Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Markham—Unionville.
I appreciate having the opportunity to speak to Bill C-88 at third reading stage.
This bill is divided into two parts, as we have heard. Part 1 amends the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act while part 2 amends the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. It is the second part of the bill that I will primarily be addressing in the time that I have today.
Simply put, this part of Bill C-88 makes a mockery of the government's claim to seriously consult with aboriginal and Inuit peoples. Furthermore, it proves yet again that the Liberal Party is no friend of the Canadian oil and gas sector.
Part 2 of Bill C-88 imposes a five-year moratorium on the development of offshore oil and gas projects in the Beaufort Sea. This is not surprising for anyone who has followed the government with even a modicum of attention. The Liberals have proven time and time again that they are opposed to Canada's energy sector. Whether it be the carbon tax or Bill C-48 banning tanker traffic off of British Columbia's northern coast or the 180-amendment, Frankenstein monster of a bill that is the “no more pipelines” Bill C-69, or the cancellation of the northern gateway and energy east pipelines, or the continued bungling of the Trans Mountain extension, we can always count on the Liberals to find a way to make life miserable for workers in our oil and gas sector.
At every opportunity, the Prime Minister has politicized the regulatory and environmental assessment processes. Bill C-88 follows this already established pattern. As a result, it is no wonder Canada has been bleeding foreign investment funds and suffered economic stagnation under the Prime Minister.
Bill C-88 is about more than just the Liberals' clear disdain for our natural resource sector. This bill exposes the Prime Minister's false claims of consultation.
Under the previous Conservative government, we made a concerted effort to devolve power to the territories to ensure that they had the decision-making powers they needed to develop their abundance of natural resources in a safe, secure and sustainable manner. I will not pretend that we got it right every step of the way but there was no doubt about our goal and our honest attempt to transfer power to the territorial level.
In one afternoon, the Prime Minister derailed years of progress by the territories toward full self-governance. At a glitzy press conference in Washington designed to garner praise from the international press, he announced that Canada would be placing a moratorium on offshore drilling in the north. This announcement came as quite the surprise to the governments of the territories. Some of them received less than an hour's notice that the Prime Minister was about to throw their economic futures out the window so he could get a nice write-up in Vanity Fair.
Minister Wally Schumann of the Northwest Territories described how they found out about the ban and the impact it will have on our north. He said:
When it first came out, we never got very much notice on the whole issue of the moratorium and the potential that was in the Beaufort Sea. There were millions and millions, if not billions, of dollars in bid deposits and land leases up there. That took away any hope we had of developing the Beaufort Sea.
Really, we should not be surprised. The Prime Minister has always believed in a paternalistic, “Ottawa knows best” relationship with the territories, provinces and indigenous peoples. Mayor Merven Gruben put it well when speaking at committee in Ottawa. He said:
It’s so easy to sit down here and make judgments on people and lives that are 3,500 klicks away, and make decisions on our behalf, especially with that moratorium on the Beaufort. That should be taken away, lifted, please and thank you. That is going to open up and give jobs to our people—training and all the stuff we’re wishing for.
The Prime Minister has decided the future for the north and he is using this bill to make that happen but he never stopped and asked what the people in the north want, and they do not want this.
Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod stated clearly how his government felt about the announcement. He said:
It feels like a step backward.
We spent a lot of time negotiating a devolution agreement and we thought the days were gone when we'd have unilateral decisions made about the North in some faraway place like Ottawa, and that northerners would be making the decisions about issues that affected northerners.
Then premier of Nunavut, Peter Taptuna, shared McLeod's frustrations. He said:
We do want to be getting to a state where we can make our own determination of our priorities, and the way to do that is gain meaningful revenue from resource development.
And at the same time, when one potential sources of revenue is taken off the table, it puts us back at practically Square 1 where Ottawa will make the decision for us.
In my role as shadow minister for transportation, I have had the chance to meet with companies and groups seeking to develop in the north to provide jobs and future prospects to Inuit and other northern Canadians. I heard one phrase repeated over and over again: one big park. Stakeholders told me over and over again that they feel the Liberals do not care about their economic development, but are only interested in making northern Canada one big park even if that means ignoring the will of indigenous peoples.
As I prepared these remarks and delved into Bill C-88, I could not help but see the parallels between the top-down “Ottawa knows best” bill and Bill C-48, the Liberals' ideological oil tanker moratorium act. Bill C-48 is called the oil tanker moratorium act, but everyone knows it is an anti-pipeline bill designed to eliminate any possibility of a pipeline to tidewater through northern British Columbia.
The Prime Minister has a pattern of imposing his will on indigenous groups while still claiming to consult. Just like they did when banning northern development through Bill C-88, the Liberal government pushed ahead on Bill C-48 without consulting indigenous stakeholders.
When testifying at transport committee on Bill C-48, Gary Alexcee, hereditary chief of the Nisga'a Nation for the community of Gingolx, made the following comments about the Liberal government's consultation process:
With no consultation, the B.C. first nations groups being cut off economically with no opportunity to even sit down with the government to further negotiate Bill C-48.
In fact, Eagle Spirit Energy, a first nations owned energy company, is taking the government to court over Bill C-48 because of, among other reasons, the very lack of consultation. In cancelling the northern gateway pipeline, the Prime Minister ignored the input of over 30 first nations along the route who have revenue agreements in place. Again, this is the Liberals' “Ottawa knows best” mentality in practice, yet the Prime Minister continues to claim time and again to consult with indigenous stakeholders.
I oppose this Ottawa-centric anti-Canadian energy industry mentality and it is for that reason that I will be voting against Bill C-88.