Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
To the witnesses, I particularly appreciate your being here, but I will direct my first questions to Ms. Strom.
Suncor is a really serious player in energy generation. You're a $50-billion corporation, which makes your revenues greater than those of the Province of Alberta. So it's really quite interesting that your CEO, Steve Williams, seems to have stepped out and started a really good conversation in conjunction with Ecofiscal on climate change and pricing carbon.
Currently in Alberta you're at about $15 a tonne for your intensity-based regime. What does that shave off the bottom line for Suncor?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I buy all of that. I'd be interested in knowing, and possibly the committee would as well, what that means to a corporation like Suncor in percentage terms or absolute dollars on an annualized basis.
There's a secondary question that comes out of that. We're all interested in a cleaner environment, and energy companies are no different from the rest of us. We all think we have to breathe. In terms of the intensity-based regime, does that come out of your research budget, such that you end up doing research? You set out here a whole bunch of things—good things, I would say—that Suncor is doing for the environment. It's not clear to me how those funds get allocated among issues directly pertaining to energy generation, particularly out of the oil sands, and what gets allocated to projects that are of larger environmental impact, such as looking after water and animals and all that sort of stuff.
Do you have any idea how that breaks out?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I appreciate that this is maybe a level of detail for which you would not necessarily be prepared, but I'd be interested in how Suncor allocates its $15 per tonne and what influence it has on the fund itself.
My secondary line of questioning has to do with the statement by your CEO, who said “Climate change is happening. Doing nothing is not an option we can choose”. He talked about the leadership position and echoed Chris Ragan, “The truth is that a federal government of any political stripe would face significant challenges instituting a top-down, one-size-fits-all carbon pricing policy, especially if associated revenues would then flow out of the provinces”. My sense, having had various oil companies into the office recently, is that there's a real appetite, particularly in Alberta, to, if you will, spread the pricing pain in the form of a tax on consumers or on the general population.
I'd be interested in knowing Suncor's position on this conversation, in 25 words or less.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
To me, that sounds like a tax, smells like a tax, feels like a tax, and might even be a tax.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
You certainly wouldn't want to end the meeting on questions from me; I'm sure my colleagues will be running around trying to figure out how to repair whatever questions I ask.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Well, I can see that Mr. Carrie is getting anxious.
I want to pick up on Mr. Woodworth's Corporate Knights reference. Usually Corporate Knights does a calculation based on information in the public realm in terms of stock price, market capitalization, moneys allocated to corporate social responsibility, moneys allocated to environmental initiatives, and anecdotes and interviews as well. I'm just trying to frame it, because I think Suncor as well is in the top number companies for corporate social responsibility, according to Corporate Knights.
To Ms. Grondin in particular, can you frame this in terms of your gross revenues in Baker Lake? How much is allocated to the corporate social responsibility budget and how much is allocated to the environment budget?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't wish to interrupt you, but the time is draining.
Given that I suspect that the information is readily available, could you convey to the committee the gross revenues that you receive on an annual basis and then disaggregate from those gross revenues the corporate social responsibility and environmental component, whether it's through the impact agreement or not, so we could have some sort of a feel for that?
I have a similar question for Suncor. I want to follow up on my question about how this $15 a tonne gets used. First, how much of it is from Suncor's bottom line, and how does it get used both to the benefit of the environment but also to how you do your work better? Second, do you know how much your CSR/environment budget is?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I appreciate that in some respects it may be difficult to disaggregate the numbers at a committee hearing like this. Again, if you could undertake to forward that information to the committee because, frankly, it's nice to talk about values and the original views and visions of the company, but usually you can find out where a company's values are by looking at its balance sheet. So I'd be interested not only in the number but also the percentage stated in terms of annual revenues.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, on the remote possibility that this might be our last meeting, I'd like to wish colleagues all the best. I think it would also be appropriate that you, on behalf of the committee, thank our very able clerks and analysts for their work over the past months and years in putting up with us, and me in particular.
Voices: Oh, oh!
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you both.
Mr. Fortune, carbon offsets are all the rage these days. Your work is really, in some measure, kind of leading work as far as carbon offsets go. Those were probably not recognized for a long time, but they are now. Do you get any credit for the carbon offsets that you achieve by buying a quarter section or a half section, or whatever, of land?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Even in Quebec, where they have kind of a cap-and-trade system, there's no benefit or there are no certificates issued for the work you do?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
One way or another, about 80% to 85% of the economy is going to be pricing carbon probably by the end of the year, Ontario probably being the leader. It strikes me as anomalous that we would buy carbon offsets in other countries, yet not buy carbon offsets in this country. Have you engaged in any discussions about that with any government authorities?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Pricing externalities is a bit of an economist's fun game. It's not entirely unreasonable but still an interesting intellectual exercise. It also strikes me that the work that you do in retaining and slowing down runoff is a valuable good and service. I'm thinking particularly of Manitoba, for instance, where the lower part of Manitoba seems to flood on a pretty regular basis at extraordinary costs to the people particularly of Winnipeg. Again have you engaged in any conversations with anybody as to the value of those services that you provide?
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