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Results: 1 - 15 of 47
View Matthew Dubé Profile
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-11-27 11:52 [p.24008]
Madam Speaker, the good news is that despite this “man cold”, as my wife calls it, my voice seems to be back. I hope it will stick around for the next 15 minutes so that I can speak to budget implementation act, 2018, No. 2. Before getting to what is in the bill or, more to the point, what is not, which might make up the bulk of my comments, I want to talk about the process.
After all, this is an omnibus bill, like the ones we saw so often under the previous government. The current government actually campaigned on a pledge to end the use of omnibus bills. The Liberals not only broke that promise, but they are constantly introducing omnibus bills. They use them not just for budgets, but also for other areas like public safety, transport and justice. We keep getting bills that are harder and harder for parliamentarians to study in any meaningful way.
I may be mistaken about the numbers, which we can check, but the mere fact that we can evoke this type of image says a lot. The Conservatives' first omnibus bill, Bill C-38, which was introduced in 2012 in the last Parliament, showed how abusive this practice had become. The bill was the nadir of this anti-democratic tendency, seeking to undermine the employment insurance program and eliminate the already inadequate environmental assessment process. The bill was hundreds of pages long.
If we were to combine the Conservatives' first omnibus bill from 2012 with the Liberals' first omnibus bill—not the one we are currently debating—we would have a bill the same size as the one before us, which is over 800 pages long.
That is completely ridiculous. I gather some of us are burning the midnight oil in our offices to read the bill. Some members say that they are sick of looking at the four walls of their offices, so they go read it at home. However, let us be honest. The idea that we have the time to consult our constituents, speak to stakeholders on the various files that critics are responsible for, read up on subjects of interest to MPs, and also read Bill C-86, including all the acts it amends, is simply unrealistic.
Some might say that this violates our parliamentary privileges. I am not looking to start a debate on privilege, but I do think it is important to point out how hard this makes it for us to do our jobs.
Even setting aside the size of the bill, the weight of it, and the rule against using props during debate in the House, I would advise my constituents not to print it out. It would be a waste of paper. The thing is massive.
On top of introducing a massive bill, the government has moved time allocation. Not only is it limiting debate in the wider sense by introducing a bill that is extremely difficult to study and therefore to debate, but it is also limiting the time for debate. In 10 or 20 minutes, the normal length of a speech in the House, it is impossible to address every issue. Plus, the government wants to limit the time for debate. This means that we, as the second opposition party, get to put up about eight speakers at most, out of about 40 or so MPs.
Some might say that the budget process, and therefore the budget implementation bill, are among the most important duties of the federal government. The fact that less than one-third of the members of a recognized opposition party get a chance to speak is a real problem.
Let us put the procedural issue aside, since we could talk for ages about this broken promise. I also want to talk about what is missing from this bill and, by extension, from the Liberals' budget. Unfortunately, the Liberals have neglected these elements too often over these past few years, since they came to power.
I would like to focus on a few aspects in particular. First, the government is still not charging web giants sales tax, even though that is a relatively simple matter. It is a matter of fairness and common sense.
When I was in my riding during the last parliamentary recess, I spoke with a constituent who told me that that is today's reality. We now get services via the Internet. That is how we download music, movies and television shows.
We are not asking the government to reinvent the wheel or to go against an existing trend. We are asking it to do two things. First, we are asking it to put all businesses on a level playing field. If Canadians order goods or services online, then they should have to pay sales tax the same way they would in a regular store. That may seem obvious to those watching at home, but the Liberal government has failed to do anything about this for far too long.
The Government of Quebec has led the way, and we hope that the other provinces and territories will follow its lead. However, with all due respect for our National Assembly colleagues, I have to say that it is not enough. The federal government has economic levers that it must use to level the playing field for businesses so that Canadians can benefit from the revenue generated under the law. That is what is lacking right now. However, it is not only the web giants, such as Netflix, Google, and Facebook, that must be required to charge sales tax. All the other digital platforms on which people can purchase goods must be, as well. The government is currently relying on the good faith of some stakeholders who have chosen to proactively charge sales tax.
Second, an agreement needs to be made regarding the future of our culture, specifically with regard to Netflix. I am not as familiar with this topic as my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, who I am sure would have a lot to say about music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. For now, I want focus on Netflix because I do not have much time.
I will not discuss the sales tax for now. I have no doubt the former heritage minister had a rough time in Quebec. Pretty much everyone unanimously agreed that her Netflix deal fell short, not only because of the percentage of francophone and Quebec content, which is nil, but also because the government asked so little of Netflix. The government is counting on the company to operate on the honour system and obey the law proactively.
Madam Speaker, I see your signal that I have just two minutes left. What better proof that it is impossible to study an omnibus bill in the time provided.
France and other countries offer examples of different ways to do this. We can also come up with our own model to acknowledge that this is the new normal without letting Internet giants rake in the profits while crushing our culture. We need to promote our cultural sector so that it can continue to make all of its unique offerings available to us with content that is our very own. This is about quality content and our duty to remember and share.
I will now move on to something else that is missing from the Liberals' budget.
The Minister of National Revenue keeps talking about a $1-billion investment. The only thing that investment did was rub salt in the wound by uncovering the billions of dollars that are lost to tax evasion and tax avoidance. We see that cronyism is alive and well in the Liberal Party. The issue of the Panama papers and the paradise papers has not been resolved. Nothing has been done to recover those billions of dollars. Again, it is a matter of fairness.
In closing, I would say that the omnibus bill does very little to address the problems that the supposedly progressive Liberals promised to fix and this is their third attempt at it. That is three attempts and three failures.
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
2018-11-27 12:54 [p.24017]
Mr. Speaker, today we are talking about the Liberals, who are proposing a hefty 850-page bill. It is an omnibus bill. It is the largest bill ever introduced in the House of Commons. The omnibus bills that the Conservatives used to introduce were 75 pages long. Today we are seeing an 800% or even 900% increase with this 851-page bill. The Liberals were elected on a promise to be more transparent and more accountable.
Furthermore, we are debating this unusually large bill under a gag order. This morning, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour was boasting about how she has already given opposition members 15 hours of debate.
According to my calculations, 15 hours of debate divided by 851 pages equals one minute and five seconds per page. Is it responsible to allocate so little time to debate a bill? I use the phrase “debate a bill” loosely, because only eight NDP MPs and five Conservative MPs spoke to this bill before today, if memory serves.
The Liberals say that they are more democratic, more transparent and more accountable, but I have my doubts. I think that everyone has reason to doubt the goodwill and good faith of the Liberals.
As my colleague from Jonquière said, this bill amends seven acts. The Liberals have never been able to tell us how many clauses and subclauses are in this mammoth bill. They themselves do not even know. They do not even know all the things they put in this bill. It is ridiculous to have to debate it under time allocation.
I will focus on just a few points in my speech because, unfortunately, nobody in the House can cover all the measures introduced in the nearly 900-page bill in just 10 minutes.
Women have been waiting 42 years for the Liberals to keep their promises on pay equity. Unions have been fighting Canada Post in court over that for 30 years. The government is yet again telling women they will have to wait. Pay equity legislation will come into force not in a matter of weeks or months, but in four years.
Our party has been a tireless advocate for this important issue. We have even proposed changes in the past. As we heard from my colleague from Jonquière, the NDP proposed 36 amendments. The Conservatives proposed amendments. The other parties proposed amendments. How many amendments did the Liberals accept? Not one single amendment was accepted, despite the fact that they reflected the demands of unions and the demands of various women's groups. Not one amendment was accepted to improve the bill, to give women a stronger voice. The Liberals did not agree to any of our suggestions.
Canada is facing some major challenges that require a bolder approach than the one the Liberals are using. The first initiatives requiring employers to determine how many people must receive more pay are a step in the right direction. However, what could possibly justify how long it will take to implement this? Is it acceptable that women continue to be underpaid for another four years under this government?
In 2018, women earn on average $12,700 less than men. If we multiply that by four, that means nearly $51,000 less for women. The government says it is proud to have introduced pay equity legislation. However, women will still have $51,000 less in their pockets, which is a lot.
If I had to summarize the government's action, I would have to say that it is nothing but half measures. The time it will take to implement pay equity is the biggest problem lurking behind the government's facade of good intentions, but it is not the only one. There is also the fact that budget implementation act, 2018, No. 2 does not require employers to apply pay equity to workers who were already under contract if changes are subsequently made to the contract following a call for tenders. Why? We do not know.
The bill also does not include any of the pay transparency measures that advocates have called for. Salaries cannot be compared when pay equity issues are being addressed. What is wrong with that picture? Will the pay equity commissioner have the resources needed to do his or her work properly? We do not know that either.
Speaking of half measures, why did the government not adopt the recommendations set out in the Bilson report, including the creation of a pay equity hearings tribunal? Lastly, the Liberals are once again professing to support equality while telling a segment of the population that is being treated unfairly to grin and bear it. I would like to remind the government that women represent 51% of the population.
The government made its choice. It chose not to make the investments needed to ensure that women receive equal pay, and chose instead to give big business, the richest people in the world, $14 billion in tax cuts. This measure was introduced last week in the Minister of Finance's fall economic statement. Did the rich and these big corporations really need that $14 billion this fall? I do not think so. They are getting help, yet many of them evade taxes or openly use tax havens to avoid paying taxes.
The same is true for web giants like Netflix, Apple and Facebook, which pay virtually nothing in taxes and then get tax breaks. However, they use our services and are quite happy to hire highly skilled workers from Quebec and Canada. The Liberals claim that our SMEs are important and that they want to support buying local, but they support the web giants that do not need to worry about all of the taxes imposed on our SMEs under Canadian law.
How much of this money will go to rural areas? We have no idea. The government is allocating billions of dollars for businesses to buy new equipment and innovate, but how can we innovate when our rural areas do not even have access to high-speed Internet or a 3G or LTE cellular network?
The Auditor General criticized the government for its lack of judgment in managing public money allocated to the connect to innovate program. Some municipalities in my riding are turned down for this program or CRTC funds for ridiculous reasons, such as the fact that there is already a home with high-speed Internet within a 25-kilometre radius. This is happening in Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, and all the areas served by Coop CSUR in the Soulanges area are under the same restriction. Do we really want a double standard for our rural and urban areas?
On another subject, how will the poverty reduction strategy be funded? Apparently, it will be made up of existing programs without any additional money. I think the Liberals are just thumbing their noses at us. They have targets, but no plan. That seems to be a theme with this government, because it does not have a plan for the environment either. The Liberals got themselves elected in 2015 by saying, “We have a plan, we have a plan, we have a plan”. Today, there is no plan, there is no plan, there is no plan. I think I will use that in an ad.
Are they going to help the most vulnerable citizens access health care services more easily? No. There is no plan for pharmacare either, even though we know that we could save $3 billion a year according to conservative estimates. We could make a lot of investments in health care with that money.
What other measures does the bill include to drastically reduce our CO2 and methane emissions starting this year? None. Is the government planning to help rural areas go green, develop public transit, make their homes more energy efficient, or use solar and wind power? No.
Is the government going to implement restrictions to help big corporations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions? No, of course there is no plan to do that. Will the federal government finally have a costed plan for reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions? No, it has no plan for that either.
It has been pointed out that many citizen movements have been launched. In Quebec, artists, scientists, economists and citizens have signed A Pact for the Transition. Millennials have been criticized for not being more involved in all kinds of things, but yesterday, young people who realized that the government is not doing anything for the environment took action, and a youth environmental group called ENvironnement JEUnesse brought suit against the federal government for failing to take action on the environment.
I have to stop now because I am out of time, but that shows just how important the environment is to people 35 and under and how absurd it was for the government to spend $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money on a pipeline.
That move was not a plan or investment for keeping our planet healthy for current and future generations. It is shameful.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2018-11-27 16:42 [p.24051]
Madam Speaker, I know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage is not the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. However, if he is following this file within his own department, he knows full well that failing to require that companies like Netflix or Google collect GST on their services is an injustice to all competitors that are Canadian and hire Canadians.
I am not even talking about corporate taxes, because I know that the Minister of Finance will say that it is complicated. The Liberals do not have much initiative, but I can understand that corporate taxes are complicated. That said, applying a transaction tax on transactions made in Canada is pretty basic.
Are the minister's rose-coloured finance glasses so big that he does not even see a need to collect taxes from service providers? Pathetic. Does my colleague have nothing to say on this? He knows very well that the cultural sector is unanimous on this issue.
Our service providers and creators at least want local broadcasters and over-the-top television services, which are comparable to Netflix, to be on an equal footing with the others.
View Andy Fillmore Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Andy Fillmore Profile
2018-11-27 16:44 [p.24051]
Madam Speaker, right now, the industry committee and the heritage committee are undergoing parallel studies that in the end will have the result of proposing measures to the House that we can all debate and vote on, that will help to level the playing field in this point of transition from an analog to a digital economy.
I think the member would be very happy to realize that in fact Netflix has announced the production of its first Quebec-based film, which is going to be very wonderful in Canada. This is an evolving media landscape, and we are, all together, going to be finding solutions to address the realities of a new world of media.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2018-11-27 17:13 [p.24055]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. I do not doubt his sincerity, but I really did not get an answer to the question I asked earlier. It was a very simple question.
My colleague attends many of our committee meetings and he knows very well that the Quebec cultural sector sees as an injustice the fact that regular buyers of their content will be at a disadvantage compared with Netflix, for example, when it comes time to offer content on the web using their on-demand platforms.
He knows full well that the entire cultural sector would at least like to make sure that buyers are not at a disadvantage on the web, since the government is not requiring that Netflix collect GST on acquisitions and services in Canada, just as it does not require that Google collect tax on ad sales.
I am asking the question. I hope that my colleague will not give excuses and that he will answer my question. It is baffling that, despite the fact that Canada is a G7 nation and that it is performing better in certain areas—although it is also less savvy—we are not asking that federal and provincial taxes be collected on these subscriptions.
I hope to get an answer or at least an admission that he does not know.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I certainly do not doubt the sincerity of my friend on the other side with respect to this issue. He has been a very strong advocate for culture in Quebec and Canada.
The nature of production is changing. Our government has made it very clear that high-tech companies are not getting a free ride in Canada. If they participate in the system, we expect them to pay into the system. That is why we will be undertaking consultations on this issue.
With respect to the overall strength of the economy, I can speak to the greater Toronto area. Virtually, every weekend if I go downtown, I am seeing dozens of vehicles stopping traffic because of productions taking place. There are many production houses in the greater Toronto area, Montreal and Vancouver. I think this speaks well of our overall cultural sector.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2018-10-03 17:13 [p.22172]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to support Bill C-79, the implementation of the comprehensive progressive trans-Pacific partnership.
We live in unprecedented times. Steadfast relationships we have had for years are being challenged, ideology is taking the place of facts and compromise and trust in international institutions and agreements are reaching a new low. These pillars, which are threatening us as never before, are really the very source of Canada's success diplomatically and economically.
Canada has a proud history organizing multilateral agreements and ensuring they will bring more than just military or economic security. Lester B. Pearson once said about NATO that it should, “promote the economic well-being of their peoples and to achieve social justice, thereby creating an overwhelming superiority of moral, material, and military force on the side of peace and progress.” Trade agreements like NAFTA and CPTPP are excellent examples of what Lester Pearson was talking about.
In the time I have today, I would like to delve into the importance of trade to the future of Canada.
The CPTPP is a major trading bloc, comprising 11 countries, representing 495 million people and a combined GDP 13.5% of the overall global GDP. This is where the next century of growth will occur and the CPTPP is a bridge for Canadian goods and services into this important and expanding market.
Canada is the fifth largest agricultural exporter in the world, and the industry employs 2.3 million Canadians. That is one in eight jobs in Canada. When CPTPP enters into force, more than three-quarters of agriculture and agri-food products will benefit from immediate duty-free treatment, with tariffs on many other products to be phased out over time.
This is very important for my riding of Guelph, which is an agricultural centre for Canada, both in research and in production. This is going to create new market access opportunities for Canadian pork, beef, pulses, fruit and vegetables, malt, grains, cereals, animal feeds, maple syrup, wines from Niagara, spirits, processed grain and sugar.
CPTPP will eliminate 100% of the tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products. The vast majority of tariffs would be eliminated immediately, while a smaller number would be phased out over periods of up to 15 years. Tariff eliminations will make Canadian exports of a wide range of products such as salmon, snow crab, herring roe, lobster, shrimp, sea urchins and oysters more competitive, while providing protein to a growing part of the world.
Coupled with Canada's new oceans protection plan, which will help preserve and sustain Canada's coastal waters and fish stocks, the CPTPP will also offer Canadian fisheries a sustainable industry that can supply these growing Asian markets.
The CPTPP will benefit more than just Canada's agricultural sector. This agreement offers plenty of opportunities for Canadian industry. Under this agreement, 100% percent of tariffs on industrial goods and consumer products will be eliminated. The majority of Canadian industrial goods exported to CPTPP countries will be duty-free immediately upon entry into force of this agreement, with most remaining tariffs on industrial goods to be eliminated over 10 years.
Guelph is home to Japanese based employers Hitachi Construction Truck Manufacturing and DENSO Manufacturing. Even Sleeman Breweries is owned by Sapporo from Japan. This provides us excellent business connections by one of the key countries in the CPTPP. Canada being one of the first of the six signatories and core supporter of the comprehensive and progressive deal that was renamed by Canada, would be a further win for Canadian business and put us where we need to be.
Just as we cannot delay in getting this stable national democracy without progress in living standards, likewise we cannot have one world at peace without general social and economic progress.
The recently announced LNG development project includes Japanese partner Mitsubishi, showing Japan's commitment to investing in Canada's energy market to provide it a stable and trusted future supply of energy that has 25% less CO2 per energy content than diesel and half the CO2 to BTU that bituminous coal has. The $40-billion investment is Canada's largest external investment in the history of our country.
The CPTPP has measures to promote civil society and address concerns around labour and the environment. There is an entire chapter on labour and basic workers' rights. Rights guaranteed in the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work must be reflected in law and practice for member nations. This includes the elimination of child labour, forced labour, discrimination and respect for freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively. Provisions in this chapter are also enforceable.
The CPTPP agreement includes provisions to enhance environmental protection in this region and to address global environmental challenges, which is one of the most ambitious outcomes negotiated by Canada to date. Provisions in this chapter are enforceable through the dispute settlement mechanism of the agreement. Again, it is another first for Canada.
Another way the CPTPP promotes the well-being of the middle class in Canada and other CPTPP nations involved is through a stand-alone chapter on small and medium-sized businesses in the text of the treaty. This is a first for any Canadian trade deal.
This chapter includes provisions to ensure that SMEs have access to information specifically tailored for their use, making it significantly easier for Canadian SMEs to explore and navigate the CPTPP markets and to develop trade with those nations. It also includes enforceable provisions on state-owned enterprises to promote fair business practices.
The world needs more Canada. Canada must use all the tools available to bring positive change to the global community. To confine ourselves simply to the diplomatic sphere denies us one of the most powerful levers at our disposal, namely, our economy.
Trade agreements are an excellent way for achieving these goals. They build on economic growth. They include social and environmental progress. At the same time, they benefit the middle class in the nation's involved.
Once the CPTPP enters into force, it will be one of the largest free trade agreements in the world and it will provide enhanced market access to key Asian markets. However, it is also part of a suite of agreements that we have around the world that include CETA, with us trading with Europe, and now includes the new USMCA agreement that is in stages of development with the United States and hopefully will come into force in the near future.
Canada must be a part of all these agreements. We are actually the only G7 country that is a part of all of these agreements. They give us the opportunity to grow our manufacturing industry and help our farmers and our intellectual properties reach new markets. They benefit Canada economically as well as socially and environmentally.
I am looking forward to supporting the legislation in the next bit. I am looking forward to helping in whatever way I can through the businesses and the people in Guelph.
View Robert Sopuck Profile
Madam Speaker, I was on the fisheries committee back in 2012 when the changes were made. I helped author them. I was also on the fisheries committee when the Liberal government tore apart extremely good legislation. I have also had the honour of being in the environment field for over 35 years and did pipeline assessments. My colleague is exactly right about how carefully pipelines are made these days.
Just as an aside, I would recommend my colleague get on the fisheries committee, she is so competent in this field.
I was also on the environment committee recently when we looked at Bill C-69, and the horror stories from industry are legendary. Chris Bloomer from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said that Canada had a toxic regulatory environment. He talked about pancaking regulation on top of regulation. It is an environmental lawyer's dream. The lawyers are the ones who will to get rich.
Could my colleague talk about the effect of this and other acts on Canada's investment climate?
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
2018-06-12 18:43 [p.20768]
Madam Speaker, it is no secret that foreign investment has been fleeing and will continue to flee Canada at an alarming rate. I have seen this first-hand in my dear hometown of Calgary, Alberta, where we have seen the exit of organizations and of corporations such as Murphy Oil, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, and I can go on and on with respect to the foreign investment that has fled. That is even prior to the installation and royal assent of such damaging legislation such as Bill C-68, which we are discussing today, and Bill C-69. The government has to take responsibility for the investment that is fleeing Canada and ruining the lives of Canadians.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
2018-05-31 12:08 [p.19964]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-74, the Liberal government's budget implementation bill. When we consider the contents of the bill and the Liberal government's track record, it reveals a troubling path ahead for Canadians.
We have before us a budget bill that spends borrowed money recklessly. The result of that is a growing debt and higher taxes. Borrowed money always has to be paid back and it is paid back at a premium.
The Liberal government came into power touting modest deficits. The Prime Minister repeatedly promised Canadians that his government would borrow a modest $10 billion a year to grow the economy. He also promised Canadians that the budget would return to balance in 2019. That promise went out the window very quickly.
The Prime Minister has added $60 billion to the national debt in just three short years. Canada's net debt has reached an all-time high of $670 billion. To put that into context, that breaks down to a debt of over $47,000 per Canadian family. What about the plan to return to balance? The budget is not predicted to return to balance until 2045, a far cry from 2019.
The Liberals will wrongly try to take credit for the economic growth that Canada experienced in 2017. A growth rate of 3% in 2017 was largely a result of the oil and gas sector recovering and an unusually strong housing market. The responsible response to that growth should have been for the government to pay down the debt that it borrowed, so in the case of a fiscal downturn, we would be better positioned. However, now, despite all the Liberal spending, private sector forecasts show that Canada is heading for a slow down.
We have legislation before us to help us spend more money and add more debt. Ultimately, it is legislation that would make life more unaffordable for Canadians.
Canadians are already paying higher taxes under the Liberals. It seems that the Liberal government is always finding new ways to dip into the pockets of Canadians. For one, this budget bill would create a costly new carbon tax, which the Liberals are forcing on all provinces that do not have their own. Despite promises of a new era of co-operative federalism, the Liberal government is ramming ahead with its massive carbon tax grab.
My province of Saskatchewan has rejected the Liberal government's carbon tax, and rightly so. The carbon tax will come at a significant cost to the people of Saskatchewan, and the Liberal government is ignoring the basic economic reality that its carbon tax unfairly punishes farmers and rural communities.
My province of Saskatchewan has developed its own climate change strategy, a made-in-Saskatchewan plan that tackles climate change without imposing the unfair carbon tax on Saskatchewan families. However, the Liberal government refused to accept it. The Liberals are forcing it on Saskatchewan against its will.
Well then, what does this carbon tax achieve? We cannot tax our way to a cleaner environment and the carbon tax will not lead to a major emission reduction in Canada.
We can look to British Columbia as an example. British Columbia was the first province to implement a carbon tax. It also has the highest carbon tax in the country. Despite this, carbon emissions have continued to rise there. The real impact of its carbon tax is that British Columbians are now paying more for gas than anyone else in the North American continent.
I will reiterate that point, because it is an important point that needs to sink in. The carbon tax in British Columbia is not reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it is making life less affordable for British Columbians, yet the Liberals continue to strong-arm the province of Saskatchewan.
One would think that given their passion for a carbon tax, the Liberals would be forthcoming with information about its impact. It is fair for Canadians to want to know just how much the federal price on carbon will cost them, but again and again the Liberal government refuses to release those details.
Finance officials have said that the Liberal carbon tax will cost an extra 11¢ per litre of gas and $264 in extra costs for natural gas home heating annually. That alone is already a significant cost. However, there are additional costs and impacts of a $50 per tonne carbon tax.
Repeated requests for information have been issued from this side of the House. We have asked the government over and over again to provide details on the cost of its carbon tax and the results it expects to achieve. However, any response received has been blacked out. What does the Liberal government have to hide? What is it covering up? If the government cannot answer a basic question on what its carbon tax will cost and achieve, it is absurd for it to force it on the province of Saskatchewan.
The Liberals are not only raising taxes on individual Canadians, they are making it more expensive to do business in Canada. Businesses are also being hit with increased costs due to the carbon tax. This is in addition to the increased CPP and EI premiums, higher income taxes for entrepreneurs, and punitive changes to the small business tax rate. While we consider these higher costs, we cannot forget that the United States is lowering its corporate tax rate. Business investment in Canada has dropped since 2015. Meanwhile, business investment in the United States has increased.
The natural resource sector has been particularly hit hard. The energy sector and the jobs it creates are very important to my riding of Battlefords—Lloydminster. The fact that over $80 billion of investment in the energy sector has been lost in the last two years is very troubling for my constituents. They certainly are not comforted by the Prime Minister's repeated confession that he wants to phase out the oil sands.
The loss of business investment in Canada is a troubling trend, and the Liberals have offered nothing to Canadian businesses in this budget implementation act. The higher cost of doing business will hurt the bottom line for businesses. When it drives away business, results in job loss, and injects less money into our economy, everyone pays, and we all lose.
Bill C-74 offers Canadians a plan we cannot afford and does not move us ahead. Spending money we do not have on things we do not need is reckless and irresponsible. I would not run my personal household in that manner, and I would not teach my children to manage their finances in that way. Most of all, I cannot imagine that the members opposite would manage their personal finances that way and teach their children that as well. It begs the question: why is it that when the stakes are even higher, when the fiscal security of the country hangs in the balance, the Liberals would choose this route?
View Alexander Nuttall Profile
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand to speak about the budget implementation act.
I would like to start with some facts, which may appear at first glance, to be astounding. The Department of Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have predicted that the budget will not be balanced until 2045.
My kids will not see a balanced budget until they are older than I am right now, and that is unacceptable. During that time frame, there will be an estimated $450 billion in additional debt racked up, for a total of roughly $1.1 trillion. It is our youth who will have to pay all of this back. The future our youth inherit is not the one that we inherited. Our youth are being left behind. We are currently sitting at 11.1% unemployment, while in the United States, the youth unemployment rate sits at only 8.4%. Now our youth will have to live with the shackles of this increased debt.
GDP is up 0.1% in two years. Eighty per cent of middle-class Canadians are feeling the tax increases since the government came into office. There was a $60-billion increase in spending in the last two and a half years, up roughly 20%.
There is no doubt there that a spending problem exists within the Liberal government. Quite frankly, we can look almost anywhere to see it.
Corporate welfare is something I have spoken about over and over again. Why are we taxing Canadians who can barely make ends meet and giving those dollars to millionaires and billionaires so they can make more money? It seems to be done without a strategy or understanding the effects. It seems to be done without a clear measurement as to what is a success or a failure. I have examples: the Bombardier bailout just under a year ago; the superclusters, which were in the last budget and continued in this budget, $900 million going to superclusters, mainly into urban areas, that were recommended by a committee, struck by the industry minister, that included people in charge of superclusters, like the MaRS in Toronto.
A few weeks ago, the Conservatives started saying no to corporate welfare when it came to Kinder Morgan. We did not want government dollars used to prop up the private sector in this circumstance. Not in our wildest dreams did the Conservatives believe we would see corporate welfare enacted when it came to Kinder Morgan, in fact, an outright nationalization of the entire program.
I would like to congratulate some people in the House, such as the member for Vancouver Quadra, the member for Pontiac, and the member for Burnaby North—Seymour, on owning one of the largest oil transportation companies in Canada. I thought they were environmental activists. Usually I would say, “If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.” What the Liberal government has done is first beat the oil industry and then it has joined it. Ironically, growth in the oil and gas sector last year was what drove our economy. Without the oil and gas sector, we would have had exactly zero growth.
This is not because of the Liberals, this is not because of the federal government; it is despite them. In the oil and gas sector, they have caused a lot of instability, because they have continued to attack it. When I look at Kinder Morgan, it makes me think the government has neglected what lies beneath our feet and has opted to rely on what is between the Prime Minister's ears. It is a failing strategy.
The Prime Minister created a carbon tax of $50 per tonne to put in through 2023. After he did that, creating instability in the oil and gas sector, and in fact across our entire economy, threatening the way those who earn the least in our society actually make ends meet, he realized the ramifications of that decision. The ramifications are that projects like Kinder Morgan can no longer make it. They are no longer viable. The private sector has realized that, and then the Prime Minister realized it, and at the last second, he said he was going to step in, take money from people who earn almost nothing and invest it in this project the private sector is abandoning.
It is very interesting when we break down the carbon tax and look at the effect it is going to have on the average family. With fuel costs, there is the cost of actually producing that gasoline. It is about 50% of what we pay at the pump. Then there are provincial and federal excise taxes. Those taxes were originally put in place to deal with the ramifications of pulling out of that original resource. Then we have our new carbon tax that is being put in place on top of that. The government does not stop reaching into our pockets at the fuel pump, but says that it will charge HST on top of that. That is another 13%.
The carbon tax is going to cost average families $2,500 per year. What does that mean? It means higher food costs, higher gas costs, and higher costs of everything Canadians consume. That is the three-year legacy of the Liberal government. The fact that middle-class Canadians do not have trust funds seems to be lost on the Prime Minister and the finance minister. The legacy that we see over and over again, in budget after budget, is that the government can take and take from Canada's middle class, that it can take and take from the economy, and it can put that money wherever it sees fit. Then when it realizes that is not working, the government will take and take to buy a failing project whose failure, by the way, the government was responsible for in the beginning by introducing more and more taxes.
It is more taxes on payrolls; more taxes on gasoline as a result of the carbon tax; more taxes on Canadians across this country. That does not even begin to deal with the fact of red tape and environmental assessment after environmental assessment, the issues and regulations that constantly hold down the Canadian economy. The Liberal government constantly holds down Canada's poorest people who are looking for jobs, who are searching for that next job, who are looking for growth, and who want to create a new life for their families.
Those are the effects of the Liberal budget. Those are the effects we have seen from three years of Liberal government. The family tax cut is gone. The arts and fitness tax credits have disappeared. The education and textbook tax credit is nowhere to be seen. The life vision of young Canadians is not the one we inherited, the one in which we believed that if we went out to work day in and day out, it would be easy. Manufacturing is not creating more jobs in Canada. The oil and gas sector, while it is moving forward, has seen incredible setbacks. The housing sector, while on fire, is preventing our young people from being able to actually access a home and own it for the first time.
These are the issues that we are seeing in the Canadian economy. It is these budgets that are driving this ship.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Mr. Speaker, again, congratulations on working through 409 amendments. You did a great job. I listened intently, and you did not miss one, and we do appreciate that.
It is drawing close to 10:30 in the evening, and I am honoured to stand in this place once again to speak to the budget implementation act, 2018. On April 4, I stood in the House to speak to the budget. During that time, I focused my remarks primarily on our competitiveness, or I should say our lack of competitiveness, and the troubling effect of budget 2018 on our competitiveness and business investment in this country.
We are struggling today, as we were then, to attract capital from abroad, with foreign direct investment plunging last year to the lowest level since 2010. As I pointed out in the House over a month ago, the province of Alberta has experienced the worst decline in business investment in the country, much because of the NDP government we have there, much because of the lower price of oil, and much because of the Liberal government here.
Energy investment is at its lowest level on record, below even the worst of the 2009 global recession, with a loss of $80 billion of investment and more than 110,000 jobs. Drilling rigs are leaving Canada, heading to the United States, where there is a more hospitable investment climate. There has been a significant decline in capital spending.
I stood in the House to debate the budget just one week after Kinder Morgan announced that it had suspended its work on the Trans Mountain expansion project and had given the Liberal government until May 31 to provide the necessary assurances that this project would go ahead. We know that the Liberals were funding protesters to protest against that pipeline straight from government programs here. That was the first time I had an opportunity to speak to this budget.
Kinder Morgan's skepticism was based on the fact that Canada had approved the project in November 2016, following an expanded environmental review process that included additional consultations with indigenous communities, yet more than three months into 2018, there was no movement and much added red tape, frustrating Kinder Morgan and others that would invest here in this country. Kinder Morgan saw nothing in immediate sight that would give it any confidence that it could go ahead, so it put the ultimatum of May 31.
I lay the blame for that unfortunate thing with Trans Mountain development at the feet of the Prime Minister, and rightfully so. The Liberal Prime Minister failed to take any concrete steps to ensure that the project was completed. This failure added to the significant economic difficulties facing my province of Alberta and a number of my constituents, as this project is a pivotal part of both Alberta's and the country's economic future.
While yesterday's announcement regarding the purchase of Trans Mountain by the federal government may help get our oil finally, some day, to new markets, it came at an extremely high price. It is a price taxpayers should not have to pay. Given what the government has done, chasing $4.5 billion out of Canada to a Texas oil company so that it can invest in America and around the world, because it is very unlikely that it will come back here to invest soon, there is no guarantee that the government is going to ever be able to build that pipeline.
Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for $4.5 billion, and that shows the Prime Minister's failure. I have zero confidence that the government can see this pipeline through to completion. The private sector has more experience in building pipelines, more experience in building infrastructure, and more experience in building the infrastructure needed to move its product than any government ever has had.
Kinder Morgan never asked for a single dollar of taxpayer money. All the company wanted was certainty. Now, Kinder Morgan's assets have been sold. It is abandoning its expansion plans in Canada and taking its significant investment in this country elsewhere. It is doing so at a time when business investment in Canada has fallen by 5%, or $12.7 billion, since 2015. During that same period, business investment in the United States has grown by 9%. Foreign direct investment plummeted by 42% in 2016, and then a further 27% in 2017.
Why is business investment so weak? There are many different reasons. One reason is all of the added red tape, the red tape piled on top of red tape in environmental assessments and reassessments. It has weakened investment in Canada, because Canadian businesses understand that they are facing rising costs, such as increased CPP and EI premiums, personal income taxes for entrepreneurs of over 53%, and, again, new carbon taxes.
Budget 2018 did not reveal exactly how much the carbon tax will cost the average Canadian. We have tried day after day in the House to get the Minister of Finance to tell us what that carbon tax is going to cost Canadian families, but he will not tell us.
Although the budget did not reveal how much, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation predicts that the carbon tax will cost $2,500 per family at a time when taxpayers recognize they have less and less money in their pockets. Trevor Tombe of the University of Calgary estimates that it may cost $1,100 per family. The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently released a report that found that the carbon tax will take $10 billion out of the Canadian economy by 2022, while other estimates argue that the cost could be as much as $35 billion per year. None of these numbers can be verified because, unfortunately, the Liberal government continues to refuse to tell Canadians exactly how much that carbon tax will cost them, just like they refused to tell us the total cost of the nationalization of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
What is the final cost of that pipeline? Is it $4.5 billion for the assets of Trans Mountain today? What will those costs be by the time the pipeline is built, if it ever is built? We can ill afford the $4.5 billion price tag, let alone the billions of dollars in untold costs, especially given our massive debt.
I would add that the finance minister has finally started to pick up on the Conservatives' talking points, because that $12 million a day, or $42 million a week, is the differential in the price for oil that we do not receive because we are not getting our oil to the Asian markets. This money could build a school or a hospital a day or a week.
In their first three years in power, the Liberals will have added $60 billion to the national debt. Last year, Canada's net debt reached an all-time high of $670 billion, or $47,612 per Canadian family. The growing debt is a direct result of the Liberals' broken promises on their projected deficits. This fiscal year's deficit is $18 billion, which is triple of what was promised.
In comparison, in our 10 years in government, we paid down the national debt. We took surpluses and paid down just under $40 billion. However, during what was considered the worst recession since the Great Depression, we ran deficits. Although fundamentally opposed to debt and deficit spending, we realized, like every G7 country, that we needed to kick-start the economy. That was not enough for the Liberals or the NDP, but that is what we did. We invested in large infrastructure programs in Canada, the largest in Canadian history. With Canada's economic action plan, we got a significant return on this investment. We were the first G7 country to come out of the recession and back to growth.
I see that my time is up. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on this budget implementation bill.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2018-04-30 13:06 [p.18896]
Madam Speaker, today I will address the oil tanker moratorium act, and in particular, its impacts on indigenous peoples and communities that support responsible resource development.
Bill C-48 is not really about the protection of coastlines or marine ecology. It is actually only a ban on Canadian oil development and exports, on the oil sands, and on pipelines. It is an attack on the hundreds of thousands of energy workers across the country, on one industry, and on one product.
Bill C-48 specifically and only prohibits the on- and off-loading of tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude and persistent oils at ports or marine installations along B.C.'s north coast. It does not target any other vessels of comparable capacity carrying any other product, or vessels of any size, which have similar volumes of fuel on board to operate. It does not even enforce the 100-kilometre voluntary exclusion zone, in the region since 1985.
It only applies to one coast, not to any other Canadian coasts or ports where tankers of all products and from all countries travel regularly. Its intent is clearly to permanently prevent vital energy infrastructure in the region, denying any potential for oil exports to the Asia-Pacific from there, which could expand market access for Canada and reduce Canada's near complete dependence on the United States as a customer for Canadian oil.
Diversifying Canada's exports is crucial now, as the U.S. ramps up production to secure its own domestic supply and rapidly escalates its own crude oil exports after removing the 40-year ban. It is estimated that the U.S. will supply 80% of the world's growing global demand for oil in the next five years, while the Liberals force Canada's oil to remain mostly landlocked.
Bill C-48 is also all about politics. It was a predetermined and foregone conclusion for partisan purposes entirely. The Prime Minister instructed its imposition in mandate letters to ministers only 24 days after the 2015 election. Despite all the Liberal rhetoric about consultation, science, and evidence-based, objective decision-making founding policy and legislation, that is not enough time to undertake comprehensive community or indigenous consultations. That is not enough time for thorough safety and environmental assessments, with an analysis of best practices, gaps, and opportunities for improvement; comparison, contrast, and benchmarking against other countries; or local, regional, provincial, and national economic impact assessments and the consideration of consequences. That is because the motivation was actually a political calculation to hold NDP, Green, and left-wing votes for the Liberals in B.C, which helped them win in 2015.
However, Bill C-48, while confined to one geographical area, will have profound negative impacts for all of Canada, on confidence in Canadian energy investment and development overall, and on Canada's ability to be a global leader and contributor in energy regulation, production, technology, service, supply, expertise, and exports to the world.
Reaching tidewater in all directions for Canada's oil and gas should be a top priority for the Liberals, but their track record so far has been to eliminate the only two opportunities for stand-alone pipelines to tidewater in recent history in Canada.
One was the energy east pipeline, which was abandoned after a billion dollars invested and years of review before it could even make it out of the regulatory mess the Liberals created because they changed the rules and added a last-minute, double standard condition for downstream emissions that does not apply to foreign oil or to any other infrastructure in any other sector.
The other was the northern gateway pipeline, which was initiated in 2002 and had actually been approved, with 209 conditions, under the previous Conservative government, in 2014. After a Supreme Court ruling that there was insufficient indigenous consultation by the crown, the Liberals could have ordered additional months and scope for expanded consultation, just as they did with the Trans Mountain expansion application, which started in 2013 and was under way when they announced a complete overhaul for major Canadian energy projects in 2016. However, that option was not offered for northern gateway. Instead, the Prime Minister outright vetoed it, even though it was reviewed under the exact same process, with the exact same evidence, as the other projects the Liberals announced were approved the same day, including Trans Mountain and the Line 3 replacement.
The Liberal government's decision to kill the northern gateway was a massive blow for expanded market access for Canadian oil. It was obviously a loss for energy producers in northern Alberta, for workers in the industrial heartland and Bruderheim, which is where the northern gateway would have started, inside the western boundary of Lakeland, as well as for workers who would have constructed and then maintained the pipeline through operations across Alberta and B.C. It was a loss for potential oil terminal, refinery, and deep water port workers near Kitimat, never mind of billions of dollars in investment and revenue for all levels of government.
However, there is another aspect of that veto of the northern gateway that is just as devastating. Thirty-one first nations and Métis communities were partners with mutual benefit agreements, worth more than $2 billion, in northern gateway, including skills and labour development opportunities.
In Lakeland and around Alberta, indigenous peoples are very active in oil and gas across the value chain: in upstream exploration and production; in service, supply, and technology contracting; and in pipeline operations. They support pipelines because that infrastructure is as crucial to the lifeblood of their communities, for jobs, education, and social benefits, as anywhere else.
Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement in Lakeland said, “Equity was offered to aboriginal communities, and with the change in government that was all taken away.... We are very disappointed.” Ghostkeeper pointed out that 71% of the communities along the proposed right of way looked forward to taking part in construction and in the long-term benefits. All that was destroyed by the Prime Minister. They were not consulted about it.
Bill C-48 would put a nail in the coffin of the $7.9-billion northern gateway pipeline and all its employment and economic and social benefits for indigenous and all Canadians, now and in the future.
However, it gets even worse. The $16-billion Eagle Spirit pipeline project could be one of the biggest private infrastructure investments in Canadian history, with meaningful revenue generation, business, employment, education, training, capacity-building opportunities, and long-term economic self-sufficiency for indigenous communities. From Bruderheim to Grassy Point, the Eagle Spirit pipeline project is supported by 35 indigenous communities, every single one along the corridor. Its proponents have been working for six years to secure that support, even from communities that opposed northern gateway, and to exceed regulatory requirements, including exceptional environmental protection, land and marine management, and spill prevention and response.
In 2015, community leaders said what the project meant to them. On behalf of elders, Jack White said, “We like the fact that the Eagle Spirit project put the environment first. Many of our elders are in need and we want our legacy to our children to offer something more that gives them opportunities.”
Youth representative Corey Wesley said, “There are no opportunities for young people in our community. We want a better way of life with real jobs and business prospects so we too can offer our future kids more hope.”
Deputy mayor of the Lax Kw'alaams band and matriarch Helen Johnson said, “Eagle Spirit has widespread support in our community because it shows a real way forward for our members.”
Eagle Spirit's Chiefs Council says the tanker ban is a government action that would “harm our communities and deny our leaders the opportunity to create hope and a brighter future for their members“, which all Canadians take for granted. The Premier of Northwest Territories said almost the exact same thing about the impact on the people he represents of the Liberals' five-year ban on northern offshore oil and gas drilling.
The Prime Minister often says that the relationship with Canada's indigenous people is the most important to him. He says he wants “an opportunity to deliver true, meaningful and lasting reconciliation between Canada and First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit peoples”. However, for the second time, on a pipeline to tidewater, he is actively denying opportunities for dozens of indigenous communities. They say he did not consult them before he ordered the tanker ban.
The Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council says that the tanker ban and the creation of the concept of the Great Bear Rainforest were “promoted largely through the lobbying of foreign-financed ENGOs”. The Eagle Spirit chairman says, “they know nothing about our area, they know nothing about our regions. And they're telling us what we've got to do because it's in their financial interest to do so.” It is “without the consultation and consent of First Nations,” which are “opposed to government policy being made by foreigners when it impacts their ability to help out their own people.”
He says, “We don't need trust fund babies coming into our community...creating parks in our backyard when our people are literally starving”, with 90% unemployment.
I suggest that actual reconciliation involves employment and business opportunities, social welfare, and benefits through economic prosperity, like what is offered by Eagle Spirit, which would ensure environmental protection and benefits for all of Canada.
Eagle Spirit's chairman says, “This is an important issue for Canadians. If you look at what's happening with the oil industry, Canadians are losing $50 million a day. It's about $40 a barrel over four years in margin to the refineries in the U.S. What other country in the world would give away the value of these resources like that? It makes no sense, and it's harming people in northern Alberta and northern B.C. and the chiefs are going to do something about it.”
He is echoed by B.C. MLA and former Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross, who says, “The more sickening thing for me is that these people who oppose development in Canada truly believe they win when they defeat a project.... Actually, you don't win. It's just that the United States buys the Canadian product at a discount and sells it on the international market.”
The tanker ban is a deliberate and dangerous roadblock to Canadian oil exports. It is detrimental to the livelihoods of Canadians everywhere. It would put very real limits on Canada's future and standard of living, with disproportionately harmful outcomes for certain communities and regions. The Liberals should withdraw it.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2018-04-30 13:37 [p.18901]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be joining the debate on this, but I think the bill has the wrong name. It is called the “oil tanker moratorium act” when it should basically be called the “pipeline moratorium act”. That is really what it is all about. It is not about cancelling the ability of tankers to move through a certain region of northern British Columbia. In fact, they will be able to move 100 kilometres off the coast, as they have been doing all along. It has put the last and final nail into the northern gateway project, and every single other potential pipeline project that might go through northern British Columbia.
There are a few points I will raise to add to this debate, including a letter I have from Prasad Panda, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, who is also the member for the provincial riding of Calgary-Foothills. In it, he notes a couple of discrepancies. He notes that Bill C-48 is a flawed piece of legislation, mainly because it contradicts the government's own free trade agreement that it signed.
There are two points that he makes in the letter. He writes that in that free trade agreement, article 301 states, “A Province shall not adopt or maintain any measure that restricts or prevents the movement of goods across provincial or territorial boundaries.” This is what the B.C. NDP is doing to try to kill off Kinder Morgan by harassing it through legal and regulatory means to try to put an end to that project. They are trying to end that and the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the energy sector, both in my hometown of Calgary, which depends on it, and also across Edmonton and a whole bunch of smaller communities across Alberta and Saskatchewan.
With regard to my second point, he writes, “The Government of Canada shall not adopt or maintain any measure that unduly restricts or prevents the movement of goods across provincial or territorial boundaries.” I think we can make a fine argument here that restricting tanker traffic off a coast like the northern British Columbia coast is that type of restriction on the movement through a territory that the British Columbia government claims as its own. It has a certain amount of environmental regulations that it can or it seems to want to apply. It is interesting that it only wants to apply it in the north, not in the south, when 95% of all tanker traffic happens to be in the southern part of British Columbia.
This particular member of the legislative assembly, a fine gentleman, wrote quite a long letter to the chair of the committee that reviewed this piece of legislation. He also brought to the attention of that committee that this ban, this supposed oil tanker moratorium on pipelines, would be like “banning ships from moving through the Welland Canal or using the port at Trois-Rivières”. It would be like “denying rail and truck access to the Michelin Tire factory in Pictou County”, like “detouring all the traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway and driving it down 92 Avenue in Port Kells”, like “taking traffic on Highway 400 and running [it] all down Weston Road in Toronto”, and like “stopping OC Transpo service to Kanata or GO service to Streetsville.” It would be the same principle. It is not science based, not evidence based; it is the random cutting off of the transportation of goods, people, and natural resources for political purposes.
There is absolutely no reason for it. As far as I know, there have been no spills in British Columbia. Members may want to correct me on that, but I do not know of any spills that have happened off the coast of British Columbia that would make it necessary for us to pass this particular piece of legislation.
I also note that in this legislation, the government is giving itself an exemption under clause 6 that basically states,
for the purpose of community or industry resupply or is otherwise in the public interest.
Therefore, if for any reason whatsoever the government believes it should provide an exemption for the import and movement of tanker traffic, it has a complete exemption. There is no real reporting standard there. All it would have to do is make a publication requirement that states,
the Minister must make it accessible to the public on the Internet or by any other means that he or she considers appropriate
I wonder what the minister will think is appropriate when the government provides the exemption. We can imagine how hard the advocates for communities, companies, and tanker companies will push the minister to provide them with particular exemptions and how sought after those will be.
I like Yiddish proverbs, and I have one. It states, “Heaven and hell can both be had in this world.” They can also be had through government policy and legislation. The principle is to protect the environment. That is the window dressing that the Liberals have put on this anti-pipeline bill. However, what they are actually doing when they repeat “the environment, energy, and natural resources”, two sides of the same coin, is only focusing on one part of this. That is their single focus on this point. It is is supposedly the environment, when we know, because of the details of this bill, it will do no such thing. Tanker traffic will simply be moved further to the west. It is not achieving any goals that the government has set for itself. There is no similar ban on any oil tanker traffic anywhere along Canada's other coasts.
Do those environments matter less? Do the beaches in Prince Edward Island matter less than those in northern British Columbia? Do the coasts matter less in Quebec? Do the coasts matter less in Ontario? I do not think that is the case, but I do not see tanker bans being imposed. I do not see pipeline bans being imposed. That is what leads me to say that this particular piece of legislation is all about northern gateway. It is to kill it off, and that is what the government intends to do through this particular piece of legislation.
The tankers that go through the southern part of British Columbia right now are in the 80,000 to 120,000 dead weight tonnage. If this were truly about tanker traffic, and there were worries about how many of these tankers are moving through a particular geographic region, then the regulatory process would be simplified to ensure the maximum size tankers could actually come through different channels as safely as possible.
If the government wanted to do it that way, it would ensure that ultra-large crude carriers, ULCCs, were able to navigate certain regions, doing so safely, with the necessary tugboats to pull them out in case they have security problems. It would not impose a random ban on geographic areas, pushing tankers further out into the ocean. That does not achieve any environmental goal I could easily name. It would also kill off economic jobs that northern gateway and other pipeline projects could provide in the future.
What it actually would do is sterilize an entire region of northern British Columbia from any type of development in the future. It would basically ensure that no company would ever propose a new pipeline project running through any of those communities, regardless of how many indigenous communities support it, regardless of how many of them are onside.
As the member for Lakeland has said, there are many indigenous communities that would depend on these energy and natural resource jobs of the future. Over 500 communities all across Canada depend either on energy or natural resources jobs.
When oil, natural gas, coal, or any type of mineral is extracted, it has to be moved to a market. It does no good to sit on a large pile here at home. It has to be moved to the buyer. That is done through a port, through the rail system, and through tankers. Those are the requirements of ensuring that the economy is looked after, and that is what the government is failing to do with Bill C-48.
This bill would kill off any future pipeline projects. It sends another chilling signal to the business community in Canada that we are not open for business. We have had the largest flight of capital from the natural resources sector over the past two and a half years. We are at the lowest level since 2010, and it just continues.
Energy east was killed off by the government. Northern gateway was killed off by the government. The government neglected Pacific Northwest LNG. It has neglected Alberta's energy sector. It has done everything possible to ensure that every single new piece of red tape would strangle the industry, and it has done a great job at it. This is one thing the government has been quite exceptional at, strangling the industry and putting tens of thousands of Alberta energy workers out of work permanently, with no reasonable expectation to return to work in the field of their speciality, in the field where they have spent years obtaining their education and working professionally.
Back home in Alberta, we have spent a generation trying to convince people to move to Alberta in the first place. British Columbia is beautiful, but we just wanted people to stop in Alberta and have a professional career with us. We spent a generation convincing people to move there, but we also spent a generation convincing young Albertans, men and women, that it was worth getting into the energy sector because there would be jobs well into the future and they could work anywhere internationally. They are not going to have that.
Bill C-48 is a nail in the coffin of every single future pipeline project. Every company that is even thinking about running a pipeline through northern British Columbia, or anywhere in fact, will think twice. All of their money could be lost, or there could be a random moratorium, a ban, or a cancellation of their project.
I cannot support this bill. It is another chilling signal to the business community and to energy workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia that the government is not on their side.
View Ed Fast Profile
View Ed Fast Profile
2018-04-30 16:12 [p.18927]
Mr. Speaker, I have been looking forward to the opportunity to engage in this debate.
I am going to frame this discussion in terms of Canada's competitiveness and our future, what our future will look like for the coming generations if we continue to go along the path of sending terrible signals to the global investment community. My comments will actually focus on how Bill C-48 is poorly thought out and really does not reflect the reality of Canada's resource economy.
I am a proud Canadian, but I am also a very proud British Columbian. Unlike many of my colleagues in this House, I have had the chance to hike many of the different remote wilderness areas of British Columbia. I have had the chance to hike the Chilkoot Trail, where one hikes out of the coastal rainforest in Alaska into the drier interior area of British Columbia and follow the trail the early gold miners took to the Yukon gold fields. I have had a chance to hike the Bowron Lakes. In fact, we canoed the Bowron Lakes, 12 lakes connected with portages, where one is almost guaranteed to see moose and bear along the way. I have had a chance to climb the Rockwall and Skyline trails in the Rocky Mountains. I have had a chance to hike in the Cathedral Lakes area outside of Keremeos, British Columbia. Also, in the northeast corner of British Columbia, there is the Muskwa watershed, Gathto Creek, and Pine River. British Columbia is an awesomely beautiful province, a place we as Canadians can be very proud of. It is a legacy that has been left to us.
Anything that would threaten our coastal areas, any threat to the marine life in our oceans, is something I take very seriously. We know oil tankers have been plying our coastal waters for many, many years. Over those years, how many crude oil spills have actually happened in British Columbia waters? Does anybody want to guess? Zero. There have been zero crude oil spills as far back as we want to go. Why? Because we have superior pilotage, and we have tankers today that are double-hulled as opposed to single-hulled to make sure if they strike something, that object does not penetrate the hull. We now have a world-class marine oil spill response, and we love the government for doing that. That is good. We want to protect our coastal areas.
What we do not want to do is undermine Canada's prosperity as we do this, so we have to be careful how we implement policy. We have to ask ourselves what the Prime Minister's motive is behind imposing a moratorium on tanker traffic off our west coast. By imposing a moratorium, we are preventing Canada from getting its oil and gas products to foreign markets where they fetch the best price. What is the motive? Well, we could just follow the Prime Minister around the world on his global travels from costume to costume, leader to leader. Guess what? We found him in France, where he thought he was safe and he started badmouthing Canada's resource sector. More specifically, he badmouthed Canada's oil sands and lamented the fact that he had not been able to phase out the oil sands by now.
There is the hidden agenda. We have a Liberal government that wants to phase out our oil industry. It wants to put all kinds of impediments in the way of our resource sector to make sure Canadians do not get the maximum dollar that they should for their products.
The Prime Minister goes so far as to pretend he is one thing in British Columbia, where of course he is the champion of the environment whenever he visits, but when he travels to Alberta of course he suddenly becomes the champion of the energy sector.
In fact, what he did in Alberta was to say, “If you impose a massive carbon price on your residents, you'll be able to get the social licence to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built.” What happened? Alberta followed suit. It trusted the Prime Minister, which is something I think Canadians are now very wary of. Premier Notley trusted the Prime Minister when he said, “Hey, a carbon tax and you'll get your pipeline to tidewater”. Well, do we have a pipeline to tidewater? Today we have protesters, no leadership from the Prime Minister, and court challenges. What happened to the social licence? It is bogus.
Along the way, this moratorium on tanker traffic off our Pacific coast is just one more nail in the coffin of completely undermining Canada's competitiveness within the global marketplace. Every day that goes by, Canada becomes less and less competitive, especially vis-à-vis our partner to the south, the United States. I will mention a few things that this government has already done. If imposed, a moratorium on offshore drilling in the north undermines prosperity, because we leave resources in the ground that could have fetched good dollars, but we leave them there.
On the massive carbon tax that Canadians are now being expected pay, members can imagine how that undermines our competitiveness as we layer tax upon tax. Foreign investors wonder why they would invest in Canada and not go to the United States where the corporate tax rate was dropped from 35% to 21% and it got rid of all the red tape. The Liberal government funds a Canada summer jobs grant to an organization that is actually organizing and protesting against the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Prime Minister publicly says that it is going to build, but then gives cash to oppose it. That is our Liberal government.
Then, of course, there is Bill C-69, the new regulations that the Prime Minister would impose on resource projects. The bill would add more discretionary powers to the minister to extend and suspend timelines. There would be longer time frames. There would be new criteria added, including upstream and downstream impacts. This is how crazy it gets. The government would impose criteria, conditions, upon our own oil and gas producers that we do not impose on those who ship gas from foreign jurisdictions like Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and Venezuela. The oil that comes from those countries into Canada right now does not have to comply with any of those criteria, but our own homegrown producers of that product, which is the cleanest in the world, and is subject to the toughest conditions in the world, have to comply with those criteria. We wonder why we have lost 100,000 jobs in our economy. It is because of policies like that. Over 87 billion dollars' worth of capital has fled Canada because of the poorly thought out policies of the Liberal government.
As Conservatives, and the word “conservative” implies conservation, we believe that the highest environmental standards have to be complied with. When we extract our resources in Canada, whether it is mining, oil, or gas, Canadians expect that it be done to the highest environmental standards. Canadians also understand that those resources that lie in the ground represent huge opportunities for economic growth in our country, for jobs, for long-term prosperity, and for funding the programs that governments want to provide to Canadians. It is absolutely critical that moratoria, like the one the Prime Minister is trying to impose on our west coast, not proceed, because at the end of the day, Canadians will pay a very significant price for that. Quite frankly, if in fact the Prime Minister cannot get the job done, he should step aside and let the adults take over. Let someone else take over, someone who really understands the economy, someone who understands the environment, and the appropriate balance between the two.
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