No. That's not the information we've been given. We encourage the ministers to attend, but right now the minister is not in Ottawa. This is how we were able to plug him in and that is how the committees are operating at this time.
Continuing with this, we'll have our witnesses. We'll have the minister for the first hour. Because we have a late start, I believe the minister has one hour. Then we'll go into a second round with officials.
I'll check with the committee members now if we want to go beyond 5:30. If we're going to end at 5:30, we need a few minutes at the end to do the actual process for reporting the mains back. We'll probably stop testimony then at about a quarter past five, if that works. I do have an item at the end related to our travel submission for our fall travel that I'd like to also deal with because the deadline is Friday and we're not sitting on Friday.
That will be the order for the afternoon.
Now, I think everybody has been around the block enough times. We know the rules about addressing questions through the chair. For those online, use the “raise hand” function. You have to mute yourself and you can use the translation features.
To get the show on the road, Minister, we'll go to you for your five-minute opening statement. I'll signal you when the five minutes are up and then we'll get right into our rounds of questions.
Before we get into that, I'll welcome Mr. Doherty, Mr. McLean and Ms. Sidhu to our natural resources committee today.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Hello, everyone. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the significant investments we are making within NRCan’s main estimates.
I’d like to acknowledge that I am joining you today from the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Squamish, the Musqueam and the Tsleil-Waututh nations.
I look forward to speaking with you about how these estimates are supporting our efforts to build a prosperous and competitive low-carbon economy.
Before I do so, I want to just say that my thoughts are with all of the families and communities affected by the wildfires in Alberta and across western Canada. We are, of course, following the situation extremely closely and, as a government, we will continue to provide federal assistance wherever and however best we can.
Right now, global financial markets are demanding and rewarding low-carbon products. This is because, in recent years, governments like this one have been taking serious climate action to steer markets in that direction. And because, I believe, more and more people are acutely aware of the scientific reality and existential threat of climate change.
This is presenting a generational economic opportunity for those who act boldly to build the economy of tomorrow. We’re fortunate that Canada is well placed to seize this opportunity.
In Canada, there is a choice. We can double down on this trajectory, making a plan for the future that grows the economy and protects the planet for future generations, or we can bury our head in the sand, hoping for the best and letting the world pass us by. This government chooses the former, and we choose to play to Canada's strengths.
Canada's natural resources give us significant advantages in being able to provide the world with clean energy, while creating good jobs here at home. We have a highly trained workforce and are increasing the diversity and strength of our natural resource sectors.
Our economy supports innovation, and our government is promoting the inclusion of indigenous knowledge and expertise, as well as economic participation.
We have an abundance of critical minerals and hydrogen, which the world will be increasingly demanding, as Canada and the rest of the world develop more and more in the way of clean energy and clean technologies.
We offer an outstanding level of stability to investors and allies. Our banking, regulatory, political and legal systems are stable. We have trade agreements with many of the major economies in the world. We develop and meet high environmental, social and governance standards.
The proposed investments that you see here are the next steps in the agenda. They are focused on growing clean energy and clean technologies, which this government has been working on for years.
Having access to clean, affordable and reliable electricity is imperative when it comes to achieving our legislated target of making Canada net zero by 2050. That is why Canada is committed to having a net-zero grid by 2035.
To that end, you'll see there are two main items in these estimates that support the modernization of our electrical grid, namely, the smart renewables and electrification pathways program, as well as the electricity predevelopment program.
To many other countries, our grid is already enviably clean, but we are determined to do even more to protect our environment, while providing affordable, reliable and clean power to all Canadians. Building out the grid and increasing its percentage of clean energy, as well as transitioning to electric vehicles, will allow Canada's municipalities to reduce emissions from vehicles, waste and buildings.
Investments to reduce buildings’ emissions appear again in the estimates through the complementary measures to the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan; our goals are clean air and a strong economy. These investments will help us continue to lower the emissions from homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings and industrial buildings, which is key to getting to net-zero by 2050.
Home energy evaluations and funding from the Canada greener homes grant for energy-efficient retrofits are also in the estimates, as are investments to recruit, train and mentor energy advisers to carry out the evaluations.
Continued support in this area will allow us to carry on our efforts to make our homes more resistant to the effects of climate change. And as global inflation continues to affect hard-working Canadians, these renovations will make their home heating bills more predictable and affordable.
I would also like to touch on our two-billion trees program in the estimates, which achieved 97% of its first-year target in terms of planting, and through which, in just the past six months, we have signed seven agreements in principle with seven provinces and territories. Six of those have signed specific planting commitments underneath the agreements in principle, and we're working with others to expand that collaboration.
We have negotiated multi-year agreements that will see 260 million more seedlings planted across Canada over the program's lifespan, and that's just the beginning. We'll soon be able to provide the total planting numbers for the second year of the program. We have surpassed our federal and urban land planting goals. We are confident we will reach the two-billion target in the next decade, with the provinces, territories, non-profit organizations, businesses, and indigenous governments and organizations.
As you can see, the investments we're proposing in the main estimates have a common goal, no matter the topic: greener homes, energy innovation, critical minerals, zero-emission vehicles, forestry or building out the grid. By making these strategic investments, we are supporting the capacity of Canadians to create new opportunities in the low-carbon economy. We are supporting indigenous participation in the natural resources sector and supporting indigenous leadership in a prosperous net-zero future. We're enabling a clean, reliable, secure and affordable supply of energy for everyone.
I certainly look forward to our conversation and to our questions and answers today.
With that, Mr. Chair, I'm happy to hand it back to you.
Before we go into our rounds of questions, I want to quickly welcome our officials.
In the room with us, we have Mollie Johnson, associate deputy minister; Shirley Carruthers, chief financial officer and assistant deputy minister, corporate management and services sector; and Jeff Labonté, assistant deputy minister, lands and minerals sector.
You have all been here before, so welcome back.
Joining us online are Angie Bruce, assistant deputy minister, Nòkwewashk; Drew Leyburne, assistant deputy minister, energy efficiency and technology sector; Monique Frison, director general, trade, economics and industry branch; Erin O'Brien, assistant deputy minister, fuels sector; Christina Paradiso, director general; and Anne Routhier, director general and head of performance measurement.
Thank you all for joining us.
With that, we will go right into the first round of questions.
Mrs. Stubbs, you have six minutes.
Thank you, Minister, for your comments about the wildfires in Alberta and your government's action in that regard.
I had a quick question for you about Line 5. Today, Canada's Washington embassy expressed a concern about that potentially being shut down on Thursday. That would threaten, of course, 6,000 jobs in Sarnia, the fuel supply for Quebec and Ontario, and undermine North American energy security, which is more important now than ever. Of course, there are also the billions of dollars in government revenue that support government spending.
I would note that it took over two years until this government seemed to finally listen to Conservatives and invoke the 1977 pipelines treaty for this critical energy corridor, which the did say was non-negotiable.
I don't know if you could give us some insight into this, but if that's the case, why didn't the raise it directly with U.S. President Joe Biden when he was here in March?
It does, of course, stand in stark contrast to the total lack of legal intervention and support of the proponent in the case of the Keystone XL pipeline. I guess, on Line 5, we are all going to have to wait for that court decision, when obviously the President's direct intervention on request of the would have been helpful.
Given your comments and your concerns, which I share, about the world passing Canada by and your comments about your goals and aggressive targets for electrification, I want to also ask you about critical minerals.
The is in South Korea now, where 80% of their critical minerals are supplied by China. Then he'll be in Japan, which also asked Canada both for critical minerals and for LNG.
He says he'll be talking about the supply chain integration to replace dependence on Beijing's critical minerals. Of course, in these estimates, you have $5 million “in support of critical minerals”, but, in fact, fewer than half of the mining applications since 2015 have actually made it through the duplicate of an uncertain process your government has created. Mines do take up to 25 years to produce in Canada.
The James Bay lithium project, which is the most recently approved one, took six years, was just approved this year with 271 conditions and won't produce lithium until 2024.
The truth is that the only mine in Canada that has produced lithium since 2019 does it only as a by-product of tantalum. It is 100% owned and operated by a Beijing state-owned company that ships all of it overseas.
Minister, lithium is on the top of your critical minerals list, but there's actually no Canadian ownership of producing Canadian lithium mines right now, which is a major critical mineral for EV batteries. Another one that's critical, phosphate, isn't even on your critical minerals list.
Right now, the truth is that Canada produces zero rare earth metals needed for EV batteries and for wind and solar production, yet in the last six months, your government has put in over $1.4 billion tax dollars to fix the permitting process that you broke, which seems to pay for round tables and meetings, but obviously no actual outcomes that make a difference for Canada or for the world.
Can you answer two very simple and direct questions for all Canadians here? On what date will you actually implement the streamlined and accelerated process that will fix the mess you made, and that your own government does claim to want?
Secondly, on what date will Canada actually produce and export all of the critical minerals on your list for Canadian self-sufficiency and to stop our allies' dependence on hostile regimes?
That is an excellent question. It's an important question.
I should note that, under this government in 2021, Canada exported record levels of metals and minerals, and it's now about one-fifth of our total merchandise exports.
Certainly, we are doing an enormous amount of work to ensure that we actually are making as efficient as possible Canada's regulatory and permitting processes. We have an internal process, involving a number of different departments, that is working on different ways in which we can actually make this work more efficiently. We announced over $1 billion in the fall economic statement for the Canada Energy Regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and a number of other departments to increase the capacity so that we are able to actually process the number of applications coming before us.
There was another $1.3 billion in budget 2023 for several federal departments so that they can continue to improve the efficiency of assessments for major projects. We confirmed to the board of directors of the CER in February that they are to identify key priorities as they deliver on their mandate, including working towards more efficient regulatory regimes. We're also working with provinces and territories, which each have their own regulatory and permitting processes, to align those better with the federal process. I think you will see the initial product of some of that work later this or next week when we actually provide an update on the British Columbia regional table.
We've approved, now, four mining sector projects since January: the Marathon Palladium mine, the Valentine gold project, the James Bay lithium mine project and the Lynn Lake gold project. Certainly, this is a big, big effort, and it is an important effort. However, again, it cannot be done by cutting corners from an environmental perspective or by not discharging our obligation to indigenous peoples, which is what the Harper government did and thereby really, really gummed up the process.
We have strong tools, such as the Impact Assessment Act, to restore the confidence of Canadians that environmental issues will be dealt with in a way that allows a good project to go forward.
Canada is already a safe and sustainable supplier of critical minerals. That's why we're seeing significant investment across our critical minerals supply chain, from Volkswagen, which is building a multi-generation electric vehicle battery plant, to the United States, which sees Canada as a reliable partner to strengthen North American leadership in clean technology. These companies are investing here because Canada is committed to extracting and sourcing critical minerals the right way, working with indigenous and local communities and protecting nature.
We apply rigorous environmental-society-governance standards with a strong human rights record, as well as a Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy that is consistent with Canada's ambitious nature protection goals. In fact, Canada played an important role in launching the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance, which I announced alongside representatives from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States at COP15, the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity in Montreal.
The mines I mentioned in my previous responses all have strong environmental protections that make it clear to others that Canada is a good place to invest, and also a good place to buy.
It's a very important question. There is no energy transition without a significant scale-up in the exploration, extraction, processing, advanced manufacturing and then the recycling of critical minerals.
To this end, we have undertaken a whole range of measures in budget 2023, including the $1.5 billion critical minerals infrastructure fund to accelerate critical minerals production, $1.5 billion through the strategic innovation fund to support advanced manufacturing, processing and recycling, and of course the investment tax credit that was in the budget for clean technology manufacturing, which will be applicable to the extraction, processing or recycling of critical minerals. That is an extremely important thing that was very well received by the Mining Association of Canada and others.
It's also about putting some funding into research, development and demonstration. We announced just a month or so ago $14 million to support six projects under the critical minerals research, development and demonstration program, which will advance the commercial readiness of emerging process technologies to support the development of value chains for zero-emission vehicles.
Certainly there will be more coming. Finally, I would say the critical minerals centre of excellence will also support research for processing and battery precursors. It will help proponents engage the federal and provincial processes with respect to moving these projects forward expeditiously.
Minister, I wanted to advise you that the project you referred to earlier in Saskatchewan run by Canada's only rare earths mining company was cancelled about three weeks ago. They paused all their work there, so there really is no conclusion other than after eight years and $3.8 billion, your spending in total on your so-called critical minerals and metals strategy is actually resulting in expensive round table meetings. You're utterly failing to capture the production, the value chains, the supply chains and the exporting of critical minerals that are so important to reach your own stated public policy goals and to reduce global dependence on hostile and despotic regimes.
Moving on to LNG, the truth is, of course, this. After eight years of your government, since 2015, 13 west coast, three east coast and two Quebec LNG export terminals have been proposed. You've approved four, but the only one.... One of those approvals, which is under construction, had already been approved by the former Conservative government.
Zero were built in Canada.
From Pacific NorthWest LNG to Énergie Saguenay, Kitimat LNG and Pieridae Energy, which wants to build one on the east coast.... The proponents of all 15 cancelled or delayed LNG projects under your government in Canada, many of which are now focused instead on other countries, cite delays and long regulatory timelines and say that these decisions are really driven by regulatory issues.
Now, in the same time—in case you try to claim this is a worldwide challenge—the U.S. constructed seven LNG terminals. They've approved 20 more. They're on track to build five more this year.
Germany asked for LNG from Canada, but the said—of course we'll all remember—there is no business case. That is according to him, not the rest of the world. Germany then built an import facility in 194 days, and had to go to Saudi Arabia and cut a deal with Qatar for supply.
Even though Canada is the sixth largest natural gas producer in the world, Mexico is now on track to become the fourth largest LNG exporter in the world, beating Canada with eight proposed terminals. The first one will be ready in August.
The advocates for major global investors in Canada say this is the problem and that the the biggest issue they've had has been “the regulatory delay and regulatory hurdles, as well as pipeline construction and opposition to pipelines."
Your LNG failures cost Canada $108 billion in government revenue, $500 billion in new investment and 100,000 good-paying Canadian jobs, while you ceded the global market to Americans and to dictators and hostile regimes with lower environmental and human rights standards. Meanwhile, you failed to provide our allies with the LNG they want and need from Canada.
You have stated, “the private sector should be putting up the money for these projects”—with which Conservatives totally agree, including, by the way, on TMX, which should have been producing five years ago and not cost a single taxpayer cent. However, it's clear your own government's red tape is driving away investment and opportunities for Canada.
On what date will you accelerate approvals for LNG projects, just like the claims you guys want to do?
On what date will Canada export LNG to our free and democratic allies around the world, and provide liquefied natural gas from one end of the country to the other for Canada's own self-sufficiency and security?
Thank you very much for the question.
Firstly, let me just reiterate that my thoughts go out to all of those in Alberta who have been evacuated from their homes or impacted by the wildfires. I would also like to thank the first responders and Canadians from across the country who are coming together to support Albertans in their time of need. As the reiterated yesterday, in Alberta we are here for you and we are going to ensure that you get the support you need, working in collaboration with, of course, your provincial and municipal authorities.
Right now, my department is assisting with monitoring and helping to inform planning and supply of resources, and facilitating fire perimeter mapping. NRCan continues to assess its capabilities to support the potential or direct impact on critical infrastructure.
As you may have noted, and to your question in particular, there are about $46 million in investments in the main estimates to strengthen capabilities in wildlife management, including bolstering provincial and territorial agency wildland firefighting equipment, and strengthening the role of indigenous participation in fire management through community-based training and the establishment of an indigenous fire stewardship lab.
A number of agreements have already been signed with provinces, including Alberta, with indigenous communities and organizations to begin that training and support the acquisition of new wildfire-fighting equipment.
As it is related to the national adaptation strategy and how it will help communities adapt to the risk of climate change, the strategy is providing up to $530 million to expand the green municipal fund to support community-based adaptation initiatives. It is enhancing community prevention and mitigation activities, supporting innovation and wildfire knowledge and research, and establishing a centre of excellence for wildland fire innovation and resilience.
Again, I would just say that my thoughts are certainly with those who are impacted by the fires in Alberta. We are here to help.
Building a clean Canadian power grid at the scale and the pace that is necessary is an enormous undertaking. It is a nation-building project that is as great in terms of scale and importance as any that we have undertaken in our history.
We are all very proud that 83% of our grid right now comes from zero-emission sources. We need, though, a much bigger and ultimately 100% clean grid. We need to double or more the electricity generation capacity in this country by 2050.
A clean electricity grid is an enormous economic advantage for Canada as our largest trading partners increasingly look to forge trade relationships that favour low-carbon exports and imports like low-carbon steel and low-carbon aluminum. While it isn't yet clear, I think, to the Conservative Party, the rest of the world knows a clean, reliable and affordable electricity grid is key to building a strong, clean economy. It's necessary to position our country for opportunity in the centuries ahead.
We are focused on doing the work that is necessary to seize this generational opportunity. This is a race that we cannot afford to lose.
In budget 2023, we announced over $40 billion for the development of a clean grid, including measures like the clean electricity investment tax credit to help provinces and territories build out the grid they need, as well as the CCUS investment tax credit and the clean hydrogen tax credit.
In budget 2023, we also had $3 billion to recapitalize the fund we used for renewable energy projects and for a new smart grid program. We announced the Canada Infrastructure Bank will invest at least $10 billion through its clean power priority area.
Minister, you just mentioned green aluminum. That takes us to low-carbon footprint products, so I find that very interesting. But one of the most relevant low-carbon industries is forestry. A tree is a carbon sink. A forest is a carbon sink, if you know how to use it well.
Unfortunately, the forestry sector is facing a perfect storm, especially in Quebec, where disproportionate U.S. tariffs are being applied to producers. To give you an order of magnitude, right now, for Resolute Forest Products, we're talking about $583 million that is in trust in the United States. This is money that the company cannot invest in its facilities. For a company like Arbec in Lac-Saint-Jean, this represents a loss of $200 million. The federal government, unfortunately, does not have a support program for these companies unless they are technically bankrupt.
If I make the comparison to other natural resource sectors that you have talked about—I am thinking of the clean hydrogen investment tax credit and the support that you are providing to the oil and gas sectors, among others—I am sure you would agree with me that the forestry sector is the poor relation of the natural resource sector.
My question is quite simple: do you have a real strategy to develop the future of the forest sector, which is bioproducts and high-value-added forest sector products?
Yes. Thank you, Minister.
The issue I'm bringing up here is, of course, your insistence upon the critical minerals sector as if it is the only sector that requires sustenance going forward here. You're putting a lot of money into it. You're spending a lot of tax dollars on it. In the end, it is a minor contribution as far as energy in this country goes.
Critical minerals do not produce energy. They store energy and they're used for other high-tech operations, but we need energy in Canada to continue to sustain ourselves as a viable country going forward here where jobs are going to come.
Now your government has committed a lot of money towards these plants for electric vehicles. It's committed a lot of money through the chain along the way, and yet you can see that there's very little coming in the front door for the next 20 years as far as critical minerals go.
In another example, you've got the Ring of Fire in Ontario, which is going to take decades to develop, but you found out as well that will mean unearthing sphagnum, so effectively peat moss, which is going to emit 1.6 billion tonnes in the Ring of Fire alone of CO2 that's already trapped there.
Do you see the circularity of how you're actually not getting to a climate solution here?
I know what a strong advocate you are for bringing the auto sector back to life in Canada after the sector dwindled during the Harper era. We are certainly proud of our collective success in bringing it back.
These investments are delivering thousands of good-paying jobs for Canadians while further establishing Canada as a leader in the clean technology race. These companies like Volkswagen are choosing to invest here because of our highly skilled and educated workforce, the access to clean power grids and abundant national resources, including critical minerals.
Your question is at the heart of why we developed a critical mineral strategy. We saw that the global economy would be increasingly dependent on critical minerals and metals for clean technologies. We are working to support increased extraction, processing and recycling of critical minerals, a key to supporting the electric vehicle supply chain through measures that include the clean technology manufacturing investment tax credit, which will support Canadian companies to help with investments in new machinery and equipment.
We will be allowing producers of lithium from brine to issue flow-through shares and to expand the eligibility of the critical minerals exploration tax credit to lithium-from-brine.
Just recently, as you know, we gave approval to two mines, the Marathon palladium project and the James Bay lithium mine project, which will each produce essential critical minerals needed for EV batteries, and each will deliver hundreds of good-paying jobs.
Before giving it back to you, I want to note that the Conservatives have been against these investments in Canadian businesses and Volkswagen's business investments in Canadians. They have no economic plan for a low-carbon future, and it is incredibly disappointing to hear that the Leader of the Opposition laugh when we talk about electric vehicles. They have not done the work necessary to understand what's at stake and what opportunities are in front of us.
Thank you, Minister, for that answer.
It's great to see that the government is making key investments to our economy to strengthen the middle class.
Minister, this morning I had the pleasure of meeting with Electricity Canada, and later on this evening, in partnership with Electricity Canada, we'll be sponsoring the reception here on the Hill.
We know the electrical grid needs to be secure, clean and affordable for Canadians. We also know that, going forward, we need to increase the baseload of our electrical grid that will need to be there to handle the increased use of electrical vehicles and so forth.
I want to ask a question on the smart renewables and electrification pathways program, which I believe was in the budget. Specifically, how will that help communities and organizations acquire the knowledge and tools needed to develop renewable energy and grid modernization projects as we move forward to a fully clean electrical grid?
Thanks for the question.
I'm glad you noted Electricity Canada. I would just highlight the fact that Electricity Canada has put out a statement saying that budget 2023 was “transformative”. It will make electricity clean, but also affordable, which of course is very important.
The smart renewables and electrification pathways program, or what we call SREPP, is already helping communities across this country seize new economic opportunities while creating good jobs for those who live there. In fact, it is often indigenous communities that are leading these projects, like with the Awasis Solar energy farm in Saskatchewan with the Cowessess First Nation. It's supporting Summerside, P.E.I. to produce grid-resilient solar energy, which was vital in keeping the lights on when hurricane Fiona hit.
The program has made significant progress in developing renewables and launching grid modernization projects. In fact, just a few months ago in your own backyard, announced support for the Oneida battery storage program with the Six Nations of the Grand River. That received $50 million from SREPP and will become one of the largest battery storage projects in the world. It will more than double the battery storage power that exists in Ontario.
Earlier this month, two proposed wind farms in Nova Scotia were approved through the environmental assessment. These projects were supported by the government with an investment of $125 million. These projects will supply Nova Scotia with 350 megawatts of clean power.
The SREPP is very important. It also supports capacity building. Certainly many indigenous communities have taken advantage of that. It's a very important program and yes, it was topped up in budget 2023.
That's good. I will take that. If you could follow up in writing, I would greatly appreciate that.
Thank you very much.
A problem that I have.... This is the main estimates and we had the same issue with the supplementary estimates. Granted, it's the minister and the who set objectives and different things like that here, but there's no funding allocated for the just transition.
I have a letter here—and I've received many of these letters— from people from Willow Bunch, Rockglen, Coronach and people who are working at the Westmoreland coal power station and the mine there. Their concern is that the region is losing $30 million in annual payroll with the phase-out.
COVID wiped out two years of government planning. Since COVID, we've had about two years and there's still nothing, so we've lost four years. Timelines aren't moving up.
From your viewpoints and perspectives—I recognize that you work within the department and you're not the ones setting the obvious objectives—as far as being the ones who are delivering a lot of the programs and things like that, why is the just transition not being prioritized when there's a hard and fast timeline and we've lost four years? Why is it not being prioritized?
When it comes to the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, obviously the American Treasury has access to a lot of money that, obviously, Canada does not. We cannot beat the Americans when it comes to money, but the one thing that we could do to be competitive with them—and quite frankly, we should aspire to beat them in this—is streamlining regulations to be able to get projects built and accomplished.
I'm just wondering if the department is working to streamline regulations, so that way.... The minister said, we had an approval of under three years on a project. Wow, three years, really? That's fantastic.
If we want to be serious and try to beat the Americans, what is being done, throughout the department, to try to make sure that we have the regulatory certainty, so that we're not celebrating its just being under three years. We should be having projects completed in under three years, not just approved in under three years.
What's being done to make sure that we can get that done and accomplished?
Canada released the small modular reactor action plan as an opportunity to talk about how we could figure out what the art of the possible is. It wasn't a federal-only strategy; it was working with provinces, indigenous groups, civil societies, university scientists. The whole idea, really, is try to mobilize how we can throw in together to capture this opportunity for Canada.
What's really important about this is going everywhere from critical minerals—and I point to Jeff, given his role in the critical mineral strategy—all the way through to this clean power supply that we can have in Canada as a secure supply chain, and really trying to capitalize on that in Canada.
We are very fortunate to have, at Darlington, an EA site where a 300-megawatt GE SMR is being explored and permitted. We have the AECL, which is Canada's lab, that is looking at this and providing us with some good lessons learned. We have the CNSC, which is going to be looking at how we can regulate and permit this as fast as possible, ensuring that we are looking at indigenous consultation and engagement and all of the environmental protection considerations, because if this is Canada's advantage, it is ours to lose, and we really want to ensure that we are continuing to maintain this advantage as we consider the opportunities and potential for Canada.
The third round technically has five minutes at the end for the Conservatives and five minutes for the Liberals. The Conservatives have asked for the time.
I do need to allow time to do the vote. By unanimous consent, we could vote the main estimates in one motion.
If you and Mario agree—the Liberals and the Conservatives have agreed to do that—then we could do five minutes, five minutes, the unanimous consent vote in one motion and the travel business, and still be finished by 5:30.
An hon. member: Let's go with that.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you.
Officials, hopefully you haven't jumped off the line yet. If we could keep you for an extra 10 minutes, for five minutes with the Conservatives and five with the Liberals, we will still have you done before 5:30.
I think, Todd, you're going to be first, so we'll go to you for your five minutes.
To our officials, thank you for being here.
I'm new to this committee, but not new to the issues of wildfires. As you know, in 2017-18 my region, and indeed our province of British Columbia, suffered some of the worst wildfires in the history of our country. Indeed, we are burning now, as the northeast of British Columbia is, and Alberta is as well.
In 2021, , as well as members of the Liberal Party from British Columbia, stood and made a pledge of $500 million to train 1,000 more firefighters, including the use and purchase of Canadian firefighting equipment.
Can you tell me how many firefighters have been trained and how much of that money has been spent? I've looked in the estimates for 2021 expenditures and 2022 expenditures and there's nothing there. Do we know how many firefighters have been trained?
I understand that the members to my right have agreed to not take their five minutes. With that, I'd like to thank the officials for being here. Those online, feel free to jump off. Thank you so much for always accepting the invite to come here and for sharing your information. We'll let you go to continue with your day.
For the members, I think we've agreed, but I'll ask the ask question. Do I have unanimous consent to vote the main estimates in one motion?
(Motion agreed to)
ATOMIC ENERGY OF CANADA LIMITED
Vote 1—Payments to the corporation for operating and capital expenditures..........$1,541,555,307
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
CANADIAN ENERGY REGULATOR
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$102,009,593
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
CANADIAN NUCLEAR SAFETY COMMISSION
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$51,986,215
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$767,362,423
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$29,227,432
Vote 10—Grants and contributions..........$2,517,543,940
(Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to on division)
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$539,949
(Vote 1 agreed to on division)
The Chair: Shall I report the votes, less the amounts voted in interim supply, to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: I have one last thing before we go. Colleagues, we sent off, just at the start of the meeting today, the revised travel proposal for the fall trip related to the power grid study that we will have some time this fall. When we had sent it off to logistics for costing, for all of the places we had put in there, it would have been a 14-day trip and a budget much beyond what we would ever hope to receive.
So I did ask the analyst to go through and pare it down, and that is what was distributed. If you haven't had a chance to look at it, the locations we costed out for this trip would include Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Edmonton and Fort Chip, as well as Fort McMurray, and then Regina and surrounding areas, either Boundary Dam or Poplar River Power Station. So we wouldn't be able to do either, but the costs are about the same if we do Regina and one of those. And then it's also including Montreal for some site visits there.
I can get the analysts to speak to it if people have looked at the proposal and anybody has any questions and then if there's discussion.
Mr. McLean, we'll go to you.