by Mike De Souza
OTTAWA — Environment Canada has spent at least $331,389 to develop long-awaited oil and gas regulations that are still under development, said Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq in a newly-released document tabled in Parliament.
The spending includes about $187,000 in payments for consultants that helped the department purchase oil and gas industry information, technological support as well as advice on how to proceed with the regulations that don’t yet exist.
The firms consulted include Navius Research Inc., a Vancouver-based firm that focuses on climate change policies and has done extensive research into options for putting a price on carbon pollution such as a carbon tax.
Environment Canada said it also consulted three other firms, Systematic Solutions Inc., Baker and O’Brien Incorporated, Kimacal Energy Strategies Limited as well as Benoit Laplante, an environmental economist and adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy.
The spending also includes about $135,680 in travel costs, $4,772 for room rentals and related hospitality, and $3,643 for overtime wages, Aglukkaq said in the document, prepared in response to questions raised by Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan, a scientist who contributed to reviews of scientific literature by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Successive Conservative environment ministers in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government have pledged to deliver a plan to crack down on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from industrial activity, but all have failed to meet their own deadlines to introduce a plan for the oil and gas sector.