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View Michael Cooper Profile
View Michael Cooper Profile
2020-02-25 22:47 [p.1587]
Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to participate in this timely emergency debate initiated by my colleague, the hon. member for Lakeland, on the cancellation of the Teck Frontier mine project, a project in northern Alberta, that if completed would have had the capacity to produce up to 260,000 barrels of bitumen a day, resulted in 2,500 construction jobs, 7,000 permanent jobs and $70 billion of new tax revenue. Not only that, it was a project that was supported by and would have been beneficial to the 14 affected indigenous and Métis communities. Here we are tonight, and all of that is gone. The project is cancelled. It is history and it is not coming back.
In the face of the cancellation of the project, what has been the Prime Minister's response? It was effectively to shrug off the cancellation and say it was merely a decision of Teck, nothing more and nothing less. The vast majority of my constituents and Albertans do not buy the Prime Minister's explanation. They know there is one person who bears considerable responsibility for the cancellation of Teck, and that is the Prime Minister.
Let us look at the facts. Teck went through all of the regulatory hurdles. The joint review panel gave it the green light all the way back in July of 2019. All that needed to be done was for the Prime Minister and his cabinet to give it the final approval. What did the Prime Minister and his cabinet do? They dithered and delayed month after month, undermining investor confidence. Then, more recently, they sent the signal that they were seriously contemplating killing the project altogether, a project that not only would have resulted in thousands of jobs but in billions of dollars of new tax revenue that would have gone some way to restoring investor confidence, which has been sorely lacking and undermined thanks to the policies of the Liberal government. They were contemplating killing a project that really sets the gold standard when it comes to clean emissions with respect to GHG intensity, which is roughly half that of the oil sands industry average, which was projected to be carbon neutral by 2050. It is indeed a project that the joint review panel noted might actually help reduce overall GHGs, not increase GHGs, having regard for alternate sources. For the Prime Minister, in the face of this devastating news for my province of Alberta, to simply shrug his shoulders and say that it was a decision of Teck truly requires a suspension of disbelief.
Make no mistake about it, the decision of Teck was not made in a vacuum; it was made within the context of regulatory uncertainty that arises from misguided policies on the part of the government that is literally killing Canada's energy sector. From the tanker ban off the northwest coast of British Columbia to changing the rules with respect to upstream and downstream emissions midway through the approval of energy east, ramming through Bill C-48 and Bill C-49 at the end of the last Parliament, and I could go on, the message collectively that the current government has sent is that Canada is not open for business, that Canada is not open to investment in the energy sector. The consequences have been devastating.
We have seen $200 billion in projects cancelled since the government came to office. We have seen the rig count cut in half, down 50%. Capital investment is fleeing. Indeed, capital investment is down more than 50%. There are 120,000 people out of work in the energy sector since the current government came to office.
We have seen, in terms of equity raised in 2018, a mere $650 million. Let us compare and contrast that to the United States. In 2018, equity and debt raised amounted to $19.4 billion. That is $19.4 billion in the United States and $650 million in Canada. In the United States, which is open to business and to investment in the energy industry, investment has skyrocketed, production has reached record levels, and for the first time in U.S. history, the United States is energy independent. So much for the sorry excuses across the way.
I heard one member say, “Industries could just move ahead with projects, but they are choosing not to.” It is not that they are choosing not to move ahead with projects; it is just that they are choosing to go elsewhere, to the United States and to other jurisdictions around the world that are saying they are open for business while the current government shuts down Canada's most vital sector of the economy. The number of companies that have divested from Canada in the energy sector, and are divesting from Canada as we speak, is too long to list.
In the face of that, what does the Prime Minister not get? How much is it going to take? How many more projects are going to be cancelled? How much more investment is going to flee this country? How many more people have to be laid off? How many more people have to give up hope because they have been unemployed for the last several years?
Let us talk about the social impact it has on families. They are devastated. The food bank in my constituency, each and every year that this Prime Minister has been in office, has reached a new record level, year after year, thanks to this Prime Minister. It is time that this Prime Minister woke up. It is time that he put Canada first, and as a starting point to do that, he ought to immediately reverse his failed and destructive policies.
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