Strengthening Northern Partnerships for the Next 50 years...
As everyone began to gather in the board room, the noise level escalated. The room filled with chatter, light hearted laughter, and murmured greetings. A festive atmosphere prevailed as introductions were made and friendships renewed.
This was not a typical meeting at the National Energy Board (NEB). While there is something inherently formal about sitting around a board room table, the group that sat around the table was relaxed and amiable, like old friends who had gathered to share reminiscences and stories.
NEB Board Members and staff gave a warm welcome to their guests from the North who had travelled to Calgary for the NEB's 50th Anniversary Gala celebration on 7 November 2009. Honoured guests included Eddie Dillon, Chair of the Northwest Territories Water Board (NWTWB); from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA), Charlie Evalik, President; Paul Emingak, Acting Executive Director; and John Donihee, Legal Counsel; and from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB) Manik Duggar, Acting Executive Director, representing Mr. Willard Hagen, Chair of the Board, who was unable to participate at the meeting due to a MVLWB hearing.
It is no surprise that this group would have a few stories and memories to share. For more than 25 years the NEB has been active in the North. The NEB has regulatory responsibilities under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGO Act) and under certain provisions of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPR Act) for crude oil and natural gas exploration and production on frontier lands and certain areas off Canada's Arctic Coast.
This painting by artist Antoine Mountain was presented to the NEB by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board on behalf of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, the Gwich'in Land and Water Board, the Sahtu Land and Water Board, and the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board.
In the last ten years, the NEB has been increasingly active in the North, not only with applications like the Mackenzie Gas Project, but also working with Northern Agencies to help them better understand the NEB's role and processes, and by sharing knowledge and best practices.
"We see working in partnership with Northerners and Aboriginal peoples on exploration and development of Northern oil and gas as key to the future economic well-being of Northern Canada," said NEB Chair Gaétan Caron. "By listening to each other, respecting each other, and by sharing knowledge and expertise with one another we are building relationships with the North."
NEB Chair Gaétan Caron and NEB staff travelled to Cambridge Bay in May 2009 and Iqaluit in June 2009. During these visits the NEB met with KIA President Charlie Evalik and other organisations in Nunavut to not only gain a better understanding of everyone's roles and responsibilities in the North, but to find out ways in which the organisations could work together in the future.
Now, six months later, Mr. Evalik is in Calgary, sitting at the table with NEB Board members and his colleagues from the North. "As Canada looks to Arctic resources as a means to both reinforce northern sovereignty and to encourage economic development in the interests of Canadians, it is clear we have much to learn from each other," said Mr. Evalik. "Any assistance that NEB can provide through regulatory leadership, training or technical and executive support would constitute a very important form of assistance to the North."
In the last couple of years a significant amount of work has gone into building relationships such as these, sharing knowledge through workshops and conferences, and through formal working agreements. In August 2008, the NEB signed an MOU with the NWTWB to address the overlap of regulations regarding down-hole injection. The MOU helped to strengthen the partnership between the NEB and the NWTWB, and removed unnecessary overlap in regulation. Joining Mr. Evalik in Calgary, NWTWB Chair Eddie Dillon reiterated the value of this partnership: "Our vision is to have meaningful partnerships with government and other resource bodies in the NWT and the Inuvialuit region."
Similarly, Manik Duggar from the MVLWB thanked the NEB for its assistance in providing training programs from which his staff have benefited. "The MVLWB deeply appreciates the contribution of the NEB to the country in general and to the North in particular. The cooperation among our Boards and staff has resulted in mutual benefits to us all," said Duggar.
As everyone had gathered to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the NEB, it was fitting that guests not only looked back at what had been accomplished - but also looked forward to what the future might hold. As Mr. Dillon so aptly put it, "We hope to continue to work and share ideas for the future. The Good Lord put our head on so we look forward not backward."
Musk Ox Sculpture presented to NEB by Kitikmeot Inuit Association.
National Energy Board
444 Seventh Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2P 0X8
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
- Date modified: