HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s energy minister says he’s satisfied with federal legislation aimed at improving safety in the offshore energy sector even though it doesn’t call for an independent safety agency, a measure he pushed for while in Opposition.
Andrew Younger says while he’d prefer to see an independent body, Ottawa’s proposal to have an independent safety officer within the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is good enough — for now.
In 2011, while in Opposition, Younger said a stand-alone, independent watchdog was a must.
Newfoundland MP Ryan Cleary says his party supports Bill C-5, saying it is a good first step, but the New Democrat says having a separate safety division within the offshore boards for his province and Nova Scotia is not good enough.
Cleary says an inquiry into a 2009 offshore helicopter crash that claimed 17 lives highlighted the inherent conflict of interest that results when industry regulators oversee safety standards.
The federal government has argued that the provinces’ two regulatory boards are already independent of the industry, saying the creation of another regulator would do nothing to enhance safety.