Our industry does not want to work in communities or on farms where the people do not want us. The success of our business depends entirely on the goodwill of the people who live in the areas we work.
Expropriation should evoke strong emotions. Fundamental to our prosperity as a society is security that our homes and property are safe from arbitrary Government decisions.
At the Quebec Oil and Gas Association we share the concerns of farmers and other property owners about the Government’s right to expropriate. We are allied with farmers and land owners on a common sense approach to this issue.
The new law 106 contains yet another expropriation of rights from oil and gas companies. This does not follow the expropriation law of Quebec and there is no compensation or due process.
Industry has been consistent that it does not demand a right of expropriation in the new law. With modern drilling technology we minimize our surface disturbance. We asked for an arbitration process that ensures that farmer’s and other property owners are paid a fair compensation for access to their property.
We call on the Government to eliminate the expropriation of oil and gas companies’ rights embedded in Bill 106. We understand the constitutional requirement for the Government to retain its right to expropriation. The resources belong to all citizens of Quebec and the Government has a constitutional obligation to protect those resources.
However, the Government should commit to restrict the use of this power to exceptional circumstances where the public interest is clearly at stake. It should not be used just so a company can drill a well here or there. It should not be used to take rights from oil and gas companies without compensation. The expropriation law should always be followed. In extraordinary situations where the public interest is at stake the Government must commit to follow its own expropriation law.
We join with farmers and property owners who are concerned with expropriation. We call on the Government to publicly commit to restrict its powers of expropriation to only cases where the public interest can be demonstrated and to in all cases follow the expropriation law of Quebec.