moved that Bill , be read the second time and referred to a committee.
She said: Mr. Speaker, it is with great urgency for Canada that I speak today in support of Bill , the Trans Mountain pipeline project act. Thousands of workers and their families from the construction, steel fabrication and manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors want the Liberals to take meaningful action to get their jobs back.
As a result of the Liberals' failure to enforce federal jurisdiction since their approval of the Trans Mountain expansion nearly two years ago and their failure in the review before that, as ruled by the Federal Court of Appeal on August 30, more than 2,000 workers were laid off. Another 5,000 more were counting on jobs about to begin in the next couple of months and several thousand expected jobs from the pipeline in the next couple of years. All of these families are now wondering about their future.
That is why I thank Senator Doug Black for introducing the bill in the other place and the 78% of senators from all regions in Canada who supported it. Getting the Trans Mountain expansion built is in the best interests of all Canadians. It would provide high-paying jobs now when Canadians need them more than ever and it would create and sustain thousands of jobs in many different sectors across Canada long into the future.
It would generate revenue, skills training and jobs in 43 indigenous communities. It would provide billions of dollars in new tax revenues to all levels of government in B.C. and Alberta, and pay for health care, pensions, schools, bridges and roads across Canada. It would move the most responsibly produced oil in the world, Canadian oil, to markets in the U.S. and the Asia Pacific.
Today, the Trans Mountain expansion is stopped. It is the culmination of an economic, investment, regulatory, jurisdictional and interprovincial crisis of confidence in Canada that has been escalating for years, perpetuated by the Liberals.
Failure is not an option. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce president Perrin Beatty said failure would send “a profoundly negative message to investors both here at home and around the world about Canada's regulatory system and our ability to get things done”.
Uncertainty caused by anti-energy policies and messages from the Liberals has already done so much damage, caused so many job losses and driven billions out of Canada. Every day of delay on the Trans Mountain expansion makes it worse. That is why all members of Parliament should support the bill.
For months, Liberals repeated they would not accept undue or “unnecessary delays” without ever defining them, that “no province can impinge on the national interest”, but never actually did anything; that “we are considering all options” which is, mind boggling, and what they are still saying, the pipeline “will be built”, but construction never actually started, despite the photo ops and press conferences.
Senator Black tabled the bill on February 15. On April 8, Kinder Morgan halted work and set a deadline for clear assurances from the Liberals that ongoing roadblocks and delays would be removed so it could proceed. On April 10, cabinet had an emergency meeting, after which ministers gave media 97 seconds of platitudes and left.
On April 16 the and other ministers were widely quoted saying the Liberals would introduce legislation imminently to “reassert and reinforce” federal authority over the Trans Mountain expansion. The Prime Minister failed to deliver the legislation he promised and this week he mocked the idea.
On May 22, a week before Kinder Morgan's deadline, the Senate passed Bill . Between May 22 and May 31 the Bloc, the NDP and then the Liberals denied my three separate asks to get unanimous consent to expedite this bill for debate in the House so MPs could give the certainty requested by Kinder Morgan and they denied it yet again today.
Then the Liberals announced the federal government would purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline and the said, “If Kinder Morgan is not interested in building the project, we think plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project”. That was shocking in itself since Kinder Morgan had already worked for years to prepare for its $7.4-billion investment and had already spent hundreds of millions, while meeting hundreds of conditions and fighting to build it for 17 months since the Liberals' official approval; manifestly not a lack of interest.
Then, of course, the failed to find a single other investor or buyer, while he also promised “to guarantee the summer construction season for the workers who are counting on it, and to ensure the project is built to completion in a timely fashion”.
On July 31, the current announced the start of construction at a press conference where the head of the now government-owned Trans Mountain Corporation clarified immediately that new pipeline would not actually start getting in the ground until “early next year”. Then, on August 30, the day the $4.5-billion purchase was completed, which divested Kinder Morgan from Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the Liberals had failed to adequately consult first nations in the process they initiated, oversaw and managed, during their review of Trans Mountain's regulatory application in 2016, before they approved it, which they have assured Canadians all along would ensure the Trans Mountain expansion could be built.
As always, the Liberals are blaming everyone and everything else for all their failures.
The court decision is clear, and the context is important. In June 2014, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling on the duty to consult indigenous people on project development.
In June 2016, three months after the Liberals were elected, the approval of northern gateway was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal. However, instead of trying to fulfill the measures in the court ruling through new consultations with first nations, especially in light of the 31 indigenous agreements supporting northern gateway worth $2 billion at stake, to enable that major, crucial export infrastructure to proceed, and to get it right for future proposals, the vetoed it outright and completely.
For the Trans Mountain expansion application, which along with all others had been frozen by the Liberals since January, the appointed a three member ministerial panel to consult with first nations on May 27, 2016, which reported back in November 2016, and the federal cabinet approved the Trans Mountain expansion in the national interest on the 30th of that month.
When multiple legal challenges and protests started immediately, the Liberals assured all Canadians that their review and approval would withstand a court challenge and they specifically cited the ruling on northern gateway as the impetus for their process that they claimed would guarantee the Trans Mountain expansion would proceed.
However, the Federal Court of Appeal said the Liberals' consultation with first nations on Trans Mountain between May and November 2016 “fell well short of the minimum requirements”. It confirms a total failure of meaningful two-way engagement while misleading participants and a failure to attempt accommodation by the Liberals with first nations. It is just the latest in a long pattern of the Liberals saying one thing and doing another.
The other major part of the ruling is the consideration of the impact of tanker traffic on orca whales. What is galling is the said he would come back to cabinet “with precise regulatory elements that will ensure that we have mitigated the effect of the noise, and things like access to prey—chinook management—and (ensure) land-based pollutants that contaminate certain bodies of water in which these whales are resident are reduced and/or eliminated”. This was at the same time as the Liberal approval of Trans Mountain.
The minister then failed to introduce any of it, denying a key defence for the Liberals' approval, because of yet another failure. The minister should have been on top of it and prepared, because the fact is the risk is not exclusive to Trans Mountain. He, himself, on September 12, said:
You have to put this in context. The noise from a container ship is no different than the noise from an oil tanker. And there are between 3,000 and 3,500 container ships that come into the Port of Vancouver. There are thousands of BC Ferries, and there are tens of thousands of recreational boaters out there. So if you are going to save these whales, the mitigation has to be much broader than a few more oil tankers. It has to relate to how we're managing shipping generally.
That is what the minister said, and he failed to do anything about it.
As of today, the Liberals have still failed to provide a comprehensive plan and even blocked the mutual requests of Conservative and NDP MPs for emergency meetings of both the natural resources and indigenous and northern affairs committees for ministers to explain their failures on the Trans Mountain review, to answer for the 4.5 billion tax dollars they spent, and to account to the pipeline's owners—all Canadians—their next steps to get the expansion back on track.
Western Canadians are angry, frustrated, and they feel betrayed by the Liberals. The majority of Canadians across the country who resoundingly support the Trans Mountain expansion are losing hope. It is no wonder why, when the said that Canada should phase out the oil sands and that he regrets Canada cannot get off oil tomorrow, and he defended tax dollars going to summer jobs explicitly for activists to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project.
What is especially disappointing is the way the and the Liberals' failures are sacrificing the best and national interests of Canadians to obstructionist activities initiated and funded to serve the national and competitive ambitions of other countries and Canada's competitors.
The Financial Post, the Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, and multiple other media outlets have reported on a leaked document dubbed the Kinder Morgan “Action Hive Proposal”, penned by 350.org, a foreign anti-oil protest group, which outlines a strategy by an anti-energy coalition to block the Trans Mountain expansion.
The Financial Post revealed that Tides Canada “has granted $40 million to 100 Canadian anti-pipeline organizations”, which in turn fight to stop Canadian energy development and access to export markets.
In 2016, Tides Canada quietly shut down its international donation matching system that allowed U.S. donors to donate to the Canadian foundation but still receive a tax receipt for the U.S. foundation.
On September 12, it was reported that since 2014, the City of Burnaby spent $1.12 million in legal costs to fight the Trans Mountain expansion.
The only objective of these efforts is to stop the pipeline altogether through “death by delay”, using every tool in their tool box, as they said they would. It is not to achieve a reasonable, evidence-based conclusion in the broad best interests of all Canadians, and nothing will ever earn a so-called "social license" from it. This is why every MP needs to vote for this legislation, for Canada.
The purpose of Bill is to declare the Trans Mountain pipeline project and all related works to be for the general advantage of Canada, a declaratory power that has been used more than 450 times before to enable major approved infrastructure like bridges, railways and electricity. Once the power is used and affirmed by Parliament, all secondary works and everything related to the construction of the pipeline, including all local roads, bridges, power connections, the terminal and its ongoing operation and maintenance, will be in federal jurisdiction. This is important, given existing threats to attempt to restrict the volume in the expansion even if it ever gets built.
This is an important preventative measure. The City of Burnaby said that there was still possible challenges going ahead. The B.C. NDP talks about attempting to restrict that flow for future B.C. governments. Therefore, the bill would mitigate future obstructionist attempts by other levels of governments and clarify challenges and disagreements over jurisdiction, providing certainty that there would be no further successful impediments to the project's completion.
It would also give a strong signal to the private sector that Canada would enforce the division of powers, jurisdictional rights and responsibilities, and stand up for Canada's national interest with real action to give certainty that when an approval and permits were granted in Canada it actually would mean something.
Some have questioned the need for this bill and said that Trans Mountain is already federal jurisdiction. As Senator Black made clear in his statements, in order to utilize the provisions that would place all of Trans Mountain's secondary works under federal jurisdiction, there must be an explicit declaration. It cannot simply be implied that a work is for the general advantage of Canada.
This has been done in legislation four times: the Detroit River Canadian Bridge Company Act of 1928; the Hudson Bay Mining declaration of 1947; the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway of 1947; and an act respecting CN Rail, which provided the amalgam of rail companies that formed CN Rail in 1955. In each of those pieces of legislation, there is an express declaration, and these are only four examples, that this work is for the general advantage of Canada. This is why Parliament needs to declare Trans Mountain to be for the general advantage of Canada, to reinforce federal jurisdiction.
The reality is that the Liberals had opportunities to pass this bill quickly this spring to avoid having to spend $4.5 billion on the Trans Mountain pipeline, which will go to build pipelines in the United States. They blocked that at every attempt. They voted against two motions this spring, calling for the Liberals to share their plan for getting Trans Mountain built. Most recently, they used their majority to block two parliamentary committees from getting the answers Canadians were demanding.
Since they formed government, the Liberals have failed to give industry the certainty they require to invest in large projects; failed to get construction going on the Trans Mountain expansion this summer, which they promised; failed to find another buyer for the existing Trans Mountain pipeline; failed to consult first nations adequately, leading to months or years of project delays, and putting all the indigenous mutual benefit agreements at risk; and failed to deliver the legislation they promised in the spring to get this pipeline built.
I hear from Canadians that they cannot trust the Liberals to deliver because their actions do not match their words, which is why the Liberals must clearly demonstrate their support for the Trans Mountain expansion today, through action, by passing this legislation. As well, they must tell Canadians the other concrete next steps they will take to get the Trans Mountain expansion built.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill at second reading and to do so as a proud Alberta MP. I am very proud of my home province and my city of Edmonton. It is a place that values hard work and entrepreneurship. In fact, if people come to my riding of Edmonton Centre, they will see on one of the buildings there a huge mural that says, “Take a risk”. There is nothing more Edmontonian that anyone could possibly do. It is a place that celebrates inclusion, a place that believes everyone should have the opportunity to succeed. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region has brought innovation and resource development to new levels, once thought impossible.
Members may know that I grew up in Morinviille. Close members of my family and dear friends work and have worked in the oil sands, and I know first-hand the importance of resource development to people's lives and livelihoods. I agree categorically with what I hear at doors every week, the keen and deep interest in getting our resources to market and ending the $15-billion-a-year haircut that our resource products get because we have only one customer, the United States.
These are the same reasons that our government approved the Trans Mountain expansion project in the first place. We know that this project holds the potential to create thousands of good middle-class jobs, to strengthen the Canadian economy and generate billions of dollars in new revenues for all orders of government, and to ensure that we get a fair price for one of our country's most valuable resources. It would also open up new opportunities in indigenous communities across B.C. and Alberta, which support the project. There are also 43 indigenous communities that have signed mutual benefit agreements.
It is for all of these reasons and many more that we believe that the TMX project is in Canada's national interest and why we purchased its assets as a sound investment in Canada's future. The existing line will generate $300 million in earnings every year regardless of the expansion. Therefore, when legislation comes before us suggesting that, “the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and related works [are declared] to be for the general advantage of Canada”, it is hard to disagree. We have said as much repeatedly in every part of the country, and yet it is not enough that the pipeline project expansion proceed. It must proceed in the right way, and that includes fulfilling our government's commitments to protecting the environment and renewing Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples.
The Trans Mountain expansion project is in the situation it is in today because of the failures of the previous Conservative government. We promised legislation that would move Canada forward and brings more, not less, environmental protection and respect for indigenous rights. Have the Conservatives learned that lesson? No. Despite court ruling after court ruling, they still fail to understand the importance of having strong and meaningful frameworks for pipeline approval in place. Ten years of Conservative failure to get our energy to other markets does not serve the Canadian people and does not serve the energy industry.
With Bill , our government will move Canada's projects forward based on doing things the right way, and without cutting corners the way Conservatives did for a decade. When will the Conservatives learn that Canada cannot legislate its way out of its constitutional obligation to consult indigenous peoples and to protect the environment? Only they know the answer to that. On this side, we know that cutting corners has not worked in the past and will not work now or in the future.
The Federal Court of Appeal found that the government's assessment of the project left room for improvement. Potential environmental effects of marine shipping were not properly considered by the NEB, which was a result of a flawed process created by the Conservatives. It also found that while we had an acceptable framework for indigenous consultation, one that we brought forward in our interim approach to environmental assessments, the Crown did not properly execute that phase of the process.
That is why today the announced an important step in our path forward. He said that the government has instructed the National Energy Board to reconsider its recommendation, taking into account the effects of marine shipping related to the project. We will be directing the NEB to report within 22 weeks. During this time, the NEB will hear from Canadians and provide participant funding for indigenous and non-indigenous groups. We will present to the NEB recent government actions to protect the southern resident killer whales and to implement the oceans protection plan. We are committed to ensuring that the National Energy Board has the expertise and capacity to deliver the best advice to the government. To that end, we intend to appoint a special marine technical advisor to the National Energy Board.
Our government has been clear about its vision for resource development, a vision built on three key tenets: creating good, middle-class jobs; protecting the environment; and indigenous partnerships.
We see the Trans Mountain expansion project as part of this vision, but the vision is much bigger than that. We are committed to building a long-term energy vision for Canadians, one that transitions Canada to a clean growth economy. Canada is now a global leader in clean tech and we are poised to be a clean energy leader as well.
We have worked across sectors and across the country to build Bill , with industry and environmental groups. The bill moves past the Conservative way of ignoring indigenous peoples and the environment, and proposes a modern, new way to review major resource projects and a new framework to recognize and implement indigenous rights in a spirit of respect, co-operation and collaboration.
Our vision is of more than a single pipeline. It is about creating jobs for Canadians and charting a path for Canada's long-term future, a new course that recognizes that the economy and the environment must go hand in hand.
The Federal Court of Appeal confirmed that we had made a solid start with the interim principles we introduced back in January 2016, but it said there was more work to be done. We understand that. That has been our focus since we formed government in November 2015.
That is why we not only signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, but also helped shape it as an ambitious and balanced plan for ensuring that the environment and economy are equal components of a single engine that will drive enduring prosperity.
That is why we also sat down with the provinces, territories, and indigenous peoples to draft the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, a blueprint for reducing emissions, spurring innovation, adapting to climate change and creating good middle-class jobs across the country.
That is why we are making long-term investments in clean technology and green infrastructure. That is why we are providing unprecedented levels of support for science and basic research. That is also why we are making a historic investment to protect Canada's oceans, marine life and coastal communities.
The $1.5-billion oceans protection plan will strengthen the eyes and ears of the Canadian Coast Guard, enhance our response capabilities in the unlikely event of a spill and support innovative marine research. It will also reinforce new important partnerships with indigenous peoples. That includes the joint creation of an indigenous advisory and oversight committee to assess the safety of the TMX project throughout its life cycle.
This is in addition to our efforts to improve indigenous peoples's access to financing for economic development, professional training and business opportunities arising from the pipeline expansion. We recognize the importance of Canada's energy sector and its impact on both Canada's economy and the environment.
The Trans Mountain expansion project is a key element, part of a common-sense approach that includes the diversification of our energy markets, the improvement of environmental safety and the creation of thousands of good jobs for the middle class, including good jobs for indigenous communities.
However, we have to do this properly, by keeping our commitments to reconciliation with indigenous peoples and to environmental protection, and as part of our plan to build a better future and a better Canada for everyone. That is what I am proud to support today.
The Conservative Party can continue to attempt to mystify Canadians with bafflegab, blather and blarney. Our government will do the right thing and be respectful, rigorous and get this done in the right way.
Mr. Speaker, I oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion of the TMX pipeline, and I have since 2011. It would boost bitumen oil shipments through the Salish Sea in my riding from once a week to once a day through sensitive ecology that cannot handle a spill. That is all downside and no upside for B.C.'s coast, and it is not in the national interest. Therefore, I and the New Democrats oppose Bill .
Since the Liberals announced that they are buying the TMX pipeline, I have had more input from constituents on this issue than anything else. B.C. people are telling me they feel betrayed by the . They are dismayed the Liberal priorities are so stuck in the past. They are angry that the has bailed out a Texas oil company with a massive payout, to assume onto taxpayers a risk that the corporate interest was unwilling to assume, and dump all the financial and environmental risk onto Canadians. This is all about the future of our country and our environment.
Here is a fast reality check on some of the rationale out there. There is already a pipeline to tidewater. There is no demonstrated market overseas for bitumen and dilbit, and there is no price differential. Even if there was, exporting raw dilbit would be exporting the good jobs that could go with refining and adding value, the jobs the government has said it is trying to protect.
Solid bitumen eliminates the need for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The safest way to ship it is in solid form. No pipeline expansion means no social or first nations impacts, and no need to bail out Kinder Morgan with the $4.5 billion to $12 billion this is estimated to cost. There is certainly no need to buy this aging 65-year old leaky pipeline. All of the savings that could have come from not using taxpayer money that way and all of the benefit that could have come to our country is deeply discouraging. Therefore, I am going to outline the reasons I think it is not in the national interest in the following areas: first nations relationship and our constitutional obligations; endangered species; climate change; oil spill risk; fossil fuel subsidies; and, last, coastal jobs.
Starting with endangered species, the federal government has a clear responsibility to protect species at risk. There was a 2012 court order that told the government it needed to put measures in place to protect the habitat of the orca, which was the number one impact that was identified in the National Energy Board review. As meagre as that review was, it did say that the shipping noise impact was unavoidable and without remediation. The government went ahead and approved the pipeline anyway. The important thing for members to know is that the shipping noise interferes with the orca whales' ability to communicate with each other and to locate the chinook salmon they feed on. Their numbers before the 2012 court ruling were 87 members of the southern resident orca pod, which has now dropped to 75. This summer, international headlines focused the world's attention on the plight of this endangered species. The fact that environmental groups just last week filed another lawsuit against the Liberal government for its failure to protect the orcas shows that its vaunted oceans protection plan is not helping orcas yet.
With respect to the first nations consultations, for the to say, the very day of the court ruling, that the pipeline will be built and that we will also consult first nations leadership again shows the Liberal government does not get it. It cannot say it is going to consult but it has already decided what it is going to do.
We keep hearing from the government that its most meaningful relationship is with first nations, yet they continue to be pushed to the side. It is particularly coastal first nations that I am talking about here. Certainly, I am reminded by my constituents that this is not all first nations. However, in my own riding, the leadership is extremely concerned and opposed to the approval and expansion of the pipeline because of the oil tanker traffic.
Here is a message that I received this morning by text from my friend, Doug White III. Kwul’a’sul’tun is his Coast Salish name, his Hul’q’umi’num’ name. He is a former chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and he is an elected councillor now. He states that, “Snuneymuxw has been frustrated that while [Kinder Morgan] and the [National Energy Board] said the project ends at the Burnaby terminal, and [Kinder Morgan] has no responsibility beyond that point with respect to tanker shipping of bitumen through the Salish Sea (which represents a total risk of the way of life of the Salish peoples...), they have taken it upon themselves to unilaterally define the project as being in the national interest without ever sitting down with the Snuneymuxw to discuss how the foundational pre-Confederation Treaty of 1854 structures such a decision.”
He goes on to say, “Completely ignoring and effectively denying the Treaty of 1854--particularly its powerful protection of fisheries in the Salish Sea--is the opposite of recognition and reconciliation. Even the colonial government of Vancouver Island in the 1850s knew the basic legal and political reality that they could not extract resources of Vancouver Island without establishing a proper relationship premised on recognition and respect of the continuity of Indigenous control and decision-making about their territories and resources. That is why the Douglas Treaties were established 160 years ago. We have to ask: Is the approach of the current government of Canada less than even a colonial government in the 1850s? The answer is clear.”
That is a condemnation and a huge damage to the national interest, which is of true reconciliation. That is the only way we can move forward.
So much has been said on climate. I am reminded by my constituent David in Nanaimo who wrote to the saying, “Your government says this Texas oil company's pipeline is in the national interest. We believe that having a safe climate is in our national interest, and the two are not compatible.”
I could not say it better myself. The disaster that is climate change barrelling down on us while the government has still failed to do anything stronger than adopt the emission reduction targets of the Harper Conservatives is a deep betrayal. The true national interest would be to truly act strongly and reduce climate change emissions.
On oil tanker safety and protection of the coast, the waters that I represent are one of the four areas in Canada with the highest probability of a large oil spill, according to the 2013 federal tanker safety panel of Transport Canada. It is one of the two areas in Canada with the highest potential impact of a spill.
In 2009, as chair of Islands Trust council, I wrote to the federal government when it was the Conservative government saying, “Please tell us that you are studying the impacts of dilbit, diluted bitumen, in the marine environment.” That evidence was blocked from the National Energy Board. I have been asking repeatedly in question period for the Liberal government to take action, and it has not. We have no demonstrated way to clean up dilbit in the marine environment, especially in a place with the speed of currents and rise and fall of tides that we have.
My constituent Mark wrote to the saying, “Any spill in the oceans surrounding Vancouver Island and the Strait of Georgia would be a national disaster.” I agree with him: not in the national interest but a national disaster.
This also breaks the promise that the Canadian government has made to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. That was a promise made to the G20. It has been repeated again and again. The government has been fighting with the Auditor General these past three years. It will not show the evidence that says it is acting on fossil fuel subsidies. Certainly the purchase of the Kinder Morgan pipeline for $4.5 billion is evidence of further breaking of that fossil fuel subsidy promise. What that money could have been invested in instead, redirecting fossil fuel subsidies into establishing coastal jobs, green, sustainable jobs in renewable industries, would really be keeping all of our promises.
So much is on the line for us on the coast. A UBC study in 2012 said that the potential impacts of a large oil tanker spill could lead to as much as a 43% loss of employment in the province's coastal industries. Twenty thousand people on the Lower Mainland could be affected by a spill, and as much as $687 million in damage to the GDP from a single spill. Again this was identified by UBC.
In closing, I say, again, this is not in the national interest. As a kayak guide, I have had the great privilege of exploring so many of Vancouver Island's and B.C.'s wild places. I am deeply determined, along with my constituents, to stand up and protect the coast. Investing in and accelerating Kinder Morgan's oil tanker traffic is absolutely the opposite of the national interest, and I hope this House will agree.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to add my comments to this very important debate on . I would like to note the comments of my colleague for as she kicked off the debate. She very articulately laid out this project, the time frames and some of the history. I will not redo what she said but I hope to add some new comments to the debate which should be reflected upon.
Even though the landscape has changed since this initial private member's motion in the Senate was introduced, passed and moved to us, it still remains a very important bill for us to pass in the House. Again, the landscape has changed considerably, but we must and should pass it.
I know that in an ideal world we would not have any dependence on fossil fuels. However, we continue to have that dependence. It is not just the gasoline for our car or the jet fuel for the planes that fly us to Ottawa and back home. Over 6,000 products require the use of oil.
In the short and medium term, the world, not just Canada, will continue to rely on oil and its products. I do have a belief that there will be technological advances that will create some solutions.
Dave McKay, the president of RBC, said, “Canadians are polarized about oil and gas when we should be focused on how cleanly we can produce it, how safely we can transport it and how wisely we can consume it.” Those are very important words.
Alberta is working very hard on how to cleanly produce. The discussion we are having today is how we can safely transport and then it is up to every individual to look at how wisely to consume it.
The government has decided to put all its eggs into one basket. The tanker moratorium simply means that people from Lac du Ronge and Eagle Spirit have been cut off, with no consultation on the opportunities they thought might be there for their communities. Of course, that would be a northern route. This bill is currently in the Senate. Again, it cuts off opportunity to get oil to the sea water.
Bill has been called the “never build another pipeline again” bill. I tend to agree. Changes proposed in Bill mean that another pipeline will never be built in Canada again. That is a huge problem. We can look at what is happening in the States and across the world. We basically have landlocked resources. In the short and medium term, we will be uncompetitive.
Having a “no pipeline” bill is important. However, what people do not realize is this. Look at the rail traffic. I live on a rail line. I was at a ceremony this week for a change of command for the Rocky Mountain Rangers. Fifteen metres from us was a rail line, which goes straight through Kamloops. Tanker car after tanker car travel right through town and along the Fraser River. It had already come down the Thompson River while salmon were spawning.
When we talk about transportation safety, it is relatively safe. However, it is more safe to transport oil through a pipeline than by tanker cars, which travel right through the middle of town and along the spawning channels. We have had wildfires. We have seen the instability of slopes when rains come. We are having washouts. There is big concern about the enormous increase in the tanker cars that go through our communities.
This does not even address the issue that we hear all the time from our grain farmers and mining folks about the bottleneck on the rail lines. As the rail capacity increases for tanker cars to transport oil, we bottleneck our supply system, our supply chain. This is a huge problem.
Northern gateway and the TMX is really a tale of two pipelines, because it has been largely decision-making by the current government.
Northern gateway went through its process and it was approved by the former government. A court decision came out and it was very clear. The Liberal government received that court decision. It said that some things needed to be done to improve consultation with first nations.
The decision was received by the current Liberal government. Every time those members suggest that they inherited a flawed process, it is quite clear that it was not the process but it was the execution of the process with northern gateway. It became much clearer that they did not learn any lessons after reading that report, in spite of the fact that they said they had. The Liberals completely botched their execution with respect to the duty to consult on the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The first decision said they could not simply be a note-taker. The Liberals had that information. What did they do? They sent someone to take notes. How is that looking at a decision and implementing it?
The minister stood up time after time and said that there was no relationship more important than the government's relationship with first nations. He said they were engaged, that they have had the best process ever, and yet his government did the exact same thing. Someone was sent to take notes and the government did nothing in terms of dealing with the issues at hand.
The Liberals failed. They failed as plaintiffs. Six communities took them to court with respect to the duty to consult. More important, they also failed 43 communities that had benefit agreements and were looking forward to the opportunities that would come with the construction of this pipeline going through their territory.
About one-third of the pipeline goes through the riding that I represent, which includes many communities as well as many first nations communities, the majority of which had signed benefit agreements.
After the decision came down I met with a number of first nations and other communities. One group had to completely redo its budget. It had counted on the benefits from this agreement. This group had to wonder what it could slice and dice out of its budget because it was faced with brand-new circumstances.
I met with another group called Simpcw Resource Group. As construction happened, and in the past, this company had been responsible for returning the disrupted land from the construction of a pipeline back to its natural vegetative state.
Companies are planting trees as we speak, planning on the economic opportunities. Construction camps are being planned. Cooks were looking forward to opportunities. These are real people. These are real jobs.
The fact that the Liberal government could not look at a court decision that came to them in 2016 and do the job properly is absolutely shameful. It failed to execute. When the government says it had a flawed process given to it, it is absolute nonsense. The government was told what it needed to do in order to do it properly. Please, do not ever let them say they were provided with a flawed process. The court decision was absolutely clear that the process was appropriate, it was the execution that was flawed.
This are real consequences to real people. This matters. I hope that when people look at this they will look at it as a benefit for Canada, not for the benefit of a small area only. This would benefit all of Canada.
I encourage all members of the House not to just look at their concerns and interests but to look at the big picture, look at it for the benefit of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and hopefully provide a bit of clarity on the issue of the Trans Mountain project. It is of the utmost importance, and ultimately, nothing is going to change my personal thoughts. This is from someone coming from the Prairies, but it goes far beyond the Prairies. The has done a fantastic job in explaining that the Trans Mountain project is in the national interest. It is not just for one province over another province. It is indeed in the national best interest, because every Canadian in all regions of our country would benefit from the project moving forward.
From day one, it has been really important to our government to recognize that there is a significant environmental component and a significant indigenous component. We have heard other members, both Conservative and NDP, repeat what we have been saying from day one, that we have turned the page on the relationship between the national government and indigenous people since the election in 2015. This is a government that wants to move forward in a very progressive fashion.
There is a difference between the New Democrats, the Conservatives, and the government of the day in dealing with the pipeline. We need to recognize a little of the history to get a better understanding of where we are today. I sat on the opposition benches when Prime Minister Stephen Harper had an opportunity to advance this file. He chose not to, even though he was rooted in the province of Alberta. He felt there was no need for the federal government to get engaged at that time. Today, we look at the Trans Mountain project as a way to ensure that our commodity is in fact getting to new markets. That is a big issue to us, because we are so dependent on our oil going south. We know that if we can expand the market we will in fact be able to derive a better bottom line for Canadians. We need to recognize just how much that would really assist Canadians.
My colleague from the province of Alberta spoke earlier. Alberta has been a great contributor to the confederation through the oil royalties. Manitoba has not been as blessed with oil as the province of Alberta. Many would argue that as a result, our province has been very dependent on equalization payments. Where do those equalization payments come from in good part? They come from provinces like Alberta, which are able to export a commodity. With the Province of Manitoba receiving those equalization support payments, we are able to provide the types of social programming that allow us to keep on par with other provinces like Alberta and Ontario with services like health care, quality education, social programs and many others. Even environmental types of programs are carried out with the assistance of equalization payments. Money is transferred to the Province of Manitoba in the billions every year.
Therefore, when we talk about the net benefits of the export of things such as oil, it adds to the overall GDP. Production in one province may be a little more than in another. All Canadians benefit from it. That is done through equalization.
There are many individuals throughout Canada, whether from the Prairies or Newfoundland and Labrador, from every region of the country, whose direct and indirect jobs are a result of things that are taking place in Alberta and British Columbia.
We believe that those types of economic activities are contributing to Canada's overall well-being. We have a who from day one, even before he was prime minister, talked about the importance of Canada's middle class, believing that if we give additional strength to our middle class, if we invest in our middle class, we will have a healthier economy. By having a healthy economy, we raise the standard of living of us all, and so forth.
When the and members of the House discuss that what is happening with the Trans Mountain project and how important it is that it move forward, we need to understand why it is in Canada's national best interest. That is where we differ from our New Democrat friends. When I say New Democrats, it is not universally applied because we know that the Alberta NDP and Rachel Notley are doing a fantastic job trying to explain why it is so important for all of Canada to see this take place.
However, the national NDP does not want a pipeline. It is catering to a certain sector at a huge cost to all Canadians. I would appeal to the members to look back to the days when they were the official opposition hoping to be in government. They seemed to be more reasonable in approaching major policy issues, such as the ones we have before us today. If they do that, there is no reason why all members of the House should not get behind what the government is doing on the Trans Mountain project.
I was so disappointed when a Conservative said that buying out and securing the pipeline was a bad idea. I felt fairly good the day when I heard the announcement because, for the first time, we had a national government that made a very strong statement for the first time about that resource getting to market.
What did the Conservatives do? They started criticizing the government because we had acquired an asset that would ensure to the greatest extent possible that the job would get done. When it came time to stand up for Albertans in particular, but indeed for all Canadians, what did the Conservatives do? They went running behind Stephen Harper and took the Harper type of spin lines. That was what we witnessed firsthand when that announcement was made.
I say shame on the Conservatives, because day after day they tried to say that they wanted a government that would take action, a government that would move forward on this very important and critical pipeline. When the government did just that, what did the Conservatives do? I am disappointed and I would hope that the Conservatives would get behind the initiative by the government. If they truly believe in the well-being of the Canadian economy, in particular those thousands of jobs that would be generated in Alberta and British Columbia and the agreements that are shaping up with many of our indigenous communities, this is a project that is worth supporting no matter which political party one belongs to, with the possible exception of the Green Party. I have heard the leader of the Green Party speak on the issue and I expect there is no changing that particular position.
I would like to think that the other two opposition parties that have been around long enough would understand just how important the Trans Mountain extension is. The does and this government does. In fact, all members of the Liberal caucus in all regions of our country understand just how important this is to the national interest. We are committed to pushing this file forward and doing it in the right way.
That means working with indigenous people, looking out for our environment, and also delivering at the end of the day. That is something we are working toward diligently. I believe it is only a question of time before we will see some better recognition on the opposition benches of just how important this is to Canada's economy and, indeed, our social fabric.