report any payments to First Nations by Marty Klinkenberg, April 21, 2014, Edmonton Journal
A federal proposal to require mining and energy firms to report all payments that are made to First Nations and the companies they operate is raising alarms with industry representatives. [Is CAPP afraid of the bribery becoming public?] Part of an effort to make aboriginal bands more forthright about their resource-related revenue, the measure would require revenue to reported to all levels of government. “We are broadly supportive of the measure’s intent, but we have concerns, and one of those is the requirement for sub-federal reporting,” Bob Bleaney, a vice-president with the Canadian Association for Petroleum Producers, said Monday. “All revenues related to extraction are already publicly reported at the provincial level. “That is why we don’t view it as appropriate or relevant and don’t think it adds any value. A lot of information is already available so we don’t think we have to go there.
“I think we are pretty transparent as it is.” [Thinking about it, does not make it so.]
Bleaney said the industry lobbying group has had discussions with officials from Natural Resources Canada about the measure, which could be introduced through legislation in September and go into effect next spring. Resources officials are consulting with industry, non-governmental organizations and aboriginal communities over the plans. Representatives from the Fort McKay, Athabasca Chipewyan and Mikisew Cree First Nations, all of whom derive revenue through partnerships with oilsands companies, did not respond to requests for comment. Bleaney said the measure differs from legislation in the United States, where revenue that is paid to native bands or their corporations does not have to be reported. “It is inconsistent with what is going on in the U.S.,” he said. “We want to be competitive with our nearest neighbour.”
Michal Moore, the area director for energy and environmental policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, said he believes the measure would be of benefit. “I think the argument that it offers a more level playing field for companies is probably right,” said Moore, a former commissioner with the California Energy Commission. “Understanding what incentives or side payments are offered to any landowners will make the process more transparent. “Open and transparent negotiations is in the public interest, and it makes clearer what the true feelings of the landowners are. It is a way to make sure nobody is gaming the market. “It takes that advantage away.” [Emphasis added]