Infrastructure projects in Canada have become highly divisive across regional, political and cultural lines. Regulatory reviews have been slowed or halted due to public opposition, consultative mismanagement and a poor or incomplete understanding of where legal authority lies and how it must be used. Current policy approaches to consultation are unequal to the task of allowing stakeholders to work through these points of contention in an atmosphere of efficient consensus building. Using three specific examples of stalled energy infrastructure projects, this capstone presents process reform options for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the consultation process. Its opening section begins by outlining the political perspectives shaping energy infrastructure approval debates, showing how economic and environmental concerns are central points of contention among stakeholders. It then examines the intersection of culture, law, and economics, showing how the values and norms of Aboriginal communities are ingrained in legal frameworks that confer a duty to consult on the government. The same economic and environmental arguments used in the energy infrastructure debate also shape these legally mandated, culturally informed discussions. The opening section then closes with an examination of the laws, policies, and organizations that presently structure the processes of consultation. The central argument through this account of energy infrastructure contention is that present policy approaches are inadequate and require reform. The second section of the capstone presents three case studies of stalled or failed energy infrastructure approvals, highlighting in each case the specific challenges and shortcomings of existing approaches and processes. A common thread throughout all three is the inadequacy of current policy to facilitate meaningful conversations. The closing section of the capstone draws on a range of scholarly literatures to present options for meeting the challenges described in the first two sections.
Lathrop, J. (2019). Case Studies in Canadian Regulatory Review: Recommendations for a Better Policy & Process (Unpublished master's project). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.