Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered the Harper
government's 2012 budget today, mixing together austerity
measures, pension reforms, and the end of the penny.
For the energy and resources sectors, there are a number of
highlights in the budget, most significantly the setting of limits
on the time for environmental review of major projects.
The budget speech cited a need to cut through a "complex
maze" of rules and "long and unpredictable" approval
processes, and stated the government's commitment to ensure
that needed pipeline infrastructure is built to access Asian
markets. Accordingly, new rules will limit review processes for
pipelines to 18 months. Mining projects will be limited to two
years, and all other approvals would be limited to a one year
review period. In addition, Flaherty reaffirmed the
government's commitment to "one-project, one-review",
likely limiting the scope of federal review of projects already
undergoing a provincial review.
Other energy and resources highlights include
Improvements to oil tanker safety, including stronger vessel
inspection requirements and improved emergency preparedness
Trade measures to support the energy industry, including
continuing to advance recently announced free trade negotiations
with Japan and exploring freer trade with other Asian nations
Expanding the eligibility for the accelerated capital cost
allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a
broader range of bioenergy equipment. An expanded Class 43.2, which
depreciates at 50% per year, would include such equipment as
waste-fuelled space and water heaters, waste-fuelled district
energy, and equipment that uses plant residue such as straw to
generate electricity and heat
$13.5m to the National Energy Board to increase the inspection
of oil and gas pipelines
Continuing the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training
Strategy, in recognition of the severe labour shortage faced by the
energy and resources industries
Following concern that some of the opposition to major
resources projects is funded by illegitimate charities, the
government is dedicating $8m per year to the Canada Revenue Agency
to "ensure that charities devote their resources primarily to
charitable, rather than political, activities"
$47m to the Northern Pipeline Agency, tasked with the
development of the Alaska Pipeline
Spending $107M to ensure a stable supply of medical isotopes
from Atomic Energy of Canada and maintain safe and reliable
operations at the Chalk River reactor, and providing $8m per year
to fund the licensing function of the Canadian Nuclear Safety
$8m to fund the cleanup of low-level radioactive waste in Port
Hope and Clarington, Ontario
$1m to update mine effluent regulations
$50 million over two years to implement the Species at Risk
Extending the 15% mineral exploration flow-through tax
Improving access to offshore seismic resource information
Renewal of the Diamond Valuation and Royalty Assessment
Tariff relief, including the elimination of the 5% duty on
certain imported oils and electricity
The extension of Export Development Canada's temporary
domestic lending powers
Phasing out the 10% Atlantic Investment Tax Credit on the oil,
gas and mining sectors in Atlantic Canada
The federal government's summary of the budget can be found
here, and the full budget can be found here
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