Some final thoughts as public consultation ends

01/12/2015 - Marc Léger, John McLaughlin and Cheryl M.G. Robertson

Thank you.

As the three of us prepare to enter the final stage of our work – our deliberations and the writing of our report – we wanted to express our gratitude to everyone who wrote and/or met with us over the past eight months.

You moved us – with your stories, with your evidence and with your ideas for the future of resource development in New Brunswick.

We were particularly struck by the following observations:

  • New Brunswick citizens care deeply about their communities: This is a universal value that transcends people’s individual opinions about shale gas and resource development. Local matters in New Brunswick and people spoke passionately about where and how they live.
  • It is time for a new relationship with Indigenous people: A fundamental shift is already underway that recognizes the importance of involving Indigenous people at the beginning of any conversation about resource development and on an ongoing basis.
  • Citizen-led movements bring value to the public conversation: In the heated rhetoric of resource development, protesters are often depicted as unsophisticated and ill-informed. This is not our experience. Rather our conversations with community groups and individuals aligned against shale gas introduced us to thoughtful, passionate people who have volunteered many hours, days, months and in some cases years to research the human health and environmental impacts of industrial development, to host information sessions and to advocate.  
  • Shale gas producers strive to be good neighbours and responsible stewards: Just as we dismiss notions that protesters are ill-informed, we also reject the image of shale gas producers and their suppliers as irresponsible. Again, this was not our experience in our conversations with the people who want to develop shale gas. Generally speaking, where producers have invested in the community engagement process, there is goodwill within that community to continue the conversation.
  • A lot of companies and public institutions use natural gas in New Brunswick: We’ve learned that a significant number of industries and institutions, such as universities, community colleges, hospitals, public schools, heavy industrial facilities and small businesses will be using natural gas as a significant fuel source for the foreseeable future.

All told we met with 70 groups and/or individuals and received 116 submissions from individuals and organizations around the province.

This body of community knowledge will remain on our website and it will be reflected in our final report, which we will deliver to Premier Brian Gallant in 2016.

Thank you for participating in the process.

 

Marc Léger                             John McLaughlin                    Cheryl M.G. Robertson      

    Commissioners John McLaughlin, Cheryl M.G. Robertson and Marc Léger review the contents of a very thick "submissions binder" which contains printouts of submissions received from individuals and organizations around the province.

Submissions