I have waited to blog on the new oil and gas law in Quebec. The first question I get everywhere is what does the new law mean. I have given it time to gain some perspective. After running a five year advocacy campaign in one sense it’s like winning a marathon. Are you more glad you won or more glad it’s over?
This new law based on the new Quebec energy law is without question historic.
Quebec as a hydrocarbon producer will be stronger economically and more independent. It will also have more in common with the rest of Canada. I believe, as I have since 1992, that Quebec as a hydrocarbon producer changes its relationship to the rest of the country. We already saw this begin with the pipeline debates.
Even more interesting is we have seen Quebec leading Canada on some hydrocarbon issues. The most comprehensive independent study on modern oil and gas extraction was undertaken in Quebec with the Strategic Environmental Assessment. The approach taken with the Green Book as a road map for social license is a ground-breaking idea as well.
Different approaches in Quebec fit with competitive Federalism and I believe can help to ensure Canada remains a global leader in energy.
The new law is also an affirmation for a new approach to communications. The debacle in 2010 was primary blamed on poor execution by leaders of the oil and gas industry. I had a first row seat and I disagree. The execution was fine. It was the playbook that was wrong. The standard public relations model of the past simply is out of date and our industry’s results on a number of files including Quebec in 2010 are testament to that. When the ladder is against the wrong wall it doesn’t matter well you climb it.
Our approach of coalition building and communications aimed at advocating for our industry and our product was obviously more successful. I think it’s a model the whole industry needs to learn and adopt.
Finally to answer the question of what does this law means for Questerre. The door has stayed open to developing our world-class discovery of the cleanest source of natural gas in North America. However, we are not going to change our approach. We will continue to move forward step by step. We will follow the Green Book recommendations to gain social license. Finally, we are not going into communities that do not want us.
So the answer is an historic change means we get to do more of the same.