moved that Bill , be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Madam Speaker, it is an honour to have the opportunity to commence debate on Bill to amend the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act.
I am here today to deliver on the Government of Canada's commitment to working in close collaboration with the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and of Nova Scotia to establish firm foundations for a thriving offshore renewable energy sector in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador. This legislation is an important part of our country's future as we work to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions and seizing the economic opportunities that can come from a transition to a low-carbon future.
Around the world, businesses large and small, and governments, are in a race to reduce carbon emissions and to seize the extraordinary economic opportunities associated with a low-carbon transition and, of course, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Global financial markets are playing a key role in this investment shift through their investment decisions. Successful businesses interpret and adapt to changes in the environment in which they operate. It is what their shareholders expect; it is what their employees depend upon.
The science of climate change is clear. The major cause of increasingly severe and frequent weather events and wildfires is, of course, climate change. Similarly, the science is clear about what must be done to avert the worst impacts of climate change. As a global community, we need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and we need to make meaningful progress by 2030. We cannot get to net zero by 2050 if we begin our journey in 2040.
In 2019, Canada was one of the first countries to commit to achieving net zero by 2050, and we subsequently committed to meeting ambitious interim targets along the way.
That was just four years ago. Today, 80 countries are committed to achieving net zero. Progress has been made both here in Canada and around the world, but we all need to do more. Commitments are meaningless unless they are backed up by plans and actions. That is why Canada has developed one of the most detailed and, I would even say, one of the most comprehensive climate plans in the world.
Increasingly, governments are not the only ones taking action. Global financial markets are playing a crucial role in the transition to a low-carbon future through their investment decisions. The smart money, looking for long-term gains, is moving away from assets that will underperform in a low-carbon world.
Governments are certainly no different. To effectively serve their citizens, they must also respond to changing circumstances and then take decisive actions. The economic future of Canadians depends on our making the right choices to ensure that Canada will thrive in a low-carbon world. The good news is that Canada is very well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities. It is up to us as a country to make the smartest possible choices. Canada can choose to be a leader in this global economic shift or to let it pass us by. Going slowly and just hoping for the best is a choice, and a much riskier one; in fact, I believe it is a terrible gamble.
There are really two paths we can take. The first path accepts that climate change is a scientific reality that we can and must address. It understands that the world at large is moving in that direction, creating a shift in investment and innovation. The first path calls for a thoughtful plan for the future that acknowledges where the world is and must be headed and that seeks to take full advantage of the economic opportunities that are available through the transition to a low-carbon economy.
The second path starts with shrugging off the damage that climate change has already caused: the dramatic floods in our towns and cities, dried-up rivers, melting glaciers and the wildfires in our forests that folks here and across the country know very well. It pretends that climate concern is a fad that will fade and that we do not really need to do anything to keep our economy healthy for the long term. The second path presents, as I said, a terrible gamble that is effectively betting against the environmental imperatives that are all around us. It is one that would thus lead to both environmental and economic devastation.
This federal government has chosen the first path. There are five key things that we must prioritize if we are to seize the historic opportunities and go down this path. First is identifying and seizing key economic opportunities in every region of the country, which are made available via the global shift to a net-zero economy. These opportunities are in areas from critical minerals to batteries and EV manufacturing, from hydrogen to biofuels, and from small modular reactors to renewable sources of energy and a wide range of clean technologies. Second is a thoughtful approach to Canada's oil and gas sector and its resources, for which there will continue to be demand, albeit less demand, in a net-zero world. Third is building out a clean, reliable and affordable electricity grid. Fourth is advancing economic reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Finally, we must make more efficient and effective our regulatory and permitting processes.
Bill is about creating a clean electricity grid, seizing the economic opportunities of a low-carbon future and about the opportunities this entails for economic reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
As part of our broader plan, we need to build more clean power, certainly a lot more. While we are focused on deploying clean energy to reduce electricity-sector emissions, we must also expand the total amount of power on the grid. As we electrify much of the transportation and building sectors with electric vehicles, heat pumps and other technologies, we will need new clean power to meet this rising demand.
An abundant supply of clean energy is also at the core of accessing critical economic opportunities, like we have seen with Air Products in Alberta, Volkswagen in Ontario or Ford's new battery cathode facility in Bécancour. This all demands a decarbonized grid, but also a much larger grid. In fact, we will need to double, or increase by more, the size of our existing grid by 2050. Offshore wind offers opportunity for Atlantic Canada to not only feed the need for significant additional renewable energy for the electricity grid, but also would provide a major export opportunity associated with the production of zero-carbon hydrogen.
Bill is a critical piece of legislation to enable our offshore power potential to be realized, not only to meet federal climate targets, but also to achieve provincial power and economic plans. Last fall, Nova Scotia set an offshore wind target with a goal of providing seabed land leases of up to five gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, with the intention of using most of that power to support the production of hydrogen that will be used in Canada or exported. That is enough energy to power 3,750,000 homes.
Newfoundland and Labrador has high ambitions as well. During my last visit to St. John's for the Energy NL Conference, there was extensive interest from the private sector, workers and local levels of government in the opportunities presented by offshore renewables, including hydrogen production.
With regard to the hydrogen opportunity, it is an economic opportunity for Canada. It is also an opportunity to help our friends in Europe in their efforts to enhance energy security and to accelerate the move toward a low-carbon future. It is something that we discussed when Chancellor Scholz and Vice-Chancellor Habeck visited us last year, and it is something on which we continue to work actively with our friends in Germany.
Newfoundland's energy minister, Andrew Parsons, has said of Bill that he is “pleased that the federal government is moving forward legislative amendments to modernize the Accord Acts to enable new clean energy opportunities, grow the economy and protect the environment. This is consistent with [his] government's commitment to achieving net zero by 2050.”
Nova Scotia's ministers Halman and Rushton said that we need “modern, forward-looking solutions to achieve [climate goals].” They stated that “Amending the federal Accord Act is an important step so that we can safely and responsibly pursue renewable energy projects like offshore wind.”
Today, we are here to talk about a potential $1-trillion global industry, offshore wind. Canada must move rapidly to seize our share in this global economic opportunity. We know that we are in a race for investment, and that is why, in partnership with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, we have been working on this legislation while concurrently preparing for its implementation.
The proposed amendments to the accord acts are key factors in unlocking this potential. As we all know, the development of major projects requires a stable, predictable and credible legislative and regulatory framework, as well as oversight provided by a predictable and credible regulatory authority. We have both.
We have the accord acts, and we have the offshore regulators that are the result of enduring federal and provincial partnerships that have existed for more than three decades. The two historic Atlantic accords were signed in the mid-1980s, first between Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador, then between Canada and Nova Scotia. These are historic accords that laid the foundations for the current system of joint management of the offshore accords. Under these historic accords, both provinces became equal partners with Canada in managing offshore energy, with revenues going to the provinces.
They also established two autonomous boards that were tasked with regulating offshore oil and gas projects. Through this bill we would expand their mandate to include the regulation of offshore renewable energy. The boards are already well accustomed to interpreting offshore energy legislation and enforcing standards that each project will be expected to meet.
It is time to look to the future and move forward with these important amendments. The accord acts are informed by years of engagement and collaboration with our joint management partners, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
There are several things these amendments would do. First, they would modernize parts of the land tenure process for existing offshore activities to better align with the international best practices and keep pace with emerging technologies. Second, they would leverage the boards wealth of expertise and modernize the accord acts so that the boards can take on the important responsibility of regulating Nova Scotia's and Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore renewable energy projects, very much including wind projects. This would allow the boards to implement and administer the proposed legislative frameworks around offshore renewables and ensure that best practices around land rights management are adopted specifically around land use planning, bidding processes, issuing licences for seabed use and providing authorizations for the development of offshore renewable projects.
The amendments would ensure that the accord acts align with the Impact Assessment Act, ensuring that the roles and responsibilities of regulators and the Impact Assessment Agency are further clarified for all parties and stakeholders. Also, with regard to the government's duty to consult with indigenous peoples, the amendments specify that the government would be able to rely on the offshore energy boards to consult with indigenous peoples and make accommodations to mitigate any adverse impacts to treaty rights and aboriginal rights.
This legislation is a critical part of Canada's ongoing work in the fight against climate change and it aligns with the actions taken by some of our peer countries. Several countries have taken the step of creating or broadening the authorities of existing offshore energy regulators. This is true for the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway and Australia.
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are working to fight climate change and to seize the economic opportunities that can come from a transition to a low-carbon future. They are promoting the use of low-cost and low-carbon electric heat by the installation of heat pumps. They have joined with the Government of Canada on the Regional Energy and Resource Tables to ensure they are well placed to capitalize on economic opportunities, and they are initiating new, innovative, renewable energy projects. They are part of a push that is happening across the country to encourage renewable energy and clean fuels as well as create a thriving energy economy.
As I mentioned off the top, there is an alternative to our plan for the future. This is what I referred to earlier as the “second path”, which is one of hoping for the best. In my mind, this path ignores the very clear evidence as to how climate change is undermining the health and safety of people and of the planet. Burying one's head in the sand will lead to environmental devastation and economic stagnation as the world, very much including global investors, simply looks elsewhere.
Some in this country will try to tell us that one can fight climate change by simply relying on technology. I know that the Conservative leader is often fond of using the tag line “technology, not taxes”, by which he seems to imply that we can simply hope on technology to save us. However, I will tell members that is not a plan. That is a blind hope that comes from someone who has no background in technology, no background in energy and no background in climate issues.
I certainly am very well aware, given the time I spent in the technology industry, of the power of technology, but technology is not a climate plan nor is it a plan for the economy. A true plan requires thoughtful regulation, thoughtful investments and, yes, a price on carbon pollution.
This “hope for the best” approach will lead the Canadian economy down a path to obsolescence and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in Canada's energy sector. Such an approach would create uncertainty and dissuade investment from coming to Canada, which is, of course, the opposite of what we need. Simple tag lines in place of serious policy do not serve Canadians well, which is why we are here today with serious policy that would create good jobs, fight climate change and unlock the full economic potential of the offshore.
Certainly, passing Bill would allow Canada to compete with our peer countries to seize our share of a massive global market opportunity. On the other hand, opposition to this bill would hold back our potential, prevent job creation in Atlantic Canada and send the wrong message to Nova Scotians and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we act in the best interests of the economic and environmental well-being of Atlantic Canadians by supporting Bill . I sincerely hope that no one in this House will decide to go down the wrong path instead of working together to pass this legislation to bring our offshore into being.
In conclusion, all of these changes make sense. Offshore wind energy can and will contribute to this government's goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. It is a key part of decarbonizing the electricity sector and transitioning our economy towards electrical power, establishing our hydrogen sector and providing new, sustainable jobs in the offshore energy sector. I am confident that this bill is and will be a critical element and a key driver to achieving the future we all envision in this House, one that is sustainable, affordable and prosperous for all Canadians.
Madam Speaker, it is great to be back in the House of Commons on behalf of the people of Lakeland, and Canadians everywhere, who want life to be more affordable, and also want energy and food security, which is the most important economic and geopolitical question facing the free world.
Unfortunately, Bill is another step in a long line of Liberal laws and policies since 2015 that appears destined to drive investment out of Canada with more uncertainty, red tape and extended and costly timelines.
Hopefully, this time the Liberals will actually listen to cautions and analysis during debate and committee consideration to prevent the rather ridiculous current spectacle they are now caught in, claiming to want to reduce permitting and regulatory timelines even though they have been in government for eight years, and are actually talking about the extra red tape, confusion and potentially endless timelines they themselves imposed through Bill , which Conservatives and then municipalities, indigenous leaders, private sector proponents, and all provinces and territories did warn about at the time. As always, the Liberals figured they knew best, and they sure did create a heck of a broken mess.
Ostensibly, the bill would amend the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to become the regulators and add offshore renewables to their mandates, while creating a regulatory regime for offshore, wind and other renewable energy projects that currently exist for offshore petroleum operations.
It is a reasonable and necessary initiative, and Conservatives are glad to see the inclusion of the provincial governments as required partners in final decisions on this joint jurisdiction. I might note that is a principle the Liberals often abandon when it comes to other provincial governments with which they disagree. However, it is both unfortunately and unsurprisingly clear that Bill would also subject offshore renewable energy to the same web of uncertain regulations, long and costly timelines and political decision-making that has driven hundreds of billions of dollars in private sector energy investment, hundreds of businesses and hundreds of thousands of energy jobs out of Canada and into other jurisdictions around the world.
Bill also includes provisions that could impose a full shutdown and ban on offshore oil and gas development at any time. That is a direct attack on one of Newfoundland's key industries, risks undermining the rights of indigenous communities and local communities to meaningful consultation, and ignores the work and aspirations of other locally impacted communities and residents.
The Liberals have already threatened offshore activity in Newfoundland and Labrador with a minister saying that the decision on Baie du Nord was the most difficult one they had ever made. Baie du Nord would have provided more than 13,000 jobs overall; $97.6 billion in national GDP; $82 billion in provincial GDP, more than 8,900 jobs, $11 billion in taxes and $12.8 billion in royalty revenues for Newfoundland and Labrador; $7.2 billion in GDP and more than 2,200 jobs for Ontario; $2.6 billion and more than 900 jobs for Quebec; $3.1 billion in GDP and almost 700 jobs for Albertan. Like the usual pattern under the government, the private sector proponent has put that project on hold for three years because of uncertainty.
As written, the bill has many gaps. The Liberals must clarify, sooner than later, a number of practical implications.
For example, will the offshore boards need more resources for technical expertise or personnel, or more funding to fulfill the additional responsibilities? If so, who will pay for it? What is a realistic expectation of when the regulators would be fully ready for the work outside of their current scope? What about the responsibility for health and safety regulations for renewable energy projects at sea, which are currently the job of the respective offshore boards on offshore rigs and under the department of labour on land? These obligations should be clearly defined jurisdictionally in the bill.
What about environmental considerations relating to offshore renewable projects? The boards, the truth is, currently have no experience in activities around wind, tidal and other sea-based energies that may disrupt ecosystems and seaweed growth; harm sea birds, whales, fish stock, lobster stock; or interfere with organisms that live on the sea bed, like anemones, corals, crabs, sea urchins and sponges. What provisions are needed for the regulators to adequately assess risks to key habitat and vulnerable species?
I cannot imagine, nor would I ever suggest, that the NDP-Liberals will add upstream emission requirements as a condition for such approvals, like it did, along with downstream emissions, in a double standard deliberately designed to kill the west to east pipeline that could have created energy self-security and self-sufficiency for Canada, by refining and exporting western resources on the Atlantic Canadian coast for export. European allies and Ukrainians definitely would appreciate that. However, it would certainly be a significant hurdle if they did, given what is really involved in the manufacturing of steel and concrete for offshore renewable projects, which create a lot of hazardous waste on the back end, for example. If the Liberals actually cared about the cumulative impacts, like they always say they do, they would clarify all of that in this bill also.
The Liberals must account for these considerations. At this point, after eight years, Canadians should be skeptical if the government says that it will work out the details later or in regulations after the fact. That has alway been a disaster under those guys, no matter the issue.
On top of these unanswered questions, the reality is that the bill would triple the timeline for a final decision on alternative energy projects and would give political decision-makers the ability to extend that timeline potentially indefinitely.
If this all sounds familiar, a lack of details on crucial issues, uncertainty around roles, responsibilities or requirement, and timelines that actually have so many loopholes for interference that no concrete timelines really exist at all, that is because it is. This is what the Liberals did in Bill , which the Conservatives warned would help prevent any major pipeline projects from being approved or even proposed in Canada since it passed in 2019. It has become a gatekeeping roadblock to private sector proponents in all areas of resource development and the pursuit of major projects in Canada.
The reality is that companies will not invest billions in building energy infrastructure in Canada's uncertain fiscal and regulatory framework, where excessive and duplicative red tape means there is no consistency or certainty in the assessment process, no clear rules or a path to completion, and no guaranteed return on investment, which can all be lost at the whim of a government minister's unilateral decision.
As much as the Liberals wish it were true, alternative energy projects are not in a separate magical category from oil and gas, where they are somehow immune from these basic economic and fiscal considerations, except for those publicly funded through subsidies or paid for by utility ratepayers, definitely a significant proportion of renewable and alternative energy to date, especially outside of Alberta, where it is done by the private sector primarily. The fiscal and regulatory framework is a crucial and definitive aspect of what private sector proponents politely call the “lack of a business case” every time a major project is halted or abandoned after years and millions of dollars of working toward it, usually moving their focus and tragically their money, jobs, innovation, initiative, creativity and expertise to other countries. The Liberals have already created these same adverse conditions for wind, solar and tidal as well.
Let us take the Pempa'q tidal energy project in the Bay of Fundy. It would have provided clean, green energy to Nova Scotia's electrical grid and could have generated up to 2,500 megawatts, while bringing in $100 million in investment and significantly reducing emissions. However, after repeated delays, a tide of Liberal red tape and “Five years of insurmountable regulatory challenges” the proponent withdrew, and it folded.
Sustainable Marine was not the only victim of multiple layers of red tape that involved departments. Other renewable projects, like a pulp mill that would have created biodegradable plastics from their waste stream, left Canada because the Liberals told the proponents that the approval phase under their gatekeepers would take 20 years.
The bottom line is that energy companies, like any company, need certainty to invest, whether in the oil sands, natural gas, critical minerals, pipelines, hydrogen, petrochemicals, wind or solar farms or hydroelectricity. Proponents need concrete timelines, consistent, well-defined and predictable regulatory measures. They need to be confident that a government will respect jurisdictional responsibilities, be willing to enforce the rule of law and take action if necessary for projects after approval so proponents can know that if they follow the rules, meet the conditions and act in good faith, they will be successful.
Companies and the regulators also need to account for possible risks posed to local activities, most notably the impacts of offshore wind development and other technologies on the livelihoods of Atlantic fishers and lobstermen.
In this case, all impacted parties need to be involved in the consultation process from the get-go. Unfortunately, the Liberal's Bill creates the opposite for both alternative energy sources and offshore oil and gas. When it comes to crafting anti-energy legislation, the Liberals, with their NDP power broking coalition, just cannot seem to help themselves. Sections 28 and 137 of this bill give the government the power, as I mentioned before, to completely end any current offshore drilling for oil and gas, as well as any offshore alternative energy development. Obviously, that is an immediate threat to the sector because of the uncertainty, even for existing operations, and it risks any future projects in these provinces by designating prohibited development areas.
Notably, the bill states that any activity may be suspended in those areas. That obviously includes offshore petroleum drilling and exploration, but the language could also include offshore wind and other alternative energy development. One thing that is predictable is this pattern because it is similar to a previous Liberal bill, Bill , which allowed a government minister to unilaterally designate any marine area in Canada as a prohibited development zone.
The Liberals must answer whether their increasing targets and the language in Bill would cancel and/or prohibit both traditional and renewable energy projects if located in those areas. What are the restrictions? How could developers make investment decisions if the areas where they operate may suddenly be declared prohibited?
The Liberals are so comfortable with their nearly decade-long pattern of piling on layers of anti-energy, anti-development and anti-private sector laws, policies and taxes on Canada's key sectors that they hinder both traditional sources of energy, which they recklessly want to phase out prematurely, and stand in the way of the renewable and new technologies they purport to want.
This discussion cannot be removed from the context of Canada still operating, or rather more accurately not operating, under the rules and red tape the NDP-Liberal government imported into this bill.
Bill completely erased the concept of having any timelines for approving energy infrastructure, and instead allowed for limitless and indefinite extensions of regulatory timelines, as we warned. Unfortunately, this just creates a swath of potential maybes on project applications because of the potential for suspensions and delays, and the uncertainty about measures for applications and outcomes.
With Bill , as many Canadians said at the time, the Liberals might as well have hung a sign in the window that said, “Canada is closed for business”. What is clear, and should be stunningly and frankly, through this total travesty, clear to all Canadians by now, is that clear timelines and requirements, as well as predictable rules and responsibilities, provide certainty for private sector proponents, which benefits the whole country.
After eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, Canada ranks 31st among peers in the burden of regulations, as of 2018, and is less than half as competitive as the OECD average in administrative burdens on energy project start-ups. Canada is second-last in the OECD for construction permits, only ahead of Slovakia, and 64th in the world for building permits.
The Liberals touted creating certainty and predictability for energy companies with clear rules and regulations to follow, but the actual bill created a massive new web of poorly defined criteria for companies and gave cabinet ministers the power to add any criteria to the list that they wanted at any time. There is no predictability or consistency. Bill is an extension of that pattern.
Another concerning part is the provisions that specify the regulators in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia as the parties responsible for indigenous consultation for offshore oil and gas and affordable energy projects. I must say that Conservatives believe in greater authority and autonomy for provinces to govern their own affairs. We want less Ottawa. Conservatives believe in smaller governments and a shift of power to individuals and local communities. The many indigenous communities where I am from, and those from across the country, who are reliant on and depend upon traditional and alternative energy development, all say the same thing.
However, I want to caution the NDP-Liberals that this section may invite court challenges if it is not clarified, which would create even more costly delays in an already drawn-out and unpredictable process. Through years of extensive legal challenges, precedent and judicial decisions on major energy infrastructure, courts have emphasized that it is the Crown's duty to consult indigenous people and that a failure on the part of the government to ensure a two-way dialogue, and that actual decision-makers are at the table during the consultation process, is what has overturned approval decisions.
That was the case with the Liberals' approval of the Trans Mountain expansion under their own process. Indigenous consultation was overturned and the had to spend months meeting with indigenous communities to redo it. Of course, they could have also done that with the northern gateway pipeline before that, and they would have saved everyone time and money later on with TMX. Instead, the vetoed northern gateway, blocking exports from the west coast to countries in Asia that desperately need our energy and killing all of the equity and mutual benefit agreements for the 31 indigenous communities along the pipeline that supported it, but I digress.
As currently drafted, this bill explicitly delegates the regulators as responsible for indigenous consultation. It is silent on the Crown's particular duty to consult, and it also shifts the power of final decision-making to federal and provincial government ministers.
On top of the fact that indigenous leaders often consider a federal minister specifically as the appropriate decision-maker to engage with them, if current or future governments rely too much or exclusively on the regulators for all assessments not captured by the Impact Assessment Act's consultation process, as is suggested in this bill, this section risks court challenges to proposed and approved projects in the long run and jeopardizes future offshore renewable and petroleum projects.
The impact of the uncertainty created by the Liberal government cannot be overstated. It takes Canada out of the global competition for energy development, punishing the best in class, and cedes market shares to dictators and regimes with far lower environmental and human rights standards. It costs Canada billions of dollars in investment and hundreds of thousands of jobs, and it robs Canadians and Canada's free and democratic allies of many irreplaceable opportunities, of energy security and of hope for the future.
I believe the impact on provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia deserves special attention. Anyone who has worked in Alberta's oil patch has no doubt worked together with many Newfoundlanders and Nova Scotians. Certainly, that is where my own family came from.
My mother was from Newfoundland. My father was from Nova Scotia. My grandmother was the first female mayor of Dartmouth, and I am a first generation Albertan.
My own constituents have been hit hard by the hostile, divisive NDP-Liberal government. Other than the people of Saskatchewan, our neighbours who are often interchangeable citizens based on the free enterprise policies of our respective provincial governments at any given time, the people most concerned about the damage done to Alberta are consistently Atlantic Canadians.
I wish that more of our neighbours could hear directly from Atlantic Canadians, who are always effusive in their reverence for Alberta and our main industries. Atlantic Canadians share with Albertans a feeling of distance and neglect from Ottawa. They are concerned about the exact same consequences of NDP-Liberal policies, and the skyrocketing costs of living, as well as those of fuel and food prices. They are being forced to choose between heating and eating, and they are concerned about a reliance on energy sources, for which there are few affordable or immediate options. They are worried about how to make ends meet and are wanting to hope for the future.
Thousands of people from Atlantic Canada, every year, come to Alberta to support their families and communities through the array of diverse opportunities offered by Alberta's globally renowned energy and renewable energy sectors. Alberta has steady work and high-paying, quality jobs that contribute revenue to all three levels of government for the public services and programs that Canadians rely on.
That impact was unprecedented. In 2014, for example, nine out of every 10 full-time jobs created in Canada were created in Alberta, and every job in the oil sands creates two indirect and three induced jobs at home and in other regions and provinces.
While public enemy number one for the NDP-Liberal anti-energy and anti-private sector policies during the last eight years has been Alberta, the truth is that the costly coalition's approach hurts the whole country, especially Atlantic Canadians.
While Albertans and Atlantic Canadians are inextricably linked and have helped to build each other's provinces, there is always a human cost to having to move away for work. Generations of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents spent a hundred years working hard to build lives, businesses, farms and futures for their kids. Now their children and their grandchildren are being forced to seek out opportunities elsewhere.
Legacies left behind is the very real generational impact of anti-development and anti-resource policies. Conservatives, in conclusion, want to see the same opportunities. We want to see the same high-paying, quality jobs for people in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia as there are for those in Alberta and for every Canadian.
Conservatives want families to be able to stay together, parents to be able to see their kids, cousins to know each other and people to be able to build upon legacies secured by generations before them.
Madam Speaker, I am especially pleased to rise in the House this morning because I am feeling confident. My party whip complimented me on my perfect hair before I rose to speak, so I am feeling really good about speaking to Bill this morning.
The Bloc Québécois will take a careful look at the principles of Bill C‑49. It goes without saying that we will want to examine this bill more closely in committee. However, before I get into the nitty-gritty of the bill, I want to mention a few problems that I noticed with it.
The first has to do with provincial jurisdictions. Personally, I would not want the federal government to have control over the management of Canada's natural resources. We know that natural resource management is a provincial responsibility. However, when we look carefully at this bill, we see that, in response to a Supreme Court ruling, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have agreed that offshore waters fall under federal jurisdiction. There is therefore no breach.
I think it is important to point that out, because the Bloc Québécois introduced a bill on environmental assessments that states that such assessments should fall under Quebec's jurisdiction and that what happens within Quebec's borders should be specifically assessed by Quebec. That is one thing.
I do not think there is any dispute about areas of jurisdiction in this bill. That is also important because my riding is home to the Saguenay waterway, and the federal government published a study that said that traffic on the Saguenay waterway should be restricted. I did not want to end up in a situation where I had to defend something that would go against the legitimate right of Quebec and the provinces to have their jurisdictions respected.
Before moving on to Bill itself, I would like to go over the context. That is a bit like what the did earlier in his speech. He went over the context. This summer, we experienced the worst wildfires in the Saguenay—Lac‑Saint‑Jean and Abitibi regions. I have colleagues from Abitibi who were affected all summer by this awful situation. They had to support many people in their community.
Wildfires are a symptom of climate change. Droughts are getting longer and more intense and starting earlier. This makes forest conditions ripe for wildfires. To deny that would be heresy, in my view. I say this because I believe public decision-makers have a duty to act responsibly, particularly in the context of the climate crisis. That is the theme that the Bloc Québécois has adopted for this new parliamentary session.
What does acting responsibly in the context of the climate crisis mean? For one thing, it means listening to the science. If someone cannot listen to the science, then at the very least, they should not lie. Politicians should not lie to the population. The people of Alberta should not be led to believe that things can go on as before and that they can keep extracting oil from the oil sands forever. Albertans should not be lied to. Most importantly, Quebeckers should not be lied to.
There is a lie that is being perpetuated. I hear it here every day. It is about the infamous carbon tax. Let me repeat, there is no carbon tax that applies to Quebec. Quebec has its own carbon pricing. The only carbon tax applies to the rest of Canada, and what my Conservative colleagues are referring to is actually a fuel standard. The Conservatives themselves once tried to implement a similar clean fuel standard.
Going back to the context, it should be obvious that we are facing a climate crisis. That climate crisis must be addressed by respecting science and, above all, by not lying. I can promise you, Madam Speaker, that I will not lie.
To give a slightly more detailed picture of the current context, let me remind members how reliant Canada is on fossil fuels. For me, the first thing that comes to mind is that over $30 billion was spent on a pipeline. That is a lot. That is over $30 billion for a piece of infrastructure that will serve the greedy oil and gas industry. I will come back to that later.
Since 2015, I have often heard the Liberal government cite the fight against climate change as an excuse to spend billions of dollars of public money on the pipe dream of making oil sands development cleaner. The government hopes to extend the lifespan of the oil sands.
Now it is telling us that low-carbon oil is on the way. The government is sparing no effort to make it happen. I would simply remind my colleagues of the emissions reduction fund that was created during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was anything but what its name suggested. The commissioner of the environment and sustainable development told the Standing Committee on Natural Resources that the fund had not reduced emissions after all. I would also refer my colleagues to the emissions reduction fund's $675‑million onshore program, especially with respect to the case at hand.
According to conservative figures from 2022, the federal government provided no less than $20 billion in support to the oil and gas sector, that is, the fossil fuel sector. Subsidies for bogus solutions are being perpetuated in the pursuit of the new fantasy of carbon capture and sequestration strategies. The most recent budget included tax credits for the production of blue hydrogen, which is hydrogen derived from natural gas with carbon sequestration. Several experts have indicated that it is unattainable in these volumes, and yet huge subsidies are still being paid out to the oil and gas sector.
Meanwhile, looking at 2022, since 2023 is not yet over, the figures show that the oil and gas sector posted record profits. In 2022, Exxon recorded record profits of $56 billion, Shell made $40 billion, TotalEnergies made $36 billion, Chevron made $36 billion, and BP made $27 billion, for a total of $220 billion. Why am I sharing those figures? It is because it seems clear to me, and I think it is clear to all my colleagues, that when it comes to energy, Canada is trapped in the oil industry's stranglehold and cannot escape the idea of it. No one seems capable of thinking outside the box.
Let us come back to Bill . I am not saying that the Bloc Québécois is not going to support this bill, but there is still a lot of work to be done. If the government wants to convince us of the merits of Bill C‑49, then it needs to demonstrate that the bill is truly for the benefit of the energy transition. Perhaps we will talk a bit later about the name of the bill we are trying to change. Slogans and changes to the names of organizations are not going to convince the public, who no longer trusts the government to fight climate change. The bill needs to set out a plan to gradually reduce offshore oil and gas production and set an end date to the issuing of permits for new drilling projects.
Generally speaking, if we go back to what is in Bill C‑49, we see that it aims to modernize the administrative regime and management of the marine energy industry in eastern Canada. I understand that there are no contentious aspects from a jurisdictional management perspective, but I would say that even though the bill refers to future activities related to the renewable energy sector, namely offshore wind energy off Canada's coasts, which is what I was saying to the minister this morning, the fact remains that the primary objective is oil and gas development, which our party has consistently denounced.
It is a bill that talks about clean energy, but what is hidden under this clean energy is still oil and gas development projects. It is not all doom and gloom, however. There are some interesting elements in this bill. However, many issues remain unresolved, particularly with respect to meeting conservation requirements for marine biodiversity, which we can see when we look at the part of the bill that deals the renewable energy development in eastern Canada. The same goes with respect to tightening the rules governing oil and gas development activities, although they should simply no longer exist.
I see that the stated purpose of offshore wind power development is to produce hydrogen for export. Is that an attempt to soften the current narrative around hydrogen? The fact remains that the Government of Canada's strategy on hydrogen is to produce gas-based hydrogen. At the end of the day, the amount that would be produced from wind power is negligible compared to the targeted production amounts for blue hydrogen.
I know that the does not like talking about colours when it comes to hydrogen. However, blue hydrogen requires a carbon capture technology that is not quite ready and the government is investing a lot of money in that.
My party and I believe that, in the context of the energy transition, the offshore, non-renewable energy sector should decline quickly. The non-renewable energy sector's decline may well be an area that requires further clarification in the bill.
We therefore do not think that any new offshore oil and gas export or development project should be permitted, regardless of the specific conditions associated with it. As a friendly reminder to my friends in the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party and the NDP, the path that Quebec is currently taking could quite possibly start a trend in the maritime provinces and Canada. We all know that Quebec put a firm and definite stop to oil and gas exploration and development in its territory by passing an act ending exploration for petroleum and production of petroleum and brine. The act also seeks to eliminate public funding for these activities.
Within the limits of its jurisdiction and in light of the current climate crisis, a responsible government could therefore decide to end oil and gas development. It has been done before. A nation did it before, and that nation was Quebec. The federal government followed our example on child care. I would urge it to do the same thing today on this file—and 20 years down the road maybe it could follow Quebec's example again, but on secularism. I digress. Still, Quebec deserves special mention as the first North American state to ban oil and gas exploration in its territory.
As we mentioned multiple times, the government of Canada has failed in its duty to protect ecosystems. Not a week, not even a day, goes by without my colleagues questioning the about that. The minister did indeed fail in his duty: He authorized dozens of new drilling projects in environmentally sensitive areas, including marine refuges. We spoke out about this before the summer break.
Everybody knows as well as I do that offshore drilling poses a threat to marine life. Despite its commitments to marine conservation, the Liberal government supported the development of the offshore oil industry and authorized drilling projects in the very marine refuge it had created.
I want to talk about a double standard that I have seen emerging. There was a threat to the entire forestry sector in Quebec over the caribou issue. On numerous occasions, the said that he was considering issuing a decree to ensure that caribou were better protected. At the same time, in those same weeks, he was prepared to approve offshore drilling.
That seems to me to be a double standard for two natural resource sectors. When it comes to the oil and gas sector, wildlife protection is not even on the government's radar. However, when it came to Quebec's forestry industry, the minister was ready to pounce, prepared to say he would issue a decree. In the end, the only thing that made him back down, strange as it may seem, was the forest fires. The double standards are pretty clear.
On this point, in the specific case of offshore development, the Minister of Environment absolved himself of responsibility by arguing on multiple occasions that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board was an independent body.
That is what was convenient for him, since it allowed him to justify his inaction, even though the board exists under an agreement between the federal government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the federal government is responsible for conducting environmental impact assessments and protecting natural environments.
For years now, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board has been promoting the development and exploitation of marine oil and gas. Every year, the board issues a call for tenders and auctions off new exploratory drilling permits. Every year, our party speaks out against this process because its objective runs contrary to the objectives of protecting biodiversity and fighting climate change.
The boards and the Department of Natural Resources are responsible for both regulating the industry and fostering its development, which is totally incongruous. I am sure everyone would agree that these are two contradictory goals. As indicated on the department's website, their role is to facilitate the exploration and development of oil and gas resources. I hope that this problem will be corrected in this bill and that it will not prevent the development of renewable energy.
Now I would like to draw the attention of the House to the following. I have pointed out an inconsistency to my colleague the minister regarding the greenwashing in this bill. On reading this bill I wondered why they would add the expression “clean energy”. I asked the minister earlier which development this was referring to here. Of course there is going to be wind power projects, but the development at hand here is primarily oil and gas development. Why add the expression “clean energy”? The federal government uses that expression everywhere. Oil is not and never will be a clean energy. It is a purely Canadian fantasy.
My party—and I hope the same goes for the NDP and for all the other parties—is not fooled by the name changes in the two acts in question. To me, removing the word “petroleum” is greenwashing. They remove the word “petroleum” at the very moment that Ottawa and Newfoundland have a plan to double production beyond 2030 to 235 million barrels a year, which would require 100 new drilling projects by 2030.
As we often say, the Liberals do not walk the talk. That much is obvious. If their goal is to have more clean energy projects, all I can say is that what the government is doing behind the scenes could not be further from that. By now, we are used to all this greenwashing language. The and his friend the have truly mastered that craft.
What I like about the Conservatives is that we know what to expect from them. They are proud, enthusiastic even, to act as lobbyists for the oil and gas sector.
In the Liberal ranks, however, under the guise of reducing the impact of the oil and gas sector's greenhouse gas emissions, they use other strategies: they want to produce net-zero oil using a bunch of new, extremely expensive technologies. Nevertheless, the goal remains the same: to support the oil and gas sector.
I will end on a positive note. This bill is not all bad. It contains elements to regulate the development of renewable energy, but those too will need to be looked at carefully in committee.
We also believe that environmental impact assessments should be the responsibility of independent public organizations whose mission does not include any other responsibilities or objectives. In that regard, we believe that the federal and provincial governments could be guided by Quebec's environmental legislation.
Finally, if the government wants the Bloc Québécois to support Bill , then it must show that this bill serves the energy transition.
On that point, I want to emphasize that it is futile for the government to argue that all the companies are doing is exploratory drilling because everyone knows that the purpose of such drilling is development. No company spends tens of millions of dollars to carry out exploratory drilling when they have no intention of developing the resources—
Madam Speaker, I am certainly proud to rise on behalf of the people of Timmins—James Bay to speak to Bill , an act to amend the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act. It would make sure that we can finally embed the issue of getting renewables in wind energy development off of the east coast of Canada.
I want to begin by saying that I extend my deepest concern in solidarity with the people of Atlantic Canada, who have just come through the devastation of hurricane Lee. I was supposed to be in Lunenburg this past weekend. It was the second year in a row that I had attempted to be at the Lunenburg writers festival, both years with planes booked and hotels all set. Last year it was the devastation of hurricane Fiona that shut down the writers festival, with a cost of $800 million in damages for the people of the region. I was invited to come again this year, and then we had hurricane Lee.
What we are seeing is the climate crisis up close. It used to be that hurricanes were spread out over many, many years. Now we are starting to see them regularly, and they are moving further north as we are seeing an increasingly destabilized climate.
This past summer, 200,000 Canadians were displaced by climate catastrophe. Some communities were almost lost, from Kelowna to Yellowknife to Halifax to my region of Kashechewan and Fort Albany in the James Bay subarctic. Fires in the subarctic of James Bay are almost unheard of. As we were scrambling to try to get Hercules aircraft up to get people out of the fire zones, people had to put their families in canoes to stay ahead of the fire. All through this time, of course, the was running his tour to make pollution free across Canada. In fact, he had to cancel a number of his events because people were being chased out by the toxic fumes of a climate catastrophe.
How do the fires in James Bay, what we just saw in the Arctic and the almost toxic levels of air quality we have seen for the last number of weeks in Edmonton tie into the crisis being faced in Atlantic Canada? The scientists who are monitoring the collapse of the Greenland ice shelves have noticed a very disturbing trend. Soot from fires that is landing on the ice shelves draws heat because it is dark, and ice normally is reflective of the sun. However, the more soot that falls on the Greenland ice shelves, the quicker the disintegration of those ice shelves has become. That is causing increasingly destabilized waters in the Atlantic.
When 14 million hectares of Canadian forest burn in a single summer, we can see that we are at an environmental tipping point. It needs to be said clearly and simply that the cause of this collapse is the burning of fossil fuels. The oil industry bears responsibility. It knows that and it has known that for decades.
In the early 1980s, Exxon produced some of the best scientific evidence showing that a climate catastrophe would unfold if the diminution of the use of fossil fuels was not implemented immediately. In fact, in 1982, we had a memo from Exxon Mobil warning that if steps were not taken, the damage would not be reversible. Unfortunately, this is what our country and our planet are living through now. Exxon and the other oil players decided to suppress evidence and in fact spent millions on a disinformation campaign falsifying what was very straightforward science saying that the more carbon that is put into the atmosphere, the more heat will be trapped, and the more heat that is trapped, the more the temperature changes and the more the planet destabilizes.
It is therefore really important that we address this crisis straight on. We have to address it with a sense of urgency. There is an urgent need for the government to start moving quickly on addressing this. There is a need to urgently hold the big oil companies to account.
We know that this past summer, Rich Kruger, the CEO of Suncor, said the only urgency facing his company was to make as much money as possible. This is at a time when it is making record profits, yet he sees the urgency of burning more of our planet quicker in order to pay shareholders, most of whom live offshore.
However, there is an impact to that that is not just about this year, next year or 10 years from now. Scientist David Archer states, “The climatic impacts of releasing fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge...longer than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of human civilization so far.” That is the cavalier attitude of those who are promoting the expansion of big oil to not just the world we have today, but the world that our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren will have to live with. It makes no economic sense whatsoever.
I will refer to last week's really interesting report by the International Energy Agency, hardly a left-wing think tank, that warned we are at “the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era”. It says that since the war in Ukraine, there has been a massive push in Europe to increase clean energy so that they get off Russian oil and gas. The Biden administration's IRA has launched a huge clean energy transformation, something that is not being picked up in Canada. In fact, Danielle Smith has just spiked investments by $33 billion and has shut down numerous projects out of the ideology she has that clean energy is somehow a threat to oil and gas in Alberta, even though thousands of jobs would be created. In fact, Calgary Economic Development says Alberta alone stands to gain 170,000 jobs from clean energy development. Unfortunately, we have a premier who believes the world is flat. It is not flat; it is burning.
To the International Energy Agency's comment that “the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era” is here, Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency says, “We are witnessing the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era and we have to prepare ourselves for the next era.” I am hoping that this legislation to update the accords with Atlantic Canada to increase offshore oil will be part of that process. Birol says, “Oil and gas companies may not only be misjudging public opinion...they may well be misjudging the market if they expect further growth of oil and gas demand across this decade. New large-scale fossil fuel projects carry not only major climate risks but major financial risks.”
Canada as a petrostate needs to get very serious very quickly about the diversification of energy, not just to deal with the fact that our northern boreal forest is on fire and our communities on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are facing more and more climate urgency, but to deal with the fact that our economy needs to shift so that we do not lose the competitive advantage. It is a competitive advantage that is being taken very much by our colleagues and neighbours in the United States.
Why is it urgent to move on Bill ? Until now, the Liberal government has talked a good game on the climate crisis, but it has not really delivered. It made numerous promises in the fall economic statement and in the budget about clean energy tax credits, but those clean energy tax credits have to come into force very quickly. Again, as we have seen in the United States, there are huge opportunities and huge investments are being made.
As McCarthy Tétrault notes:
Bill C-49 would modernize the Atlantic Accord Acts by notably establishing a framework for the development and regulation of offshore renewable energy projects in both provinces and their offshore areas. Bill C-49 also expands regulation of current petroleum projects and clarifies jurisdictional rules regarding domestic and internal sea boundaries.
As this also includes petroleum, we have to get a really clear sense as New Democrats of how much the government is going to hold petroleum exploration to account. As the International Energy Agency says, we cannot allow more development of the energy that is burning our planet. The Liberals will have to be clear with us on this.
We really need to catch up with the United States. My colleagues in the Conservative Party seem to think that clean energy projects are some kind of ridiculous, outrageous attack on the 20th century, where they are very comfortable living. We have seen the Conservatives' attack on the investments in the battery plants being put in the auto sector, while huge amounts of investment are happening in the United States. We see their attacks on wind energy, relentless attacks, as though it is some kind of threat, particularly the members coming from Alberta, where we have 170,000 abandoned wells spewing toxic stuff all over farmlands.
Look at what is happening in the United States off the Atlantic coast right now. One wind farm off Rhode Island is going to create energy for 250,000 homes. There are 27 major projects on track to be completed by 2025 in the United States on the east coast. The Vineyard Wind project will create power for 400,000 homes. Canada is no where near this.
The Maritimes, with its huge energy costs, has an opportunity to step up right now, create thousands of jobs and dramatically lower the energy costs people face. This is why we need to move quickly on this.
The other huge opportunity we have is hydrogen, and getting a strong hydrogen economy off the ground is essential.
This past November, I was in Berlin. We had excellent meetings with various ministers. I met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The question the Germans asked of us was whether we could deliver them a hydrogen economy. That is what they were interested in from Canada.
My Conservative colleagues have always gone on about how Canada should be selling its LNG to Germany and Europe. They said to us very clearly that they were not interested in Canadian LNG, because by the time we could actually build a pipeline, they would be off that energy. They wanted a hydrogen economy. However, hydrogen is something the Conservatives do not believe in because it does not burn the planet. They think it is some kind of threat.
The Germans are a major industrial economy. They want to know if Canada will partner. When I met with Chancellor Scholz, I told him about the huge potential for hydrogen in Alberta. Now that we have Danielle Smith and her stagecoach to nowhere sitting out on the dead prairie grass, the Germans will not be going to Alberta if she does not get her act together. However, they will go to Atlantic Canada, and Atlantic Canada has a huge opportunity right now.
In Alberta, we saw $33 billion in clean energy projects spiked out of ideology. Again, this is because the Conservatives believe the world is flat.
Let us compare this to the Calgary economic development study that predicted 170,000 jobs in Alberta alone from a clean energy economy. I meet with Alberta energy workers all the time. Those workers want a clean energy economy. They know what is happening in big oil.
Big oil has fired 50,000 people in the oil patch in the last 10 years. Suncor got rid of 1,500 jobs this year alone. Rich Kruger is bragging he is going after work; they are moving toward automation. There is nothing in this for workers, but where the opportunities are going to be is in clean energy. We need to move beyond ideology. We need to address the economic issues and opportunities, because this investment is going stateside in a big way.
I talk with people in energy and mining sector all the time. They are saying that they we need to get a tax credit program up quickly, that the Americans are moving forward on that. How fast are the Americans moving? Since Biden moved forward on a clean energy vision, there has been $240 billion in new clean energy manufacturing investment in the United States. The private sector in the United States has over $110 billion in the clean energy manufacturing investments, $70 billion in electric vehicle supply chain and more than $10 billion in solar manufacturing.
Let us just talk about the electric vehicle supply chain for a moment. The Conservatives have been regularly attacking EV investments to keep our auto sector competitive. If we do not play in this field, it goes stateside, and the states are very willing to get this. It will have a huge impact in regions like mine, which is based on mining. They are looking at the opportunities of the base metal and clean energy critical minerals supply chain in which Canada could be a leader. We can do this, but we need to move quickly. We need to get the regulations in place to make these things happen. These are huge projects.
In Scotland, where North Sea oil is continuing to diminish, the huge offshore wind projects in Aberdeen have been transformative. We have not seen that in Canada. Therefore, we need to move on that.
As for what we see in the United States on the Inflation Reduction Act, it is expected that there will be 1.5 million additional jobs over the next decade based on clean-energy jobs. That is a huge transformation. However, here is the other element that is really fascinating. When the Biden plan came into place, there were a lot of skeptics. It was hard to tell whether this would work or not, but he brought a whole-of-government approach, something that the Liberal government has not done. At every level, the U.S. is focused on making this happen. They are saying now that with the Biden investments, the clean-energy takeoff that has happened, they are going to see 50% to 52% below current emissions by 2030.
The environment commissioner says that the Liberal government's promises to get to 40% below is still very much pie in the sky, very unrealistic, because the Liberals have missed every single climate target they have made. This is a problem with the going to COP26, standing on the world stage and making big, bold pronouncements, but not actually having done the work.
For example, when he announced the emissions cap, the Liberals did not talk to anybody here about what that emissions cap would look like. They went to COP26, made an announcement of an emissions cap and then did not follow through. The Liberals are going to have to follow through on the emissions cap now, because what we are seeing from the walk-away of the big oil companies in the Pathways Alliance is the lack of investment in clean tech, the fact that Suncor has walked away and divested itself through its clean energy projects and that it wants to vastly increase oil and gas production. The emissions cap has to happen and the government needs to get serious about this.
There is another interesting element for why we need to ensure that we get these regulations and tax credits and update our act so we can actually compete with the United States. In the United States, American families are projected to save between $27 billion to $38 billion on their electricity bills from 2022 to 2030 relative to a scenario if they did not have that act. The other thing we have learned about clean energy is that it is much cheaper to produce than gas or oil right now. That is why we are seeing this movement, where the International Energy Agency says that we have reached the economic tipping point. Is Canada going to continue to live in the 20th century or is it going to embrace the realities and the crises of the 21st century, not only the realities of a burning planet and destabilized weather systems that we have to address but also the opportunities to dramatically decarbonize?
The other element we need to really focus on is who is going to pay the cost for the huge damages that are being done to our planet right now, the billions in damages to communities and provinces from these unprecedented wildfires. We were so lucky and thankful that we did not lose communities this summer. We have seen a lot of damage, but we realize that we do not have the capacity anymore to deal with the kinds of fires we are seeing that easily could have taken out Kelowna, Yellowknife and communities in my region. We have to start addressing fires in a new and different way.
Growing up in northern Ontario, firefighting in the summer was a summer job before going to college or coming home from college. We need to talk at the national level. My colleague from the Kootenays has put forward a vision of the need to have a national program, but also who will fund this.
We see that Suncor made $70 billion in profits in two years. Those profits should be put into a fund for the damages that are caused by Suncor's actions. Who takes the risk when fossil fuels are burned? Ordinary Canadians and citizens around the world. If the shareholders are to make a profit, the people who really have a stake in this crisis should be able to get some recompense.
The New Democrats will be supporting this bill. We have a number of questions we want clarified at committee, and we will be more than willing to work to make this happen. We need to move quickly and decisively in the face climate crisis, but also for the opportunities we see.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the excellent member for this morning.
At two in the morning on July 22 of this year, Tera Sisco heard an emergency alert on the first responder scanner at her workplace. A flash flood was barrelling through Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, where Chris Sisco and Chris and Tera's six-year-old son were sleeping. Worried, she called Chris, who woke to find the apartment filling with water. He told Tera they were going to get in their Ford F-550 and evacuate.
Chris and their son, along with neighbours Nick and Courtney Harnish and their two children, got into the massive truck. However, even at four tonnes, it was no match for the flood’s current; soon the truck was drifting away, filling with water and sinking. The next update Tera received came over the scanner once again: word that there was a child in the water.
On July 21 and 22, thunderstorms dumped 250 millimetres, or 10 inches, of rain on Nova Scotia. It was the heaviest rainfall in 50 years, amounting to three months' worth of typical rainfall in just 24 hours. Tragically, four Nova Scotians died in those floods, including the two children in that Ford F-550: Colton Sisco and Natalie Harnish, both six years old.
Nick Holland, 52, and Terri-Lynn Keddy, 14, also perished. I know that all members in this House join me in mourning this terrible loss and extending our condolences to their families and loved ones, whose grief must be simply unimaginable.
In an interview with the Canadian Press not long after burying her six-year-old son, Tera Sisco recounted to reporter Michael Tutton the story I just shared. I would like to read a quote from Tera in that piece. She said, “Governments aren’t moving quickly enough to prepare for climate change, and Canadians are now seeing avoidable climate disaster deaths”. She continued, “These climate events are historic, and my little boy is part of that history now.” I hope her words are heard loud and clear here in this chamber.
This year, Atlantic Canada has seen the devastating impact of unrelenting climate disasters. A year ago this week, hurricane Fiona, the strongest storm in Canadian history, swept through Atlantic Canada. In just one small community alone, Port aux Basques, 20 homes were destroyed, displacing 200 people. A Nova Scotian, a Prince Edward Islander and a Newfoundlander died in that hurricane.
This past summer, wildfires raged through the Halifax area, destroying 150 homes and causing 16,000 Haligonians to evacuate. Many were without a home to return to after the fires. I am sharing these stories to illustrate the human impacts of climate change. The climate crisis is here. It is ravaging communities in each of our ridings, and it is getting worse by the month and by the year.
Canadians are looking to us to act and to protect them from the most devastating impacts of extreme weather events caused by climate change. We have an immediate responsibility to adapt our infrastructure to this new reality, especially in coastal communities such as those in Atlantic Canada, and to mitigate the worst, most unbearable impacts of climate change caused by fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.
Of course, there is no mystery as to why these disasters are happening. We have known for decades that climate change is caused by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and that the only way to mitigate climate change is to stop releasing greenhouse gases by transitioning to cleaner, renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, tidal, green hydrogen and others.
In Nova Scotia, we are particularly vulnerable to unmitigated climate change. We have 7,400 kilometres of coastline, and we are surrounded almost entirely by water. We have the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Gulf of Maine to the south, the Bay of Fundy to the west, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the north.
In fact, we are connected to the rest of Canada only by a 21-kilometre-wide land bridge known as the Chignecto Isthmus, which is mostly a marshland that is barely above sea level. It is extraordinarily vulnerable to sea level rise, storm surge and hurricane damage and becomes more vulnerable every year.
While our identity and our livelihoods have been sustained for generations by our proximity to the sea, the sea has increasingly become a threat because of extreme weather events and sea level rise caused by climate change. However, here is the thing: Our proximity to the ocean also grants us a fighting chance to protect ourselves and future generations from the very worst effects of climate change, and that is the immense potential of offshore renewable energy.
This is the context in which the introduced Bill in the House today. Bill C-49 proposes to amend the mandates of the historic Atlantic accords in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador to accelerate offshore wind development off of Atlantic Canada's east coast. Since the Atlantic accords were signed in the mid-1980s, they have become vitally important for the economic prosperity of our two provinces. Moreover, they have provided a framework between Canada and Nova Scotia and between Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador that has allowed each province to receive a significant share of revenues generated from offshore oil production.
However, times are changing. As we make our necessary transition from oil to a low-carbon future, and in order to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Canada and the world are looking for new forms of renewable energy. Therefore, for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to continue to benefit from the Atlantic accords in this new context, the Atlantic accords, too, must change and evolve. This change is good and necessary. It has been a long time coming, and it brings with it an incredible opportunity for our region and for our people.
Bill would expand the mandates of offshore boards that, today, regulate offshore oil and gas projects to now include the regulation of offshore renewable energy, for example, wind. We do this because, for major offshore projects to proceed, the government must provide a stable, predictable and credible legislative framework and regulatory regime. This is exactly what we are doing in Bill C-49. In introducing these amendments, we are unlocking the enormous potential of offshore renewable energy development for generations to come. As has been expressed by Canada's industry association, Marine Renewables, in its support for this bill, we are building an industry that reflects Canada's values and builds a sustainable blue economy.
Last year, my province of Nova Scotia established an offshore wind target. Seabed leases will produce up to five gigawatts of offshore energy by 2030. This was an incredibly exciting move that garnered a great deal of excitement from the renewable-energy industry around the world. Bill , as we have heard, is supported by our provincial partners in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the obvious next step in ensuring that we meet that opportunity.
Let us be specific about what that opportunity is. It is a trillion dollars. That is the potential economic opportunity of offshore wind globally. We should make no mistake: Atlantic Canada is in that global race. Europe is already knocking at our door for clean energy options. The changes in Bill would allow us to create further products, such as green hydrogen. We can then ship them to our European allies, such as Germany. The German chancellor came to Newfoundland last summer to show his country's interest in Atlantic Canada's clean energy potential. Chancellor Scholz is not alone. When I recently met with Ukraine's ambassador to Canada, Yulia Kovaliv, the first thing she wanted to talk about was how soon we can start exporting green hydrogen from Nova Scotia to Europe to get off of Putin's gas.
Let us not forget the immense private sector interest in cleaner forms of energy development. Officials at the Port of Halifax are in advanced talks about decarbonizing their port. I have been involved in many conversations with offshore shipping organizations to figure out how to decarbonize the marine transportation sector as well.
This kind of job creation is exactly what we mean when we talk about the sustainable jobs of tomorrow. These renewable energy projects are creating well-paying jobs for generations of Canadians to come. I mentioned earlier that our proximity to the ocean has shaped who we are as Atlantic Canadians and provided a livelihood to communities along our coastline. Bill , by unlocking the promise of offshore wind energy, would provide a limitless new opportunity for Atlantic Canadian workers to earn a livelihood and to grow our regional economy, all while providing us with a fighting chance against the threat of unmitigated climate change.
If this bill does not pass, offshore renewable energy projects in Atlantic Canada will be stalled for years to come. Therefore, to the official opposition's , who signalled earlier in this debate that she is not supportive of this bill, I will say this: She and Premier Smith can own the stalled emissions reductions, the ecological devastation, the human impact and the unrealized job creation that comes with cancelling renewable energy projects in Alberta. However, she may want to chat with Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative premier, Tim Houston, who is in full support of Bill and wants it passed as quickly as possible.
This government is unswerving in the fight against climate change, and we stand with the offshore renewables industry in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador. For our workers, our communities and our future, I urge all members to support this historic bill.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here today with my colleagues to speak on Bill , which is a piece of legislation to amend the Atlantic accords, which are between the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. This is a crucial piece of legislation that matters in the global race toward net zero.
I want to say to my colleagues that we are in a perfect position as a country. Canada is in the driver's seat to make sure we can be part of that global solution, but this legislation is a requirement to do just that.
The agreement that was signed for the first time by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1985 and the one signed by the Government of Nova Scotia in 2005 demonstrate the importance of the work that has been done to promote regional fairness in Atlantic Canada. This guarantees fairness in the allocation of oil and gas resources within the federation for the benefit of our provinces.
The oil and gas industry still plays an important role in Newfoundland and Labrador today, and by amending the agreements, we are paving the way for a better way of governing, managing and, ultimately, profiting from offshore wind energy.
Offshore wind energy benefits Canada in many ways. This is a critical opportunity in our fight against climate change. The science is clear in this regard. Canada must work on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Projects on the Atlantic coast can help to do that by harnessing the wind for the benefit of all.
That power can not only help Canada decarbonize its current electricity grid but ensure that we have excess power supply, not only for our own province of Nova Scotia but indeed for all of Canada in the days ahead. I will have more to say on that in a moment, but beyond the domestic focus, this is a tremendous opportunity, and an enormous opportunity for exports of green hydrogen transported as ammonia to fuel industrial uses around the world.
My hon. colleague from Halifax talks about the German chancellor who was in Newfoundland and Labrador last summer. Whether it is Europe, whether it is countries like Germany, but all around the world green hydrogen is the pathway for our industrial future. We have that opportunity right here in Canada, and this legislation would help to enable Canada's offshore sector to play a crucial role in doing just that.
I want to talk about some of the projects so that people can actually conceptualize what we are talking about. In our home province, there is EverWind, led by CEO Trent Vichie, and it has indigenous partners. As an Atlantic caucus, we had the opportunity to talk to Chief Terry Paul of Membertou, a partner on this project, which is driving tremendous benefit. First, of course, is onshore production of wind, which will play into a green hydrogen strategy. However, part 3 of that plan is to go offshore and leverage the tremendous opportunities we have in Nova Scotia to help fuel the world.
I want to talk about foreign direct investment. As I am part of the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association, I was sitting in on a meeting when Minister Rutley was there, and I was talking about the fact that other jurisdictions around the world have already moved in this direction. If we look at the United Kingdom and Europe, they have tremendous expertise, and their ability to invest alongside Canadian firms and Canadian expertise is significant. This represents a significant opportunity for foreign direct investment across the country and particularly in our Atlantic region, which is extremely important.
Last, I want to tell a story about jobs and opportunities. Not too long ago I came out of high school, in 2009, at Hants East Rural High. I am proud to say that I am an alumni there. However, at that time, graduates of my ilk were going to western Canada, which was where the opportunities were. I want to articulate that there are still great opportunities in western Canada, but I am proud to say that now there are more opportunities in our home provinces of Atlantic Canada where young people can make a future. I give credit for that, in part, to this government and the investment and focus it has had on Atlantic Canada.
Now, people graduating from high school in Nova Scotia can look west, they can look east and they can stay where they are at. There are opportunities at home to build a future. This legislation builds on that, and we need to be able to move quickly.
The other thing we need to understand is that this legislation is straightforward. I heard the Conservative critic, earlier in the debate, talking about the variety of questions that she has. When I look at this legislation, it is straightforward. It is amending the accords to create the former Nova Scotia offshore petroleum board to actually regulate, to be the regulator of these projects, to extend that.
Mr. Speaker, you know very well because you were involved in provincial government during that time. I want to credit you for your work at the provincial level.
This legislation is straightforward. A regulatory model would follow. We have the expertise involved in the board. However, time is of the essence. This is a global race. The longer this sits in the House of Commons, the more we are wasting time to be able to fight climate change but, more importantly, to create great jobs in this country.
What I am disappointed in is when I look across the way, some of the Conservatives members are already signalling that they are going to be against this. They are signalling that they are against Atlantic Canada, because this is a tremendous opportunity. They should ask the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and ask the Government of Nova Scotia. The member for very clearly said the progressive Conservative, and I highlight “progressive”, in Halifax wants this legislation. Where are the members? Where are the eight members of the Conservative Atlantic caucus? Will they stand up and make sure that their party votes as quickly as possible to advance this legislation?
This matters for Canada. It matters for Atlantic Canada. I want to see the member for , I want to see the member for , and I want to see the member for stand up and be with the Liberal government because that is what Atlantic Canada needs. In fact, every member of this House needs to drive this forward.
For those who stand here in this House and talk about climate change as being the existential threat to our country and to our world, I agree with them. However, let them not stand here and say that they are against this straightforward piece of legislation that we need to be able to advance our green energy future. It is hypocrisy, if I hear this from the Bloc, and fortunately we have the NDP on board. Who would have thought, for all the criticisms that the opposition will sling at the NDP for being anti-development, that it is the Conservatives who stand here against the ability, the green energy future and the technology that we have in Atlantic Canada.
I look forward to taking questions from my Conservative colleagues, because they are going to have to explain to my constituents, to Nova Scotians, and to Newfoundland and Labradorians why it is they are against their prosperity, because they sure as heck stand in the House and pretend to stand for their interests at other times. However, on the piece of legislation that could create the economic prosperity that matters to our world and to our region, they heckle me from the side and say that somehow they will not support us.
I actually want this House to move this legislation quickly. Let us get it to committee. Let us put a motion up this afternoon to get it to committee to study. I will ask my hon. colleague, the , who knows more about procedure. I think we should put this to the House and see if we could get unanimous consent to move this through the House so we could get to committee.
This matters. They want to talk about global energy. This is what it represents. Canada is in the driver seat, but only if we have the House on board to be able to move. Every day that this languishes in the House is yet another day that we are not moving forward on the global fight on climate change and we are not fighting for Atlantic Canadians.
That is what matters. Members can scream all they want from the other side. I am asking the Conservative Party of Canada to stand with the Liberal government for Atlantic Canada, very simply.
The last thing I want to say in my 45 seconds that I have is this. The Atlantic Loop is extremely important as part of this. We are going to create the conditions so that the offshore can succeed, but it is not just an export opportunity for hydrogen. It is an opportunity to provide Quebec and central Canada the power that they need. The Premier of Quebec has talked about the need for more generation. We have it on the offshore. Let us partner together and drive an opportunity to make a difference in this country. Let us make sure that we are focused on the ITCs. The government needs to clarify them, I will say that. We also need to drive forward.
The question remains today, and I will finish on this, will the Conservatives join us in supporting Atlantic Canada and our clean energy future, or will they not?
Mr. Speaker, it is certainly a pleasure to be back in the House of Commons. The last couple of months were tough. I had a few sinus surgeries, missed a bit of time and had some uncomfortable moments, but I am really happy. Truly, when one does not have good health, it really gives one an understanding of how precious it truly is.
Today I am really excited to speak to this bill for a number of reasons.
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of it all, there are a few comments I heard. I am really encouraged by the fact that the Liberal member from Nova Scotia acknowledges that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is a complete failure on just about every front.
In Miramichi—Grand Lake, it failed the Atlantic salmon: the fish, the species and the community itself, all of the people who benefit from it, on a vast, almost unprecedented, scale. It actually does not even deserve the right to govern it anymore. As a federal MP, I am left believing that, with regard to the Atlantic salmon, though it is a federal jurisdiction, the DFO has lost the right to govern it. It actually does not care. The people where I live know this and it is heart-wrenching for all of us. My dad was an outfitter. I grew up a salmon fisherman and a guide, so I have seen a very serious decline in that species.
I will comment on the Liberal member's question of Progressive Conservative support in the Conservative Party of Canada. That was one of my favourite things he said. I am going to quote what the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney's son tweeted the other day, after the Quebec City convention. This is what the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney said to his son about our leader's speech at the convention: “Mark, I attended my first convention in 1956 for Mr. Diefenbaker. I was 17 years old. I've seen a lot of convention speeches since then. ['s] speech was probably the best convention speech I have ever witnessed. [The leader of the Conservative Party's] command of such a large amount of information in both official languages for an hour and a half was extremely impressive. The only other speech that may have challenged his own was that of his wife Ana's.” That was the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney.
Just as an honourable mention, the Hon. Peter MacKay was speaking at the convention and was quite proud to do so. I think that the Liberals can take their worst fears and realize that they are true. Maybe they should plan harder, go door to door and start working harder. I can understand that.
I am now going to get into Bill . In my speech today, I am going to cover three things. Number one is the positive impact of the Atlantic accords in both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Number two is the potential upside of Bill C-49's proposed changes to energy regulation for the Atlantic offshore. Number three will be the reasons why I cannot support Bill C-49 as currently presented.
Let us start with the 1985 Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic accord. The original Atlantic accord was an agreement between the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa concerning the management of the oil and gas reserves off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. It determined how two governments shared revenues and how that income affected the equalization payments received by the province. It also established the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. The Atlantic accord was a watershed in the province's economic development. It ended years of negotiations and allowed Hibernia and subsequent offshore oil fields, including Hebron, Terra Nova and White Rose, to enter into production.
Mobil Oil carried out the first seismic surveys on the Grand Banks in the 1960s, and then exploratory drilling continued during the 1970s. Chevron Standard Limited discovered the first commercial oilfield, Hibernia, in 1979, one year after I was born, but development could not proceed until the provincial and federal governments resolved the ownership and management disputes, which continued from 1967 through 1985.
The Atlantic accord was widely hailed as a success and a turning point for the provincial economy. At the signing in 1985, premier Brian Peckford predicted that it would allow “this province to catch up socially and economically to the rest of Canada”, while Right Hon. Brian Mulroney famously stated, “I am not afraid to inflict prosperity on Newfoundland and Labrador.”
We can see very early on in my speech and the history lesson that Conservatives clearly had a vast, productive and successful outlook for Atlantic Canada. I just went back over a number of decades. This is history, and that is why it is important.
Twenty-six years ago, Hibernia, Newfoundland and Labrador's landmark oil production platform, became the first to produce oil in the province. Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas have contributed more than $25 billion in royalties and directly employed over 6,000 people, as well as thousands more in supporting industries. That is $25 billion in royalties and over 6,000 people employed. The Hibernia project came to life thanks to former prime minister the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney’s support at a time when Newfoundland and Labrador was facing economic and cultural challenges of the cod moratorium. Hibernia created thousands of jobs and new government revenue at a time when it was truly needed.
Hibernia was celebrated as a new dawn for Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy in 1997 and has continually exceeded expectations over the past quarter century. Production was expected to last 18 to 20 years and produce 520 million barrels of oil. In fact, Hibernia has produced more than 1.2 billion barrels of oil and has paid almost $20 billion under fiscal agreements to the provincial and federal governments since 1997. Today, about 95% of those working on the Hibernia project are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The skills, technical ingenuity and work ethic of the team have been the backbone of Hibernia’s success for 26 years and will continue into the future. That future is exciting, with the potential for Hibernia to continue production for another 20 years.
In Nova Scotia, one of Premier John Hamm’s most notable achievements was negotiating with the federal government to implement the Atlantic accord, a multi-decade regional development program that had been approved in principle during the late 1980s to prevent provincial government offshore oil and gas royalties from being included in calculations for the federal equalization program. This resulted in an $830-million payment from the federal government to the Nova Scotia government in 2005, which Premier Hamm applied against the principal on the province's long-term debt, thereby reducing debt servicing payments by more than $50 million annually. That is clearly another great Conservative decision made over the course of time.
During Premier Hamm’s reign, the Sable Offshore Energy Project was Canada’s first natural gas project. The Sable project provided a new source of clean energy to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and a new supply to the northeastern United States through the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. Saying the word “pipeline” in the chamber gives me pleasure, but not what really what it should have given me. New Brunswickers wanted to bring a pipeline from Alberta to Saint John and Montreal. I remember that, at the time, the mayor of Montreal was against it and the Province of Quebec was a little worked up about it. Now, however, Quebeckers are against the carbon tax, and some of the Quebec members of the House who are not in the Conservative Party are running for dear life because they supported the carbon tax and put that on the backs of Quebeckers. They are going to pay for it.
Beginning production in 1999, Sable was a catalyst for $3.7 billion in direct payments to Nova Scotia’s government. Made up of royalties, Crown share and exploration payments, this is money that helped build better schools, hospitals and roads over 20 years. Since the mid 1980s, Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have jointly managed the development of offshore petroleum resources under the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, also known as the Atlantic accord acts, which generated more than $30 billion in government revenues off the east coast.
Here are a few points that are worth making about the concept behind Bill . The idea of a single regulator for offshore energy projects makes sense, whether they are oil and gas or renewables, such as wind. Joint management between the federal government and Atlantic provinces is good and should be maintained, as that was the promise of the original accords, which we have just learned were successful.
Regarding offshore wind, siting is important so that other existing users are not damaged by the new activity, whether that be fishers or transportation routes. It is extremely important that the wind industry works with fishers to minimize direct impacts and ensure collaboration and compensation if there is to be a direct impact. The end of project remediation and bonding must be sufficient to remove the infrastructure when out of use.
The current process will take far too long to identify potential areas suitable for activity, and it is likely that Canada will miss the opportunity to benefit from offshore wind. Generally, floating wind is less impactful than fixed and provides more flexibility for siting in deeper water, which tends to be away from land and inshore fishing activity. By the time the current process concludes, at the pace they are going, the opportunity will likely have passed Canada anyway. We saw that with the Energy East pipeline. That was the Liberal government's problem across the floor. It caused that. I saw it in my own province of New Brunswick. We were decades behind in natural gas production, and we lost the ability to move forward with moratoriums. It really set New Brunswickers back. That was a project that should have been a success.
For Nova Scotia, offshore wind is an area of promise because land spaces are limited and tidal is still speculative. Nova Scotia does not have hydro opportunities, yet the federal mandate to be off coal is real for 2030.
One big red flag for me is that Bill allows the federal government to rely on the regulators for indigenous consultation. This could result in court challenges and detrimental judicial decisions for both offshore petroleum and renewable projects if the federal government relies solely on the regulators and does not sufficiently execute the Crown’s duty to consult because this bill also makes government ministers the ultimate decision-makers.
I know from my time as the minister of aboriginal affairs in New Brunswick that our first nations want to be partners in future energy projects and not to be just considered as stakeholders. They want to be partners. I know from all of my experience at that time that negotiation is always a better path than litigation. We have seen situations in the past where governments get really excited about projects. Governments get excited about potential economic projects and large energy projects. What happens is that they will bring in the chiefs of first nations at the ninth hour, when they have already upset them as they have missed the process. It is interesting that this legislation is coming from the Liberal government right now because it has clearly failed first nations on every single front.
I was reading something yesterday that struck me about all the work that the Liberals have done over the past 20 years to basically pretend to be best friends with first nations' people. We have situations in this country where people of indigenous descent in our country do not have water. They have water they cannot drink, and that is a basic necessity of our country. It is a basic necessity for almost every country in the world, and it should be paramount. The Liberals have failed to provide that. I cannot believe they would put a bill forward in the House that would literally disrupt the duty to consult. We have seen how successful those projects have been. Times have changed. We have to work with everyone involved. We clearly have to work with treaty people as a part of being in Canada.
The Liberals have put this forward. It is really rich of them to do that because there are a lot of indigenous people still waiting for clean water. They should get on that. They do not have a leg to stand on at this point. It is totally ridiculous that they would ever claim friendship with any indigenous person in this country. I can tell colleagues right now that that is a box they had better start to check off, or none of this will be successful.
There has been more red tape and delays. This bill would add delays in the approval process because it would triple the timeline from the current framework and would politicize the decision-making process, giving final authority to the federal and provincial ministers.
Canada’s red tape regime already hinders traditional and alternative energy development. This bill would add broad, unilateral, discretionary cabinet powers for arbitrary decision-making. It would actually increase timelines and add uncertainty around requirements, which would drive investment away. We have seen this record play over and over in our country.
There was a project in New Brunswick called Maritime Iron. Everybody got all worked up and said it was not economical. Somebody in Venezuela thought it was economical. I remember other projects where it was said that they would not be economical and might emit carbon. Can members guess what? China had the same project with the same company. I have seen North African companies take our projects too.
It pains me to say that New Brunswick has lost so much because of bureaucracy, whether provincial or federal; weak leadership; the failure to consult with first nations; and an overall lack of understanding of the projects in front of us, which could have paved the way for New Brunswick.
We have Sisson mine, a natural gas extraction in New Brunswick. We have moratoriums on uranium. We have moratoriums on natural gas, even though the lamps in the entire city of Moncton were lit by natural gas in the late 1800s. There are areas in New Brunswick where we have had it forever. That is what we are built on.
The Liberals really need to get their act together on this because the Atlantic accord was a big-time positive in Atlantic Canada. We need them to stop driving investment away, and impeding growth and progress in Canada.
This bill could end offshore petroleum drilling in the Atlantic provinces. Sections 28 and 137 would give cabinet the ability to end offshore drilling or renewable energy projects with the authorization of the provincial minister if the area may be identified as a marine protected area.
Any activity may be suspended in the marine protected area or in an area that may be identified in the opinion of cabinet as a marine protected area, which would create significant uncertainty. There would be no formal indigenous consultation required in the cancellation of new or currently operating projects.
The Liberals' Bill allowed the fisheries minister to select marine protected areas by order in council, which can prohibit development and activity. This bill would implement this measure, which the Conservative Party opposed because marine protected areas should really be called “prohibited development areas”. That would be common sense, but what we are getting over here is nonsense, and that is why they have it that way.
In closing, let me reiterate that Conservatives support the development of offshore wind and renewables in Atlantic Canada, but this bill would impose uncertainty and extends timelines, which could hinder the development of the sector while creating opportunities for politically motived, anti-energy decisions and delays of offshore petroleum development.
Bill should be amended to require the development of a framework for renewable energy projects that would require clear plans for the project’s impact to fish, birds and the environment. It should also require consultation with impacted indigenous communities and private sector proponents before the establishment of a marine protected area and/or the cancellation of any operations in progress.
Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to rise today and speak on behalf of my fellow residents of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.
I have to say that in listening to the speech from the Conservatives, I am very surprised but not shocked. I will share what they did back in 2007 with the Atlantic accord in Nova Scotia. Bill is extremely important to make adjustments and modifications so that we could be moving forward very quickly on the potential of economic growth, as well as reducing our emissions.
I want to share a story that is extremely important. My colleague, who was here in the House with us, Bill Casey was elected in the Conservative Party in 1988. In 2007, believe it or not, he was thrown out of the Conservative Party of Canada under the Harper government. Why was he booted out, ejected from the party? I will tell the House what my colleague told me. I will share his story. I am sure he could do a better job, but I am going to share it.
He stood up and defended the Atlantic accord. The Conservative government, under Harper, in 2007, decided in its budget that it was going to tweak a very important part, all by itself. There was no consultation with the Province of Nova Scotia. It was going to tweak it so that some of the revenues coming in would be lost. It would make a change and Nova Scotia would lose some money because of the equalization payments.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
Mr. Casey was telling the Conservative Party to not make that tweak because Nova Scotia could lose up to $1 billion of revenue, if that change was made in the budget. The then premier of Nova Scotia was Rodney MacDonald. The ministers were all trying to convince him that it was okay, that it would be fixed later. Absolutely not.
Mr. Casey was a man of principle. Mr. Casey was in the Conservative Party. He was ejected in 2007. He came back, because the people had lots of trust in him, as an independent and won. Then he came back as a Liberal and won. He was a very good parliamentarian, and he stood for Nova Scotia. He stood for Canadians. I want to thank him for that.
I have to say, when I first got elected, I was impressed with how he got the work done. The first year, I watched him as he moved from desk to desk, talking to ministers about how they could help his region.
It is obvious today that the Conservatives are against an accord that they tried to take pieces out of, which would have affected Nova Scotia. It is very sad.
This has been jointly managed between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for many years. This is an industry that is now ready to boom. There is actually $1 trillion on the table of investments from now until 2040. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and across Canada, we need to take advantage of this. The time is right.
How are we going to do that? Nova Scotia would help us to lower our emissions and bring us to zero by 2050. Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador have the fastest winds in the world. Why is this so important for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland? It is exactly because it puts Canada in the great position of feeding not only Canada but the world in offshore renewal, which is crucial.
Nova Scotia announced last year that it had the intention to issue targets of five gigawatts on seabed licences by 2030. They want to get moving quickly, as well. This would help them to decarbonize the grid, which is the goal of the province.
Our government is very committed to moving forward on this project. If the Conservatives could come on board, it would be very helpful. They keep talking about Atlantic Canada, and here is the chance to help Atlantic Canadians. However, Conservatives are refusing to be part of the solution to help economic development in Atlantic Canada. That is what they are doing today.
Our government is committed to expanding the mandate and to include offshore wind as a key ingredient in the accord.
We will also ensure the highest standards of worker safety and environmental protection.
We have to move now. Can members believe that as I speak today there is not one commissioned wind project offshore in the country right across Canada? There is none. Of course, it is important that we move forward and fill in that gap, and we are going to do that with the amendments we are bringing forward. We are not the only ones. The U.K. and the United States are all expanding their mandates to pick up offshore wind, which is crucial to moving forward.
Last August, I was in Halifax to witness an announcement for the first-ever wind project in Canada called the Nova East Wind project. This is a joint venture between two companies, DP Energy and SBM Offshore, which are global leaders in the industry. They are now putting the project together and will help us establish the first-ever offshore wind farm project in Canada, which will take place in Nova Scotia near Goldboro.
There are other steps we have taken to move the process forward to ensure that the ingredients are in place so that these types of projects can continue to prosper. The government has launched its regional offshore assessments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which will provide the information and analysis for future offshore projects. It will inform and improve impact assessments. It will engage indigenous people in various communities across Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the like, and will identify optimal areas for future development.
We need to be in support of this. If the Conservative members want to support Atlantic Canada, they need to change their vote now. It is very important.
In our 2023 budget, our government has indicated new and improved investments and major tax credits for those types of investments and enhancing smart renewables and electrification pathway programs. These are investments that would allow us to continue to prosper quickly and move the agenda forward in this area.
The amendments are not difficult. They would modernize and expand the mandate quickly, like other countries are doing, so we can get it done; improve alignment with the Impact Assessment Act, which is very important; and establish new tools to support government marine conservation agencies. That is what we are talking about today to move the dial quickly so that Canada and Nova Scotia can take their place.
What are we going to do? It is simple. This Parliament needs to approve and pass Bill so it can get royal assent. What will happen next? The provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador will mirror the same amendments so they can move this project forward. Then we will see prosperity and the important role we play in the world with respect to climate change will also be enhanced. Nova Scotia will launch a call for bids by 2025. We will be there by 2030 for sure. That is how it works, in partnership between the provincial and federal governments.
I think of Mr. Casey, who was told the day before the vote that if he voted against the budget he would not be thrown out. If members want they can google the article where he spoke about his 30 years in Parliament. He said that one of the worst experiences he had was when right after he voted against his government with respect to supporting Atlantic Canadians and Nova Scotia he was told to pack his bags because he was out of there. That is what happened.
We will stand with Atlantic Canadians today, tomorrow and every day.
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House to say a few words on behalf of the people in my riding, Halifax West.
Bill would modernizes the mandates of the offshore boards, including Nova Scotia's, to unlock the full potential of offshore renewable energy.
Just two years ago, the Nova Scotia government announced its intention to stop using coal to generate electricity by the year 2030, shortening its deadline by a decade. It also set an ambitious target of having 80% of its electricity sourced from renewable energy in the same timeframe. It recently amended Nova Scotia's electricity act so that the province could issue requests for proposals and contracts for things like large-scale batteries and renewable energy storage solutions.
Offshore wind and hydrogen have been identified as a priority for Nova Scotia. The province's government has indicated to the that it wants Bill passed without delay.
The province has already officially said that it wants to launch a competition in 2025 for offshore land leases, with the intent of getting enough turbines in place to produce five gigawatts of power. That is enough energy for roughly 1.5 million homes.
The provinces joined the Regional Energy and Resource Tables, which will help them identify funding and financing opportunities in low-carbon energy sectors and optimize their policies and regulatory approaches.
With a greener future, less severe weather and job creation as their north star, Nova Scotians have already begun unlocking the economic opportunities that come with expanding Canada's renewable energy sector.
That is why I support making amendments to the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador accord, so we can facilitate the launch of wind energy projects off our shores, a whole new renewable energy industry for Canada.
I am going to focus on why these amendments make so much sense for the province of Nova Scotia. As a former minister in Nova Scotia, I know how important it is for our levels of government to work together to achieve great things, such as capitalizing on Nova Scotia's incredible potential.
In Nova Scotia, we have some of the best and most consistent wind speeds in the world that provide world-class conditions for offshore wind projects. Of course, Nova Scotians are already very familiar with technology used to harness wind power.
Almost 15% of our province's power comes from our 300-plus wind turbines, making Atlantic Canada a provincial leader in wind power generation. It is truly inspiring.
The initial work is already happening. This March, Nova Scotia's provincial government teamed up with the federal government to launch a regional assessment of offshore wind development off the coast of Nova Scotia. The assessment seeks input from indigenous groups and a range of stakeholders. Independent committee members have a year and a half to report back to governments on their work, which will include analyzing future development opportunities and the potential socio-economic, health and environmental impacts of offshore wind development.
The proposed amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act are about ensuring that future offshore wind projects are subject to the highest possible environmental and safety standards, under the guidance of an independent expert regulator.
The act was put in place in the 1980s and provided a solid base for today's offshore regime. The act set up the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and it made Nova Scotia an equal partner with Canada, allowing it to jointly govern offshore oil and gas-related activity while sending proceeds back to the province.
Since the act was passed in the 1980s, we took the opportunity to make some much-needed changes to ensure that we are keeping up with modern technology and international best practices.
For example, we are updating the offshore petroleum board's land tenure regime. We are limiting the term of a significant discovery license to 25 years. This will ensure that these licences cannot be held forever, which is currently the case.
To make the regulation of future offshore wind projects as efficient as possible, we are proposing that the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board's responsibilities be broadened to include renewable energy, such as offshore wind.
It makes sense that a board that is already so familiar with the offshore, its legislation and its management be given this job. It gives these projects more stability and makes them more desirable to the companies that are considering investing in offshore wind and other renewable energy sources.
The board understands the challenges of operating in a difficult offshore environment, and it has decades of experience in safety and environmental standards, oversight and review procedures.
The renamed Canada-Nova Scotia offshore energy regulator will undergo a significant transition as its duties expand. It will regulate the entire life cycle of offshore wind and other renewable energy projects from site assessment to decommissioning.
The board already ensures that offshore projects are operating safely and protecting the environment. Specifically, the boards are in charge of land tenure, including licensing, providing offshore authorization and approval, monitoring compliance with the accord and carrying out enforcement activities.
With these amendments in place, the board will administer the governance framework jointly created by both federal and provincial governments and ensure the best practices in land rights management are being employed, specifically in the areas of how the land will be used, project bidding procedures, determining how to evaluate bids and granting licences for commercial projects.
A regional assessment of the suitability of the offshore wind around Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia has officially begun. These regional assessments are getting input from indigenous people, the fishing industry, experts on environmental issues and others. They will also inform the project-specific assessments carried out by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.
It is clear that developers are interested in making offshore wind a reality. Some have expressed interest in developing offshore wind projects. Others want to get in on related facilities like on-land turbine staging sites and plants for producing hydrogen and ammonia.
For example, the enterprise Brezo Energy is developing a technology for a floating offshore wind project, and it says Nova Scotia is a perfect fit for them.
Another company called Novaporte has promised that shovels will be in the ground this year for an offshore wind marshalling yard in Sydney, where turbines will be stored and assembled.
Nova Scotia has already approved two large-scale green hydrogen electrolysis and ammonia production plants along the Strait of Canso. This aligns well with the proposed Atlantic loop that will provide the backbone for an interconnected Atlantic power grid. The loop will make it easier for neighbouring provinces to trade clean electricity and enable critical load balancing.
Last, with these amendments, we will be making marine conservation tools stronger, and we are improving the alignment of the accord acts and the impact assessment act.
This bill is a great move. It makes sense. We cannot fail to attract Canada's share of the forecasted $1 trillion in global investment in offshore wind by 2040, and it requires regulatory certainty. It would make Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador global leaders in hydrogen exports, a source of secure energy that we know Europe needs. It would create well-paying jobs for Canada's highly skilled energy workers.
These amendments are an essential part of our broader climate plan, and they will help bring our emissions down, making Canada more competitive, and stop feeding into the climate-linked natural disasters that my constituents have been experiencing this year.
Nova Scotia knows that this is the time to act. We know that this is good for Nova Scotia, this is good for Newfoundland and Labrador, this is good for Atlantic Canada and this is good for Canada. Let us get this moving and get this to committee so we can work together and get this going.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to this particular bill. It is good to be back in the House after our break. It was not really a break but constituency time, with very busy summers for a lot of us. It is good to see so many familiar faces on all sides of the aisle and to have this discussion.
Today, I rise to speak to Bill , an act to amend the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. It has a lot to do with Atlantic Canada. The bill would have direct effects on development throughout the region of Atlantic Canada.
A lot of things about the bill may be well-intended, but the realities of it, as it is written, could have devastating consequences for the resource sector, and not just in my region. It would have an echo effect across the country. It is very important that we get the balance right and that we take the time get the bill right and fix it. If we cannot fix the bill, we should do everybody a favour and make sure that it does not pass in its current form. Without amendments and without these concerns being addressed, the bill could lead to a lot of unintended consequences that could be devastating economically throughout the region and for much of the country.
I come from the beautiful province of New Brunswick. It is an outstanding province. In fact, it is a place where half has not yet been told and its potential has not nearly been realized. Part of realizing the potential we have as a province and as a region is about unlocking the key to ethically and environmentally responsible extractive resources and the development of our natural resources, and getting those resources to market. It can be a pathway to our region's prosperity, and it must not be overlooked. However, the consequence of passing bad legislation is that it could hamper development and lead to more hurdles for our resource developers and those in the area of green, innovative technologies and resource development, such as tidal, wind and solar. If we do not get the bill right, it could have unintended consequences that would hurt future development in those areas, which are critical to our energy security going forward.
We know that if we do not get energy security and food security right, inevitably it will directly affect national security. It is so important that we get these questions right and make sure that we pass bills that enhance our energy and food security, not hamper them. This bill, as it is written, would cause a lot of hurdles for developers as they look at coming into our region and potentially investing in not only the new areas of resource development and extraction but also the existing ones. If we put in place further bureaucratic hurdles and do not correct what is wrong with the bill, we are sending a message to investors in the resource sector to not come to Atlantic Canada, because they would never get through the bureaucratic, regulatory maze and all the requirements. At the end of the day, if they do happen to get through all the hurdles, the government could shut them down at any time at the whim of any particular minister, because the bill as written puts unbelievable power in the hands of a federal minister.
I do not believe the bill will lead us to work collaboratively enough with the provinces, the key stakeholders or those who are going to be directly affected by the decisions we would make. We have seen this already with the enactment of the marine protected areas and some of the enforcement around them. What can happen is that, at the whim of a particular minister, a certain area of our ocean could be blocked off and there would be no more development or fishery. This would bring devastating consequences to our harvesters, to those in the fishing sector and to those in the energy sector.
We need to get this right. We need to make sure that we address the concerns that will be laid out throughout this debate and fix the bill. If the bill cannot be fixed, we must not pass it, because the consequences of it going through could be devastating to a region that already has tremendous economic headwinds against it.
We have huge potential, and I speak on behalf of fellow Atlantic Canadians. We do have a great love for the environment and a great care for our natural resources. We believe we can do both. We can protect our environment and responsibly develop our resources. We can do it hand in hand and not at the cost or devastation of one sector.
It is time we got the balance right, and this bill does not get the balance right. I challenge our friends on the other side to go back to the drawing table and fix what is wrong with this bill, which is going to bring devastation to the resource sector of this country.