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Arctic oil moratorium extended

Northern Canadians 'need certainty and hope' over resource development, says MP Zimmer
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer

Local MP Bob Zimmer is criticizing a continued ban on oil and gas licensing and development in Canada’s Arctic region.

The federal Opposition critic for northern affairs and Arctic sovereignty, Zimmer said in a statement released Wednesday that a five-year review of the 2016 moratorium should have been completed by the end 2021.

The review's delay, however, “has resulted in the order to prohibit oil and gas extraction in offshore Canadian Arctic waters to be extended once again, this time until December 2023,” Zimmer stated.

“Conservatives have always said that it should be northerners who decide on the level of development and opportunities that they want in the north,” Zimmer said.

“We have long supported economic development in the territories and northern provinces and the responsible development of our natural resources demonstrating Canada’s presence in the North and key to Canadian sovereignty.”

The CBC reported this week that a federal suspension of oil and gas activity in the Arctic was extended to mid-December of this year.

Delays have also drawn concern from at least one regional politician in the Northwest Territories, MLA Jackie Jacobson.

"We need employment," Jacobson told CBC. "Right now people are really suffering in regards to work."

In his statement, Zimmer said northern Canadians “need certainty and hope,” framing the delay on as an "'Ottawa-knows-best' approach to governing Canada’s North.”

"Canada has the highest standards for oil and gas work on offshore Canadian Arctic waters and we are proud of our Canadian workers,” Zimmer stated. “This Liberal government should be proud of them and this industry instead of hurting them.”

Meanwhile, energy-hungry Germany welcomed its first regular shipment of liquefied natural gas from the United States this week on Jan. 3, according to the Associated Press.

The facility in Wilhelmshaven is one of several such terminals being put in place to help the country, and Europe, avert an energy supply shortage and replace energy supplies it previously received from Russia.

During a visit with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau questioned whether there was a business case for new LNG infrastructure investments on Canada's east coast.

— with files from Associated Press, Canadian Press