Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill , the oil tanker moratorium act. I am very pleased because I was intending to speak to this two weeks ago before the Liberals brought in closure on this, but it is part of their whole plan of hypocrisy with their government. They say one thing and they do the other. For years, we heard about no more closure and how evil it is to have constant closure on debate. What they do every single chance they get when they do not like what they are hearing from the opposite side, or before they even hear from the opposite side, is bring in closure. Shame on them, but I am glad that we are able to discuss it today.
I want to correct the record. One of my colleagues across the way, the member for , constantly talks about there being no pipelines built under the Conservative rule. I just want to correct that. Four were built. They are going to say that none went to tidewater. Three of the four connect to pipelines that go to tidewater. Saying that the TMX anchor that connects into Kinder Morgan that goes to Burnaby is not a pipeline that goes to tidewater is like saying that there are no flights that go from Ottawa to Vancouver because they have to connect through Toronto. They do get there. The reality is that the former Conservative government approved and had built four pipelines during our rule, three of which go directly to pipelines that go to tidewater. Therefore, I just want to correct the roll.
The has stood in the House many times promising to achieve both environmental salvation and unparalleled economic growth. He said his government believes that the Liberals and only the Liberals know how to bring about the true formula to achieve this seemingly oxymoronic balance of economic growth and environmental care. They dismiss the critics in the NDP as excessively environmentalist and they scoff at the Conservatives' concerns about putting arbitrary limits on business and economic development. No, they assure the economic growth and environmental communities, they know what they are doing. What better document to prove this finely calculated balance than Bill , the oil tanker moratorium act?
Let us look at some history. Alberta, being a landlocked province, is paying dearly for the situation of not having more pipelines. Our energy companies apply for pipeline permits to the faraway paradises of British Columbia, New Brunswick, and the gulf states in the U.S. Pipelines, being the safest method of transporting crude, are in short supply in Canada despite the previous government's approval and oversight of the construction of multiple new ones, as I mentioned previously. Frustrated with selling a product under market value for years, Alberta companies placed their hopes in projects such as Keystone XL, northern gateway, Kinder Morgan, and energy east. The gargantuan, bureaucratic pipeline approval process in Canada means that most of these projects had their inception in the late 2000s, before finally becoming topical today.
One by one, project by project has made its way through the National Energy Board, and one by one the projects were demonstrated to be safe. The NEB, in doing its job, attached conditions, sometimes hundreds, to the pipeline approvals but some groups were not happy. Some special interest groups did not like the fact that Alberta might get its oil to market and so began protesting. Sensing an opportunity, the activist Liberals, at the time in third-party status, captured this overblown sentiment by promising to redo the process. If people do not like the process and do not like the decision, the Liberals said, then it must be flawed. The Liberals then began a campaign of discrediting the National Energy Board for following a long-standing process that arrived at decisions that the Liberals did not like. They shamelessly accused the NEB of bias, industry favours, and lack of diligence. For many decades of its existence, the NEB was a harmless and adequate process but suddenly, with Liberal votes on the line, it became a tool of Stephen Harper, the paragon of anti-environmentalism—so said the Liberals—and thus the NEB was his way of destroying the planet.
The Liberals promised to reform the NEB to remove bias and make decisions on evidence. What is one of the first things they did? They ignored the evidence surrounding the northern gateway decision by the NEB and killed it; then, they reformed the NEB in a way that does not make the process any better but does absolutely make our process more bureaucratic, a winning formula to be sure. With a few strokes, the Liberals now watch from the sidelines as pipelines languish. Where once there was hope, we are now left relying on Keystone XL to the U.S., the very same pipeline the , despite his cringe-worthy bromance with President Obama, could not deliver; northern gateway, cast aside by the oil tanker moratorium, which the government wants to codify with Bill ; and energy east, of course left to die in the labyrinth of ever-changing rules that only apply to Alberta oil, special interests, pontification, and Liberal indecision. That will be the new NEB.
Kinder Morgan is on its way to the courts thanks to the new government in British Columbia and the lack of enthusiasm from the . It will spend years tied up in court, moving from one hearing to another, until, as I am sure the government hopes, the company finally relinquishes the fight and concedes defeat.
Perhaps if Kinder Morgan had named the pipeline the C Series, the Liberals would be tripping all over themselves to get it built. Oddly, the government does not realize that approved does not mean constructed. Just two weeks ago in this very House, the stood and claimed that 6,400 jobs had been created already for Keystone, even though it has not been started, and by the way it was approved by the U.S. government, not the Liberal government.
He stood here and claimed that 15,500 jobs had been created for Kinder Morgan already, despite the fact that it has not started and they are sitting idly by while this project is slowly smothered. Like the non-stop bragging about historic levels of infrastructure spending, mere announcements do not mean anything has been accomplished. Until the taps are turned on, the 's approval is meaningless.
What should the do? He should champion the project. He should meet with stakeholders, press his claim and make the case for the project to go through. If he can get down to the U.S. and press President Trump for Bombardier, he can certainly do the same by heading to B.C. and pressing for Kinder Morgan.
The current government seems to forget that projects do not magically happen. Budgets do not just balance themselves, and pipelines do not magically build themselves. Most likely, the took a call from Gerald Butts who took a call from some angry activists in British Columbia, who were astonished that the government would ever approve something as dastardly and destructive as the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
This brings me back to Bill . We expect to hear much about how the Liberals have found the formula for protecting the environment while at the same time allowing our natural resource sector to grow. They have consulted far and wide, they say. In the government's press release, the Liberals have held approximately 75 engagement sessions to discuss improvements to marine safety and formalizing the oil tanker ban. It is funny that with a number as low as 75, they have to approximate and cannot count how many they actually did.
The Liberals consulted extensively with indigenous groups, they say, and also consulted with industry stakeholders and communities across Canada. Much like their consultations on electoral reform and the small business tax attack, they only listened to a select few within the Liberal echo chamber.
Here are some other voices from the consultation, though, that the Liberals did not seem to hear. The Chamber of Shipping of B.C. suggested that the proposed moratorium:
|| ...contradicts ...the federal government's stated approach to environmental protection: evidence-based decision making....sends a very harmful signal to the international investment community.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers argued that this proposed moratorium:
|| ....could significantly impair Canada's oil and natural gas resources from reaching new markets....
It added that such a moratorium also prevents Canada from:
|| ....receiving a fair market value for its resources.
The Chief's Council Eagle Spirit Energy Project, a first nations-led energy corridor proposal that has the support of the affected communities in B.C. and Alberta, has stated, on the proposed moratorium, which they say does not have their consent:
|| ....there has been insufficient consultation....
Most interesting is the Liberals' outright ignoring of the fact-based evidence of the B.C. Coast Pilots. The B.C. Coast Pilots, who are responsible for the safe operating of ships off the coast, have some interesting facts. There has not been a single accident or oil spill with an oil freighter off the B.C. coast in over 50 years. That is not something we can say on the east coast where oddly enough we are happy to bring in oil from some of the worst human rights abusers in the world.
The B.C. Coast Pilots have an aggressive and unmatched-in-Canada safety program that has successfully protected our oceans and coastlines. At least a month before a vessel is placed on hire to come into our waters, the pilots do an extensive vetting process that includes all aspects of the vessel: safety records, crew records, past history. Any deficiencies will ensure that the vessel is not hired. This is even before the ship leaves foreign ports to come to our shores.
In addition, in the 96-hour report sent in, the Coast Guard VTS, the vessel traffic services, port state control will have all the necessary information from its last 10 ports of call, and any and all incidents will be recorded, as will all equipment deficiencies, if there are any.
Before the pilot boards, the VTS will have been provided with the deficiencies and the Transport Canada safety inspectors' report. Then, and only then, does the pilot board the vessel and is the final eyes and ears of the inspection process. The pilot will have the final say whether the ship will be put into anchor.
They have other safety standards above and beyond what I have listed, which is why they have an unblemished record with the transfer of oil on the B.C. coast over the last 50 years. That is not something we can say in regard to the east coast. Do we use the same strict measures on the east coast for oil brought into refineries in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Quebec? No, of course we do not.
Also, let us look where we are bringing this oil into eastern Canada from. Six hundred and fifty thousand barrels a day of conflict oil is brought right into Canada off the pristine shores of the east coast. Why is there no ban on the east coast? Why is there a double standard? Is it not a case of pristine coastal shoreline is pristine coastal shoreline is pristine coastal shoreline? I guess not.
The oil that we bring in from Saudi Arabia is from a regime that is often criticized in the House for rights abuses using Canadian-made arms. The Liberals will gleefully hold that country and the oil freighters it uses to a lower safety standard than used on the B.C. coast.
Oil comes from the democratic paradise of Venezuela. This is what the had to say about our great oil supplier off the east coast: “Canada denounces and condemns today’s significant and undemocratic action by the Venezuelan regime.... robbing the Venezuelan people of their fundamental democratic rights.” The minister even applied sanctions two weeks ago against the officials responsible for the deterioration of democracy in Venezuela. However, it is okay to allow its oil to come into Canada with freighters using a lower safety standard.
On the east coast, we bring in oil from Nigeria. Human Rights Watch says this of Nigeria: “Many of the grave human rights challenges he promised to address in his inauguration speech remain largely unaddressed and unresolved.” Again, that oil is subject to lower safety standards than on the west coast. Human Rights Watch continues that Angola has suffered during 2016 due to continued government repression.
I want to read a couple of quotes from people in this House about some of the countries we bring oil into Canada from. The NDP foreign affairs critic said of Saudi Arabia that “These cases once again highlight the Saudi authorities’ disregard for human rights.... Canada must stand up for its values and show leadership in defending human rights at home and abroad.” Here we are criticizing Saudi Arabia, saying our government must stand up and show its leadership and Canadian values at home and abroad, at the same time as we are banning the use of oil freighters off the north coast using Alberta oil, the most highly regulated oil extraction in the world. We are banning that, but on the east coast, which uses a lower safety standard for oil freighters, we are bringing in oil from Saudi Arabia, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world. Even our NDP colleague stated this.
The states about Venezuela that “Our government deplores the actions of the Maduro regime.... [A]nd will not stand by as the Government of Venezuela robs its people of their fundamental rights.” She will not stand by while the government robs its people of their fundamental rights, but she will stand by to ensure that they get Canadian money for their oil. The oil industry has been nationalized in Venezuela, so every single day we bring in oil from Venezuela, we are propping up the despotic regime of Maduro. We sit in the House and criticize him, but at the same time we block Alberta oil and ensure that we enrich the thugs of the Venezuelan regime. It is absolutely shameful.
The former leader of the NDP, a man I have a lot of respect for, has said, “It does not make any sense that in Canada right now, we are importing crude oil from insecure foreign sources like Algeria and Russia, and having it refined at Valero's large refinery in Saint-Romuald across from Quebec City.” He was also commenting on the hypocrisy of the Liberals in dealing with Saudi Arabia, selling them arms and bringing in Saudi oil.
He continued, “They can emote about human rights and Canada's role in the world. What we see them...doing is selling...[arms] to one of the most gruesome, repressive regimes on the planet...Saudi Arabia.” It is one of the most repressive regimes, and yet we are happy to buy their oil, give them hard currency, and prop up their despotic regime. Again, why is bringing in oil from serial human rights abusers using lower safety standards for shipping into the east coast okay, but shipping Canadian oil from the Pacific coast using the highest safety standards not okay?
Industry believes that Bill is too heavy-handed, and first nations groups who stand to benefit from the project did not give their consent to the moratorium. Of course, environmentalist believe that the legislation does not go far enough. Social licence to them is much like the Stanley Cup to the Maple Leafs, something to be dreamed about but we know is never going to happen.
The government does not seem to get it. It writes legislation solely to satisfy foreign-funded special interest groups to chase away investment and jobs from Canada and to punish Albertans and Canadians. This legislation, Bill , is the epitome of typical Liberal policy. It is too focused on special interest groups to look at real evidence, the Liberal government then capitulates, and Canadians are made to suffer for it.
I want to discuss a few letters I received from some Albertans in my constituency. It is no secret that the province has been suffering for a few years between the provincial government's carbon tax, chasing away investment, driving up costs, and driving up taxes, and the Liberal government's carbon tax and pipeline killing rules. Alberta is suffering. We have received a lot of calls to the office about some of the issues.
Since 2014, unemployment has doubled in Alberta. Over 200,000 people are unemployed, 122,000 oil workers have lost their jobs, and unemployment is near a 20-year high. Food bank usage in Edmonton alone is up 60%. According to the CFIB, 45% of Alberta business owners are looking to cut back on staffing. What do we do? We have a government that destroys pipelines and takes away the hope of getting our oil to market. Our communities and families are suffering.
I received a letter from a lady named Sharon who lives in my riding. She says:
|| The job crisis in Alberta affects my family...negatively. My husband lost his job last July, and is still job hunting. I'm worried because I'm the only one working in the family. It's...tough...now, and I don't know when everything goes back to normal.
I can feel for Sharon. Just last week, we held a town hall in downtown Edmonton because the member for refused to do an open town hall. We had a town hall on the business tax attack. We had well over 120 people come out and tell us about their issues. I met a young lady whose husband had just been laid off. She had been laid off as well. They could not find work so their answer was that they would create their own work, create their own jobs and go into business for themselves. Then they sit and look at the Liberal attacks on small businesses and ask us how they can do that. They have lost their jobs in the energy sector, the Liberal government is killing pipelines and killing hope. They want to go into business for themselves but now they are being attacked on that front as well. They asked how they could even hope to thrive in Alberta. It is difficult to understand how, given what the Liberal government and the NDP government in Alberta are doing, they can find help or hope, but I can trust that Albertans will pull through if anyone can.
I met a lady named Kathy who said that her husband worked for a large firm. That firm has is are continuing to lay off thousands, and it is scary living that way. A gentleman named Don contacted our office and said that the Liberal government's lack of a real plan was putting families like his further in debt with no help to recover. It is a struggle to keep up with day to day bills. A lady named Martha said that the continuing lack of employment opportunities were concerning and disheartening. She constantly worries about how she will be able to support her family. It goes on and on and on and on.
What could we do to help? A perfect example would be the superclusters we hear so much about from the Liberal government. Superclusters here, superclusters there, superclusters for everyone. The energy industry, together as a consortium, put in a bid for some of the supercluster funding. We had some of the biggest names in the energy world putting through a package to be one of the named superclusters. They put one through for energy investment, including clean energy investment, and what happened? The government passed them by in order to invest in other areas of Canada.
The government's attack on Alberta must end.
I see that I am out of time.
Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a little about the effects that will be had by this moratorium, and obviously why this consultation is so important. I have to go back and start with the big picture.
I think the sole desire of the is to be like his daddy. Everything he does is centred around that. That is why we have the situation with what I would call the second version of the national energy program. That is what he has done with his changes. I will get into that in more detail.
So far we are seeing that his second version to try to be like daddy actually will result in him accomplishing what his dad did not quite do. He almost killed the oil patch in our country. He did not quite succeed because he did not realize how resilient, tough, and strong Albertans were. However, he put them through an unbelievably difficult time. It was a situation at a time when people by the thousands were being put out of work by the combination of the interest rates being what they were and having to go to the bank and literally hand over the keys to their homes. That was what the's father did to my province and to the people in it. He did not quite succeed in killing us off. We came back stronger than ever. The Prime Minister is going to do whatever he can to try to finish the job. That is what he is trying to accomplish.
If we look at the situation in my province right now, it is not good. A lot of people are out of work. I had some events on the weekend. A number of people came to me and said that they had not been able to work for some time. They were wondering what could be done or was there any way to get rid of the government right now without having to wait for an election in two years. They did not see any prospects or any hope for the future with the government in place. I told them we would be fighting for them and working hard to ensure we would see that change in government. However, we did not have the leverage that could magically replace the right now, as much as they would like to see it.
The damage he is doing, and has already done, is immense. That is why people are concerned with the situation.
The has put in place this moratorium on tanker traffic off the B.C. coast, rejecting pipeline projects that could have been very beneficial for our energy industry across the country. The government continually changes the goal posts. Let us not make any mistake about it. When the goal posts are continually changing, the real goal is to try to ensure that projects do not proceed. We saw that happen, the very tangible result of that when the energy east project be pulled.
I know the and other Liberals will try to claim that this is somehow the result of a business decision by the proponent, TransCanada pipelines. It was a business decision, but it was based on a fact that it was in such an uncertain regulatory environment created by the government by continually changing the goal posts about how one could have a project approved, about trying to set conditions to approvals that would be impossible to meet. It made a business decision that it could not move forward with the project because the government did not want to let that happen. There is no point in throwing billions of dollars into trying to get through a process that is clearly designed to fail. That is the bottom line. That is what it is doing.
I want to get a bit more in to what the results of that mean. What I will do is start with a column I recently wrote for my local newspapers. I want to read it into the record of the House. It summarizes it quite well. Then I will expand on each of those points. I will not use the name, but what it indicates is that the “[The Prime Minister] Fails on Energy, Environment and Economy.” That is the headline.
I will get into each of those points in more detail, but I will start by reading this because it is very informative. I wish a few more Liberals were in the House to hear it, but maybe the ones who are here will let their friends know and perhaps they will change course. I do not know, but let us hope. It says:
|| I believe in supporting Canada’s energy sector. The industry creates thousands of middle-class jobs and is a major boost to our economy. The success of Canada’s economy depends heavily on our energy sector. Most Albertans either work in, or have friends and family members that work in the industry.
|| [The Prime Minister] claims he supports Canada’s energy sector and our middle-class. Yet the announcement today that the Energy East Pipeline would be cancelled is just the opposite of what the Prime Minister claims. Make no mistake: this decision by TransCanada is a result of the [Prime Minister's]...mismanagement and failure to champion our energy sector.
|| The Prime Minister says he supports pipelines but the reality is that he puts petty partisan politics ahead of sound economic decisions. [The Prime Minister] showed his poor judgment in 2016 when he claimed to “approve” two pipelines, but in reality it was the regulator who approved three and the Prime Minister rejected one. The rejection of Northern Gateway in 2016 was foreshadowing of the...Liberals’ attitude towards our energy sector.
|| Under our previous Conservative government, Northern Gateway was approved and construction would have started if the Liberals had not placed a moratorium on the transportation of crude oil by B.C. tankers. Northern Gateway would have created thousands of well-paying middle-class jobs in Canada...
|| What would Energy East have contributed? The project would have created 15,000 well-paying middle-class jobs and put $55 billion into the Canadian economy. Energy East also would have been more environmentally friendly, as it would have reduced Canadian dependency on foreign oil imports. All of this would have benefited the middle-class, the people that the...Liberals always claim to be trying to help, and would have made a positive impact on our environment.
|| The effects that Energy East would have had on our local community would have been enormous, by creating tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. Our local small businesses (the same ones that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister call tax cheats) would have benefited greatly from the increased economic activity, growing our communities and providing more opportunities for our families and friends. This is the bigger picture that the...Liberals fail to see time after time. They claim to have the best interest of middle-class Canadians but their actions do not back up their words.
|| As we have seen over the past two years, everything becomes a disaster the minute this Prime Minister becomes involved. We cannot depend on this government to protect or champion our vital energy sector or our economy. The [Liberal] government has failed on energy, the environment and the economy.
I want to get into that a little further and explain exactly how the Liberals have failed on energy, the environment, and the economy.
First, with regard to energy, we have oil and gas in our country in such great abundance. We have all the oil and gas we could possibly need to meet all our energy demands and to provide energy, and I will point out very environmentally friendly energy, to the world. All we need is access to other parts of our country and to tidewater and we could provide environmentally friendly energy all over the world. Is our energy perfect in terms of its environmental record? No, it is not perfect, but it is certainly far better than, I would argue, anywhere else in the world. Our energy industry always works hard to try to improve upon its environmental performance and environmental record. It always looks at ways to innovate and make that record even stronger.
When we compare that to some of the places we get our oil and gas from now, like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other countries of that sort, is anyone going to claim that is better for meeting our energy needs? Is anyone going to claim that is somehow better for the environment? Is it better to bring tankers into Canada rather than sending them out? I cannot imagine how anyone could reasonably and legitimately make that argument, but people do. It is unbelievable.
We are wasting the opportunity to bring our energy to other parts of the country while making sure we are feeding our own energy needs and improving environmental outcomes. How can anyone argue with that? It amazes me that we are even having this debate.
We talk about getting our energy and our oil to tidewater. We would have the opportunity to do that if the government would quit trying to prevent it. The Liberals can pretend all they want, but we know the reality. TransCanada confirmed that for us. If anyone had any doubt, TransCanada was direct evidence of it, and that is the kind of thing we are going to see under the Liberal government.
The might be able to succeed where his daddy could not quite get the job done. He might be able to make sure that our environment is worse off. He might be able to make sure that our energy industry is ruined. He might be able to harm our economy irreparably. That will be his record. That will be his legacy. I cannot imagine anyone being proud of it, but for some reason that seems to be the goal of the present Prime Minister.
What does the have to say to the thousands of people all across this country, particularly those in my province of Alberta who are out of work? I cannot imagine what he could possibly say to them to explain his actions. It is so obvious that getting our oil and gas to markets in other parts of Canada, in other parts of the world, would benefit our economy, put so many people back to work, and, in the process, help our environment. How can anyone argue against that? It is a perfect outcome. We need to be championing that. That is what should be done. Instead, we have a who either does not get it or does not care. It is probably both. It truly is sad, and that is the only word I have for it.
I think about the failure of our economy. Getting these products to market alone would create tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and thousands and thousands of jobs. How much impact would that in itself have on our economy? It would be immeasurable, but that does not even factor in to some of the side benefits.
When I am in my constituency, I see the effects of the many unemployed people on my local communities, on our economy. All businesses throughout a community are affected, whether they be restaurants, hotels, retail shops, anything that serves our community. All of them are suffering. I talk to restaurant owners and owners of retail shops who tell me they are struggling, that they are just trying to keep the doors open. They are lucky they say because they have been able to keep their doors open and been able to keep most employees, but it is tough. These owners are basically not taking any income for themselves. They are just trying to keep the doors open and their people employed.
On a side note, what does the government do in return for those people? It calls them tax cheats. It tries to go after more of their money, grabs their wallets, and digs out every last bit in them. It tries to prevent them from reinvesting in their businesses to keep going and keep people employed. That is what the government does as a result. It says thanks so much for trying to keep people employed, people who are suffering, but then it gives them a couple of kicks while they are down, grabbing their wallets, and calling them tax cheats while they are at it. That is what the Liberal government does. However, that is as a side note.
Businesses are suffering, and I can give a number of examples. There is one business owner I know who was running a family business that was in business for years, probably longer than I have been alive in fact, and guess what. Because of the economic conditions, it had to shut its doors. That is one example, though I know there are many out there. Those are the kinds of results for local economies, particularly in my province.
Therefore, what does it mean for businesses like the one I just described, which have been great supporters of initiatives in their communities, whether it be charities, local sports teams, or local events? They are the first to step forward and contribute to causes. When they go out of business, all of the great community causes, such as local sports teams, do not get the opportunities. It is a community band, or maybe a local cadet squadron that has a trip planned to visit a site from one of the world wars where Canadians fought so courageously and gave their lives, but they cannot quite raise the funds to do it. That takes away opportunities for our youth to show their appreciation and learn. That is the result on our economy and on communities.
I also want to talk about the effect that this has on the environment. When we do not get our energy to market, not only does our economy suffer, do people in our communities suffer, not only do we lose the opportunity for our own resources to be used in Canada and all around the world, but, as a result, that does damage to our environment. We hear the Liberal government claim all the time that the energy sector, the environment and the economy, go hand in hand. I do not know if the government thinks that means it should try to make sure both of them are worse off, because that is what it seems like. When our energy products do not get to market, instead of bringing oil in from places like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or wherever it might be, it means that the oil we receive is less environmentally friendly than the oil we are producing right here in Canada, which we are continually trying to improve every day.
We have a government that is doing everything it can to make sure our pipeline projects cannot be built, that our energy cannot get to market and, in the process, it is harming our economy, our energy sector, our communities, and our environment. All of those things are worse off because of the and the Liberal government, and they are getting worse by the day. The government does not seem to care and does not seem to get it, and that is sad. That is, in fact, pathetic.
I hope that the Liberals will think twice, change their course, and realize we can do so much for our economy and the environment if we can get our energy products to market. That is why this study and the opportunity for people to be heard on this issue are so important. For the government to shut down debate on second reading after a couple of hours and not provide an opportunity for Canadians, people in my province who are suffering and communities that are hurting, to have their say and tell the government of its terrible actions is truly an atrocity.
Mr. Speaker, it really is a pleasure for me to rise today in our House of Commons to speak in defence of Canada's energy sector, a sector that is very important to me personally and very important to my constituency. It is our energy sector that brought my grandfather to Alberta. He was there during the first national energy program. Unfortunately, now we are living through what looks very much like the second iteration of the national energy program. I will speak to that a little bit later on.
The energy sector is deeply important to me as well as to my constituency. My constituency is called Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, but it covers Canada's industrial heartland. It is a hub of energy-related manufacturing.
It is interesting to hear some members, such as the , suggest that somehow we have to make a choice between upgrading energy-related manufacturing and pipelines, when, in fact, people in the energy sector in my region say that we can and we should look for opportunities to do more of both. We need those pipelines to export, regardless of whether we are exporting final product or an earlier-stage product. There are opportunities, as well, to develop our upgrading and refining capacity, certainly. We see those opportunities being developed in my constituency, directly in our industrial heartland.
It is the policies of the government, such as its carbon tax, its attack on small business, and the general uncertainty around the regulatory environment, that are killing not only the transportation section of the energy sector, not only the extractive sector, but also the value-added and upgrading section of the energy sector.
There was an American journalist named Michael Kinsley who once quipped that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. I think this is an interesting quote. That might be rephrased a little to say that a gaffe is when politicians say what they actually think.
When we look at some of the comments that have been made by ministers and by the about the energy sector or various other issues, oftentimes some of these one-off comments are dismissed as gaffes or mistakes, or we are told, “Don't worry, the tweet was deleted; he offered a clarification”, or whatever the case may be.
However, when we start to see a pattern when comments are made, it is worth reflecting on this Kinsley quote. These are gaffes in the sense that these are cases when people are actually letting the curtain slip and are showing what their real agenda is with respect to our energy sector.
For example, we have, in this House, the , who, ironically perhaps, sits right beside the . She tweeted, in 2012, “It's time to landlock Alberta's tar sands.”
That is pretty offensive language, but this came from someone who is now a minister in this government, saying, “It's time to landlock Alberta's tar sands.” The clarification was issued. The tweet was deleted. However, now this person is sitting in cabinet, and it makes people wonder what her views are with respect to Alberta's energy sector. Actually, we do not really have to wonder, because she has told us what her views are with respect to the energy sector.
We had the say, more recently, that it is time to phase out Canada's oil sands. He made a comment once that he thinks Canada does not do well when we have people from my part of the country in key leadership positions.
These kinds of comments that are very derogatory towards Alberta, and in particular suggest an opposition to energy development and a desire to landlock our energy resources, are sometimes characterized as mistakes or gaffes. However, I think, actually, that they are quite revealing. They are gaffes in the sense that there are moments when the curtain slips and the and members of his cabinet actually say things they really, truly believe.
What was the agenda the minister in question had in mind when she said, “landlock Alberta's tar sands”? Of course, we say oil sands, but that is the quote.
We had two new pipeline projects within Canada, and there were other pipeline expansion projects. There was the pipeline through the United States, the Keystone XL, but two new pipeline projects to tidewater were proposed within Canada, one going west and one going east. At the time of the last election, the pipeline going west, the northern gateway pipeline, had been approved. The pipeline going east, energy east, was in process. If they were trying to do what the minister said she wanted to do, which is landlock our energy resources, I guess they would have to come up with a way of killing these two pipeline projects. The Liberals have done it. Today, one of those projects has been killed directly; one has been killed indirectly.
We have a tweet from a minister in 2012 that the objective is to “landlock Alberta's tar sands”, and here we are five years later. The Liberals are in government and she is cabinet, and it has happened. We had a gaffe where the agenda was revealed, and now the agenda has come to fruition. Unfortunately, the Liberals have taken steps to landlock our energy resources. We have seen this, and it is hard to deny that this is happening.
I want to highlight a number of other examples where the made comments that were perhaps explained away or qualified, or referred to as a slip of the tongue or a gaffe at the time, but revealed something fundamental about the way in which he sees the world. He said in an interview during the election that, in his view, many small businesses are ways for wealthy Canadians to avoid paying taxes. That is what the Prime Minister said. I do not know how many people took that comment seriously. However, with the punitive measures that have since been proposed toward small business, it looks like the Prime Minister believes we should go after and punish small businesses because they are a way for wealthy people to avoid paying taxes. That seems to be the Prime Minister's view. He expressed that view in an interview with Peter Mansbridge during the last election, and now he is undertaking punitive measures against those businesses.
He also said that he admires China's basic dictatorship, and he has gone on to pursue policies with respect to China that concern many Canadians. He has gone on to govern this country in a particularly autocratic way, trying at every possible turn to limit the input of the opposition members. We had two opposition speakers in the traditional period allowed for this debate before Liberals shut it down. We are only now able to have further conversations about this legislation because of a motion we are putting forward on an aspect of the committee's study, and travel related to that committee's study.
In each of these cases, where these gaffes or comments from the or from ministers were portrayed as a mistake, they revealed something quite fundamental to what appears to be the world view of the Prime Minister and members of the government.
Again, a comment was made by a minister saying that they wanted to landlock Alberta's energy resources, and effectively they have killed the two new pipeline projects proposed to tidewater within Canada. The bill that is being considered in terms of committee study at the moment is Bill , which deals with tanker export from northern British Columbia. As soon as the government took office, Liberals instituted a ban on energy oil export from northern B.C. They have killed the northern gateway pipeline, and now they are formalizing this through legislation, which they are calling the oil tanker moratorium act.
Let us be quite clear, though, about what this legislation would and would not do. Once we lay it out, it will be quite obvious to members that this is only about killing off energy exports in the west. It is not fundamentally about tankers, because tankers take oil in and out of the country, and between different jurisdictions along our coast. There are oil tankers that come into the St. Lawrence. There are oil tankers that bring oil in and export oil off Canada's east coast. Certainly, if there were ever a spill from an Alaskan oil tanker carrying American oil, it would not discriminate. It would not somehow fail to touch the Canadian coast, and yet what the government is proposing would only deal with oil produced in Canada, and the ability to export it out of northern British Columbia specifically.
I would take the view that we should do everything possible to ensure good safety standards and to do away with any risks of a negative environmental impact, but ultimately recognize that by taking a leadership role and setting those standards and then benefiting from them economically through the export of Canadian oil, we really achieve a win-win situation. If the alternative is the export of other countries' oil, the non-development of our energy resources and, potentially, a greater environmental risk insofar as we are missing an opportunity for setting standards for our own oil exports, that alternative policy pursued by the current government is a lose-lose situation. It is a loss for the economy certainly, but also a loss for the environment.
At least we have to give the Liberals credit for acting directly in the case of the northern gateway pipeline. They did not seek to hide it. They said they were going to kill it and they killed it, and they are bringing in legislation that would formalize that. At least they were up front and direct. That is not much of a defence of it. It is the wrong policy. It is bad for jobs. It would kill opportunity in B.C., Alberta, and throughout the rest of the country because we are economically interconnected, but we can say that at least they have been direct about it
They have not been so direct with the energy east pipeline. Many people in the Maritimes voted Liberal, hoping that they would see the energy east pipeline come to fruition, and many members of the Atlantic caucus would have said they were supportive of energy east. Meanwhile, we had other members—and here I refer especially to the tweet by the member for , the —talking about wanting to land-lock Alberta's energy resources. We had other members with this agenda, the 's agenda, of phasing out the oil sands. However, because of how popular energy east was, not just in Alberta but also in Atlantic Canada and many places in-between, they realized they could not kill it directly but would have to pursue some other strategy for achieving their objectives one at a time, which they were actually quite frank about before they deleted the tweet I mentioned.
Consequently, the Liberals introduced all kinds of regulatory hurdles and additional regulatory uncertainty and they tried to build in the idea that a project should be evaluated on prospective down-stream emissions. It would not just be the direct emissions from the use of that particular piece of infrastructure, but the prospective emissions that would eventually derive from it. This is a standard that notably is not applied anywhere else. We do not force aircraft manufacturers to be accountable for the subsequent likely greenhouse gas emissions associated with the use of their aircraft in the future. We do not do this for cars. We do not do this in any kind of manufacturing. We look at the environmental footprint of the manufacturing process, but we do not say that the manufacturers have to be accountable for all of the subsequent downstream emissions. This was a unique, unusual standard, and ultimately turned out to be an impossible one for energy east.
The government's response to the understandable decision of the company, in this case not to proceed with energy east, is to say that it is a business decision. For one thing, it points to oil prices. Companies understand that oil prices go up and down. No company decides to build a pipeline based on the price of oil on Monday, saying the price is good so let us build that pipeline. If it is down on Tuesday, it does not know. Companies are smart and sophisticated enough to realize that oil prices go up and down over time. They have to consider the overall situation, the overall environment, the probability of getting to a yes, and being able to proceed. It is not just about what the price of oil happens to be on Monday. That is a rather ridiculous suggestion from the .
Then the Liberals say it is a business decision, that Sisyphus just could not push the stone all the way, that it was too heavy for him. The task was set up in a way that success was likely impossible. There certainly was no credible certainty around it. We need a government that actually is looking for ways to get to a yes, to ensure the proper consultation happens, but not set up sort of a Sisyphean task, as in one that cannot be realized. It is clear from the debate in the House that is what is envisioned by the opponents of energy development. They do not want to say that they are opposed to energy east, but they want to kill it directly by coming up with all of these ambiguous, unclear criteria that make success impossible.
It is particularly clear from the exchange I just had with the member for what social licence is. He said that we had to get to social licence in order to get these things done. I then asked him what social licence would look like, because it surely could not be unanimity. We are never going to get unanimity on any question. People are not even unanimous in the belief that Elvis has died. We are not going to get unanimity on any question.
Mr. Nathan Cullen: “The King” lives.
Mr. Garnett Genuis: Some members of the NDP caucus seem to think Elvis is still alive, Mr. Speaker. I did not think even they were that far out, but we will see. I know they were joking.
In all seriousness, we are never going to get unanimity on any question. Therefore, I posed this question. What did social licence mean? He said that it was not about unanimity but about respect, that people had to feel respected. Sorry, in any event, when having a controversial debate about a development project, some people are still going to be frustrated at the end of it, because they will feel like they did not get their way and they might characterize not getting their way in any number of ways. They might even characterize it as not feeling respected.
However, at the end of the day, many Canadians are very supportive of these projects. Many first nations communities are very supportive of these projects. I thought it was helpful that my colleague from gave voice to some of the indigenous communities that were supportive of energy development. Too often some politicians in the House suggest that indigenous communities are always against these projects when, in fact, many indigenous Canadians are not only in favour of development but are directly involved in benefiting from energy development. If this nebulous standard is created and never defined, it will always provide the means to justify indirectly killing these projects.
To sum up, a minister of the crown, before she was a minister of the crown, said that she wanted to landlock Alberta's tar sands. Now the government is pursuing policies that have realized that objective. It has directly killed the northern gateway pipeline and indirectly killed energy east. Maybe this was a gaffe by that minister, but only in the sense that a gaffe is when a politician actually reveals his or her real opinions.
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to participate in this debate today on behalf of the official opposition. I think it is extremely important that further study be conducted on Bill , the oil tanker moratorium act. Further study would also be consistent with the government's claims that they encourage wide consultation with Canadians across the country to share their ideas on how we can work together to create a stronger marine safety system and better protect our coasts.
I do want to stress the fact that this legislation is of great national importance. Bill is an act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast. It is important to recognize that this legislation will have an impact not solely on local communities, but also nationally and certainly in my home riding of Calgary Midnapore. As a result, Canadians should have the opportunity to present their concerns, and having the transport committee engage in hearings is one way to make sure that happens.
Further to that, I want to refer back to comments my colleague from made in her speech on Bill . As she pointed out, following the general election in 2015, the sent a mandate letter to the , directing him to ensure that, "decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public's interest".
However, just over three weeks later, on November 13, 2015, mandate letters from the to at least three ministers directed them to work together to formalize a moratorium on crude oil tankers off British Columbia's north coast. As my colleague questioned, “One wonders quite reasonably how it could at all be possible that there was sufficient time in 25 days to ground this directive on the results of comprehensive assessments of existing environmental and safety records, standards, outcomes, and gaps; a comparative analysis of marine traffic rules, enforcement, and track records on all Canadian coasts and internationally; and thorough local, regional, and national economic impact studies.”
The answer is that there just was not time. Clearly, there was not time to consult with stakeholders such as first nations, local communities, industry, and experts. With today's motion, we are here asking for those steps to be taken.
I want to read a portion of an email of many emails I received last week.
A Calgary writer states that the has introduced Bill , the oil tanker moratorium act, “...to ban oil tankers off B.C.'s northwest coast to Parliament over the objections of coastal and inland first nations. Tankers off Canada's east coast importing 759,000 barrels a day of foreign crude are apparently okay with the government and the Prime Minister, as are another 400 tankers per year through Vancouver's busy inner and outer harbours, under the Second Narrows bridges, under the Lions Gate bridge, past Stanley Park, through the Gulf Islands and narrow Haro Strait, and down the length of the Salish Sea past the provincial capital of Victoria and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is all apparently okay with the Prime Minister, but not for tankers off Prince Rupert, the safest and best port on Canada's west coast!”
This bill is, of course, not really about transport standards, marine traffic, or protecting the safety and ecology of B.C.'s northern shore. It is a poorly disguised move by the Liberals to further limit Canadian oil development and transportation, and not the only instance that we have seen of this lately with the cancellation of energy east. In complete contradiction to his claims of wanting to consult Canadians, this is just one more example of the 's own explicit goal to phase out the oil sands.
Once again, I am going to reiterate the comments made by my colleague from earlier this month.
As she pointed out, “the unbiased, non-partisan Library of Parliament's legislative summary states explicitly that the debate around the tanker moratorium stems from the Conservative-approved northern gateway pipeline project”. This project would have had oil transported from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. After forming government, the Liberals told the National Energy Board to cancel the project. Now, by putting in place a ban on tanker ships in this region, the Liberals will permanently prevent any other opportunities for pipelines to transport world-leading Canadian oil to the Prince Rupert and Kitimat areas. As a result, Canada will not be able to expand our customer base by taking advantage of the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.
As I stated at the start of my speech, Bill is not a piece of minor legislation. It will negatively impact all of Canada with future consequences for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians employed in the energy sector across the country. Energy is the biggest private sector investor in Canada's economy and oil and gas is Canada's second biggest export with 97% imported by the United States. My colleague outlined some of the direct benefits Canadian oil and gas provides across the country including 670,000 direct and indirect jobs in this country. Deliberately limiting export capacity potential and thereby putting a ceiling on production would be detrimental to the livelihoods of Canadians everywhere and certainly in my riding of Calgary Midnapore, and, as we heard from the previous speaker, Alberta as a whole
As global oil demand continues to increase in the years and decades ahead, reaching tidewater in all directions for Canada's oil and gas should be a pressing priority for the Liberals. It makes no sense to delay, hinder, or equivocate on this point from an economic, environmental, or moral perspective in the global context.
The Liberals claim they are concerned about the environment, however, similar to the small business tax suggestions, their actions prove the opposite. By taking Canada out of the equation in terms of oil, the Liberals are allowing oil- and gas-producing countries, whose standards, enforcement, and outcomes are inferior to ours, to prevail. Additionally, they are opening up the market to corrupt regimes with abysmal environmental and human rights records, where energy development benefits only a select few. The government does not seem to realize that in Canada, energy development benefits every community with jobs and with revenue for multiple levels of government.
Between 2000 and 2014, for example, on a net basis Alberta's individual and corporate taxpayers shipped an estimated $200 billion-plus to the federal government and a major source of that revenue was from oil and gas. This money helps ensure that all Canadians have access to similar benefits and programs. To paraphrase, oil and gas revenue in Canada pays for benefits and programs for all Canadians. It is important that the members across the way hear that message. In case they want to open themselves up to even more factual evidence, a 2014 WorleyParsons study compared Alberta's environmental and regulatory systems with similarly sized oil- and gas-producing jurisdictions around the world, and found that Alberta was among the best. My province of Alberta was near the top of the list for the most stringent environmental laws and at the top for the availability of public information about the environmental performance of the oil and gas industry.
The study confirmed that Alberta is unmatched on the compliance and enforcement scale. Unfortunately, the Liberals' decisions are largely politically based, rather than being based on science, evidence, or consultations, or reaching conclusions in service of the broad national public interest.
I am again going to paraphrase my colleague, the official opposition shadow critic for natural resources, as she also pointed out in her speech that the result of the constant Liberal and leftist barrage of attacks on Canadian regulators and energy developers along with their changes to rules with new red tape and added costs is that energy investment in Canada has dropped dramatically.
|| Since the Liberals were elected, the policy uncertainty and additional hurdles during an already challenging time for prices, costs, and competitiveness have caused the biggest two-year decline in Canadian oil and gas investment...since 1947. This year alone, there is a projected 47% drop in oil and gas capital from 2016 levels.
She went on to say that one-sixth of total energy workers in Canada had lost their jobs since the Liberals formed government.
This number is reflected in the vacancy rates out of Calgary this morning. The resulting lost investment is equivalent to the loss of about 75% of Canada's auto manufacturing and nearly the entire aerospace industry. The current government continues to make ideological decisions which hurt Canada's economy.
My Conservative colleagues and I know this tanker ban is not in the best interest of all Canadians. Nor is it necessary. Tankers have safely and regularly transported crude oil from Canada's west coast since the 1930s. There have not been any tanker navigational issues or incidents in about 50 years in the port of Vancouver. Instead of putting forward regulations to allow for the safe passage of all vessels through Canadian waters, the bill deliberately and specifically targets one industry. It is really all about Liberal politicking.
Another fact I would like the Liberal members to acknowledge is that conventional oil and gas, oil sands, and pipeline companies are among the largest private sector investors in alternative energy technologies, like wind and solar, in Canada. When one sector thrives so does the other.
We on this side of the House value the responsible development of natural resources in all sectors in all provinces to benefit all of Canada. We therefore request further input from Canadians on Bill .