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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, our government firmly believes that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. We are committed to a federal assessment regime that is robust, based on science, protects our rich natural environment, respects the rights of indigenous peoples and supports our natural resources sector. We know that efficient, credible assessment processes are essential to encouraging investment in Canada and maintaining economic competitiveness.
The Government of Canada understands the economic importance of the oil and gas sector and the opportunities it presents for hard-working Canadians. At the same time, we need to develop these resources in a sustainable manner.
The Frontier oil sands mine project underwent a rigorous environmental assessment that took into account scientific evidence and indigenous knowledge, and was informed by federal experts and extensive consultation and input from indigenous peoples and the public. The environmental assessment of this project was conducted by an independent joint review panel, an excellent example of how the federal government can work co-operatively with other jurisdictions.
Under the federal legislation, a final decision on the project was required by February 28, 2020. As we all know, Teck publicly indicated its decision to discontinue the project on February 23, 2020. While Teck has indicated that it no longer intends to move forward with the proposed Frontier oil sands mine, the Government of Canada is committed to working with the resource sector to make sure that the best projects get built so that we can create jobs and ensure clean, sustainable growth.
The opposition wants to focus on the discontinued Teck Frontier mining project, but let us not forget something very important: that we have hundreds of major resource projects worth $635 billion already under construction or planned across Canada over the next 10 years. Let us move on.
We know that efficient, credible decision-making and assessment processes are essential to attracting investment and maintaining Canada's economic competitiveness.
Better rules give companies and investors the certainty and clarity they need and ensure good projects can move forward in a timely way. To support Canada's competitiveness and to attract investment, the new impact assessment system provides clear expectations and shorter and strictly managed timelines, while aiming at avoiding duplication in other jurisdictions wherever possible with one project, one assessment. These new rules aim to ensure public confidence by making federal decisions about projects like mines, pipelines and hydro dams more transparent and by ensuring decisions are guided by science, indigenous knowledge and other evidence.
We also realize that climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Not everyone in the House does, but we on this side, of course, do. Also, the environment and the economy must go hand in hand to be successful in moving forward. The science is clear: Human activity is driving unprecedented changes in the earth's climate, and the impacts on the environment and on human health and well-being are real. Canadians are feeling the impacts of the changing climate.
Climate change is a huge challenge, but the opportunities are even greater. Again, we need to move on. Taking strong action can protect the health of Canadians, support biodiversity and create opportunities for Canadian businesses and jobs in the clean-growth economy.
Since the 2015 election, the federal government has been helping Canadians to seize on these opportunities. We worked with the provinces and territories to develop an ambitious plan to fight climate change, increase resilience to the impacts of the changing climate and drive clean economic growth. Today, our climate plan and actions are setting us on a path for more success as we move forward.
We are seeing a decline in absolute emissions while our economy and population continue to grow. Canada's most recent projections estimate that our emissions in 2030 will be 227 megatonnes lower than what was projected prior to the introduction of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. This is a historic level of emissions reductions.
How are we getting there? We are supporting climate actions that are practical, proven and affordable while creating good, middle-class jobs. We are doing it in a way that puts people at the centre of our policies. Our plan includes over 50 concrete measures, regulations, standards, programs and investments to reduce emissions, build resilience and grow the economy. It is a plan that will continue to grow as we introduce additional new and enhanced measures that will enable Canada to exceed our 2030 emissions targets, providing a foundation for net-zero.
There are also economic considerations. We know creating good jobs and economic growth for our communities across Canada is an essential part of our environmental protection. We understand the economic importance of the oil and gas sector, and the opportunity it presents for hard-working Canadians.
We also recognize that transition takes time. We cannot do it overnight. We must be realistic. We must work together to move forward. The government understands that Canadians want to know that they can count on the government to make sound decisions to ensure that economically beneficial and environmentally responsible projects are moving forward.
We will continue to engage local communities, indigenous groups and Canadians in the review process for major projects, and we are committed to making decisions that reflect the views of Canadians and the mandate that we have been given.
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